Teachers, CEA leaders, and staff testified yesterday before the Connecticut General Assembly’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus on issues critical to teachers this legislative session. These issues included school climate, classroom safety, the persistent shortage of ethnic minority educators, and funding for public schools.
CEA members and staff, including CEA Research and Policy Development Specialist Orlando Rodriguez, CEA Vice President Tom Nicholas, Westport educator Faith Sweeney, community organizer Shamare Holmes Bridgeport teacher Tiffany Ladson-Lang, and Stratford teacher Kristen Record shared CEA priorities with the legislature’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus yesterday.
“It is vitally important that members of the caucus hear from teachers and get a clearer understanding of what’s happening every day in our schools,” says CEA Director of Government Relations Ray Rossomando. “Teachers came from every corner of the state and stayed late into the evening, on a school night, to testify before their elected officials about what matters most to their students, their profession, and the communities where they teach. That has an impact.” Read more
Bridgeport Schools Beginning Teacher Coordinator Michael Brosnan was among many teachers urging the State Board of Education to reject charter school expansion at today’s meeting.
The State Board of Education today listened to teachers’ concerns about fairness in education funding and responded by rejecting increases in enrollment for three charter schools that would have cost the state $627,000.
At a time when state budget cuts are currently hurting students and teachers at neighborhood public schools, CEA President Sheila Cohen said it would have been unconscionable for the state “to divert precious education funds to expand charter schools at the expense of traditional public schools and to the detriment of all students, but especially minority students in the state’s poorest school districts.” Read more
Bridgeport teacher Greg Furlong shared his firsthand experiences with inadequate resources and support as a witness for CCJEF during the trial in Superior Court.
Yesterday’s State Supreme Court ruling in the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) v. Rell delivered a mixed verdict—bad for school funding, while rejecting the lower court’s attempt to create burdensome schemes for testing, teacher evaluation, and education policy.
The key issue in the CCJEF case was whether school funding in Connecticut is adequate. On this issue, the Court found that state funding meets the minimally adequate level required. This finding flies in the face of mounting evidence of poorly funded and resourced public schools throughout the state, especially in high poverty communities.
“This decision fails to protect education funding,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen. “Communities all over Connecticut have already seen the state withdraw from its obligation to fund our public schools,” Cohen observed. “Rather than protect the quality of education in our communities, this decision allows the governor and the legislature to continue to slash funding to our schools and children.” Read more
Connecticut teachers are urging legislators to take up the critical issue of education funding when they convene for a special session later this month to focus on the draconian cuts devastating the state’s public schools and shortchanging students’ education.
“While we appreciate legislators standing up for our senior citizens, our youngest and most vulnerable citizens are also facing peril with continued school funding cuts that must be addressed,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen. “The time for action is now. Our children can’t wait until next February. Legislators must take up the issue in special session.” Read more
It’s being called “the nightmare before Christmas”—massive new cuts in education funding for cities and towns.
It’s so severe, the only option for many towns is to lay off teachers, right before the holidays. Besides the layoffs, the cuts will put student learning at risk, limit already scarce school resources, eliminate programs, and lead to larger class sizes, all in the middle of the school year.
We need you to contact your state legislators today.
Tell them: Read more
CEA joined with Torrington and Plainfield teachers, a Brooklyn parent and her two children, and the municipalities of Torrington, Plainfield, and Brooklyn yesterday to file a lawsuit against cuts to education in the governor’s executive order.
“We have taken this action to prevent our schools from being stripped of critical resources because that will cause irreparable harm to our students,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen. Read more
Today, Governor Malloy reaffirmed his decision to veto the budget that passed this weekend. CEA agrees that a better bipartisan budget is needed for Connecticut, and is calling on legislators to convene immediately to craft a budget that works for all of us and invests in public education.
In order to move Connecticut forward, a real bipartisan budget must: Read more
Throughout the state budget process, CEA members have been strong advocates. In just the last three days, more than 4,000 emails were sent by CEA members to their representatives and state senators. Here’s what happened at the Capitol Friday and Saturday:
Democrats were expected to pass their budget.
In the State Senate three Democrats—Paul Doyle, Gayle Slossberg, and Joan Hartley—all voted for the Republican budget. As a result, the Republican budget proposal passed by a vote of 21 to 15. Read more