Like their colleagues standing up for fair wages and education funding across the nation, Westport teachers came together last night, wearing red, in a show of strength and solidarity before the town’s Board of Education.
Concerned about their future as well as their students, colleagues, and schools, nearly 200 Westport teachers attended a recent Board of Education meeting.
Year after year, Westport teachers have taken on a higher share of their healthcare premiums, and increased costs have often outpaced the small salary increases they have received. When the Westport Board recently asked the teachers to join the State Plan, the Westport Education Association (WEA) asked for a small reduction in the percentage teachers paid for health insurance. In response, the administration delivered an ultimatum and 120 non-tenured teacher layoff notices—at a time when the town is poised to save millions and fill a new position—that of an assistant superintendent—with a six-figure salary.
Close to 200 teachers turned out for a Board of Education meeting to show their disappointment with the administration’s response and to demonstrate support for one another, their students, and their schools. 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
Teachers, parents, and community members were shut out of a Stratford Board of Education meeting Monday after the board refused to change venues to a room big enough to accommodate all who wanted to participate.
Public officials are elected to represent the interests of local residents, but members of the Stratford Board of Education abdicated their responsibility to town residents Monday by shutting them out of a public meeting.
Though the board had received notice days in advance that the number of teachers, parents, and community members expected to attend the first meeting of the board, which was elected in November, would exceed the room’s capacity, the board refused to change the venue.
Some teachers, parents, and community members were consequently shut out from participating in their town’s democratic process at a crucial time for Stratford’s schools and students. 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
Ridgefield teacher Liz Misiewicz called on members of the State Board of Education to support restoration of TEAM funding.
Connecticut’s Teacher Education And Mentoring (TEAM) program is one of the nation’s most highly regarded induction and support programs for new teachers. After state funding for the program was unexpectedly eliminated from the new state budget, CEA has continued to strongly advocate for a restoration of TEAM funding.
At the State Board of Education meeting in January, CEA leaders and staff joined Ridgefield teacher Liz Misiewicz and Bridgeport new teacher coordinator and TEAM facilitator Michael Brosnan in calling on members to support the restoration of TEAM funding. Read more
CEA President Sheila Cohen and AFT-Connecticut President Jan Hochadel today sent a letter to legislators urging them to convene a special session to restore ECS funding. Severe cuts in education funding are devastating the state’s public schools and shortchanging students’ education.
Governor Malloy recently cut an additional $58 million in ECS funding, and more cuts are planned in the new year. As Connecticut’s cities and towns struggle to make up these costs, many are planning to cut school resources, eliminate educational programs, and lay off teachers.
Read the letter below. Read more
At a town budget meeting December 18, hundreds of teachers, students, and community members made their views known by carrying signs and wearing stickers that said, “Cuts Hurt Kids,” “Fund Public Schools,” and “Every Student Matters. Every Teacher Matters.”
A tremendous turnout of Stratford educators, families, and CEA leaders and staff at a special budget meeting of the new town council last night ensured that municipal leaders heard—and sent—a clear message to Stratford’s superintendent of schools: No teacher layoffs.
While the nine-member council ultimately voted 8–1 to accept a budget that includes $700,000 in education cuts, they strongly denounced any plans to cut teachers’ jobs. At issue was the superintendent’s proposal to lay off 43 teachers, including half of the district’s reading specialists, in the middle of the current school year. 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