Increased class sizes, the reduction or elimination of positions, including reading teachers, media specialists, technology teachers, social workers, school counselors, EL specialists, and art, physical education, and music teachers as well as security personnel and paraprofessionals are just some of the cuts Stamford Pubic Schools Superintendent Tamu Lucero outlined last night during a virtual Board of Finance (BOF) special budget meeting. Lucero threatened the cuts if teachers refuse to accept $15 million in concessions, including a two-year salary freeze and $4 million in unspecified additional cuts or a 10% increase in the teacher health care premium cost share.
“Penalizing teachers by requiring concessions and eliminating essential positions—including social workers—when we need them more than ever is penny-wise and pound foolish,” said Stamford Education Association President Diane Phanos. “Making drastic cuts is not the right course for our residents or our community during these unprecedented times. When we return to school, our students will need more resources, not fewer, and we have to be prepared to provide remediation and handle students’ emotional trauma caused by the pandemic.”
The SEA successfully organized members to participate in last night’s BOF virtual meeting, with hundreds of teachers among the 800 participants. Despite the record numbers, however, the board allowed only eight participants to speak, cutting off public comment after just 40 minutes. All eight speakers were Stamford teachers who spoke out against the budget cuts, while dozens of others submitted written comments echoing concerns that the cuts would be devastating to students now and in the future, compounded by the trauma and chaos caused by the coronavirus. Read more
The coronavirus may have closed school buildings, but it has also revealed the determination and resolve of educators to help their students.
This pandemic has also exposed a great divide. Some students have been disproportionately affected, and, unless we act, they will face steeper obstacles in the future because of it.
That’s why NEA is launching a national advertising campaign aimed at advocating on behalf of students, their families, and the nation’s public school teachers.
We cannot let this pandemic deprive our schools and communities of the support they need to serve students now and when this crisis is over. The nation’s recovery from COVID-19 will run through our public schools, so we need to make sure we prioritize students and educators in coronavirus relief legislation.
Watch the ad below, and then visit www.nea.org/covidaction for resources for educators, parents, and communities to address the crisis and its impact on education.
School finance expert and Rutgers Professor Bruce Baker spoke on School Finance Myths and Realities today at Trinity College.
There are those, including current U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who argue that spending more on public education doesn’t lead to better outcomes. School finance expert and Rutgers Professor Bruce Baker begs to differ, and he has research to back his position up.
“We have more data available now—20 year data sets—and can tease out change over time,” he told students and community members gathered at Trinity College’s Center for Hartford Engagement and Research today. “That’s why there are a number of studies that have come out now that show longitudinally that increased funding leads to better outcomes.”
Studies show that increased school funding particularly makes a difference for low-income students, leading not just to better test scores, but also to increased adult earnings. Read more
CEA President Jeff Leake (far right) joins a rally at the State Capitol calling on legislators and the governor to pass a moral budget: one that includes fair and equitable public school funding.
DUE Justice, a coalition of organizations demanding a fair, just, and moral budget, came together for a rally at the State Capitol this afternoon.
The coalition, which includes CEA and AFT Connecticut, is asking the governor and legislators to pass a budget that fully funds neighborhood public schools, makes housing and healthcare affordable, protects vital public services and the environment, promotes racial and gender equity, and supports collective bargaining so that workers can negotiate a fair return on their work.
Teachers were among the many rally participants.
CEA President Jeff Leake, who attended the event, said that teachers see firsthand how poverty and inequality affect students, families, and communities and are moved to advocate for positive change. Read more
After a city official disparaged public schools as “subsidized taxpayer-funded day care,” Norwich teachers, parents, and other school supporters turned out at a rally to set the record straight and demand a fair budget for their students’ education. The rally was held Monday night, prior to a budget hearing at Norwich City Hall.
Councilwoman Joanne Philbrick’s recent characterization of public schools as “day care,” along with other controversial comments she made about support services children receive at school, were met with widespread criticism, as was the city council’s 4-3 vote to strike down a school budget increase. Read more
As every teacher knows, the last thing students need is less education funding. Yet, as hard as it is to believe, the perception that education funding makes little or no difference in student success persists.
These are beliefs, says Bruce D. Baker, professor of education at Rutgers University in New Jersey, that are based on outdated and faulty research. Baker is the author of a report from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) that confirms what educators know to be true — students benefit from more school funding.
“While money alone is not the answer to all educational ills,” Baker writes in the report, “more equitable and adequate allocation of financial inputs to schooling provides a necessary underlying condition for improving the equity and adequacy of outcomes.”
Legislators may vote on a new state budget this week. A new plan unveiled by Governor Malloy would lessen the school funding cuts that were part of his executive order, but it would also impose new cuts on cities and towns that will impact school budgets.
Legislators need to hear from you.
CEA-Retired Legislative Committee Co-Chairs Myles Cohen and Karen O’Connell.
“I find it’s important to stay involved in our Association and pay it forward,” said John Battista, one of nearly 200 retired Connecticut educators who converged on the Legislative Office Building this week for Retired Teachers Lobby Day. The event, a joint effort of CEA-Retired, the Association of Retired Teachers of Connecticut (ARTC), and AFT Connecticut, brought longtime educators and their elected officials face to face to discuss issues important to both retired and active teachers.
Battista, a former physical education teacher in Westbrook, said, “I wasn’t an advocate early in my career, but over time I developed a passion for the issues critical to active and retired teachers. Teachers are the most important part of our economy. I want to see our profession lifted up to where it should be. ” Read more
How are Connecticut schools funded? Where does the money come from? What would adequate and equitable school funding look like? What is CCJEF vs. Rell? These questions and more will be answered at the School Funding Equity Summit at Central Connecticut State University on February 17.
Panelists will include Michael Frechette of CCSU and Nancy Haynes, the former business manager of Middletown Public Schools. The keynote address will be given by James Finley, president of Finley Governmental Strategies and Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) principal consultant.
The event will take place from 5:30-7:10 p.m. on February 17 at the Vance Academic Building, Room 105, Central Connecticut State University.
To register, email email@example.com.