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Posts tagged ‘State Board of Education’

Will Connecticut Open Two New Charters? Now It’s Up to Legislators

Representatives from the Danbury Prospect Charter School discuss their proposal with the State Board of Education.

The State Board of Education today voted to give preliminary approval to two new charter schools, but those charters can only open if they can convince legislators to fund them.

In past years, charter schools that had applications approved by the State Board of Education went forward and enrolled students before receiving funding from the state, pressuring legislators into providing the funding. The legislature has since made it clear that that process is unacceptable and that no students can be enrolled until a school is funded.

CEA President Jeff Leake spoke out against the charter school applications at today’s meeting, saying, “CEA believes that charter schools should be non-profit, publicly accountable, transparent, and operate without diverting public funds from neighborhood public schools or to third-party management organizations.” Read more

State Board of Education Acts on Teachers’ Concerns: Rejects Charter Expansion

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

CEA Members Continue to Press for TEAM Funding

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

Mastery Test Scores Eliminated From Teacher Evaluations

National Teacher of the Year and Waterbury educator Jahana Hayes spoke in favor of a recommendation that the State Board of Education approved that prohibits mastery exams from being used in the calculation of teachers’ summative ratings.

The State Board of Education (SBOE) showed its commitment to students and teachers today by voting to remove state mastery test results from teacher evaluations.

“This is a big victory for students, teachers, and public education,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen. “The voices and expertise of teachers were heard and addressed by policymakers who did the right thing by putting the focus back where it belongs: on teaching, learning, and student achievement.”

The SBOE voted to approve new guidelines that clearly define how mastery tests can and cannot be used. The Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) recommended the new guidelines, which say state mastery test results can be used to inform goal setting and professional learning for educators, as appropriate, but cannot be used as a measure of goal attainment or in the calculation of the summative rating for an educator. Read more

Despite Opposition, Board of Education Approves Controversial Teacher Prep Program

CEA Educational Issues Specialist Michele O'Neill was of many who raised concerns about Relay at today's State Board of Education meeting.

CEA Educational Issues Specialist Michele O’Neill was one of many who raised concerns about Relay at today’s State Board of Education meeting.

In spite of serious concerns raised by teachers, CEA leaders and staff, state university deans of education, and community members, the State Board of Education today voted to allow the controversial Relay Graduate School of Education to begin operating in Connecticut. Relay provides a shortcut to teacher certification whose methods and outcomes have repeatedly been called into question.

“Relay teachers do not receive the same training other teachers do,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen. “Instead, they are given a crash course in teaching that focuses on increasing student test scores, not student skills. There are no do-overs for the students whose classrooms are managed by unprepared, inexperienced teachers who weave their way into the profession through these dubious, subpar teacher training programs.” Read more

State Board of Education Votes to Replace SBAC with SAT for High School Juniors

The State Board of Education met today at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

The State Board of Education met today at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

CEA has been a strong advocate for reducing the number of tests students are required to take, and today’s state Board of Education vote to adopt the SAT as the state’s mastery test for eleventh graders in place of SBAC moves Connecticut in the right direction. The board’s SAT vote comes as the last step in a process that began with a recommendation from CEA and other organizations on Connecticut’s High School Assessment Working Group.

“As a student who took both tests last year I think this makes a lot of sense,” student board member Timothy Noel-Sullivan, a senior at Classical Magnet in Hartford, said. Many high school juniors were overwhelmed last spring when they found themselves taking the SBAC, SAT, and Advanced Placement exams all within a short time period.

Newly appointed state board member William Davenport said,  “As a high school teacher, I heard a lot of the same complaints from my students. After awhile the students don’t take all of these tests seriously.” Read more

Teacher Appointed to the State Board of Education

Erin B

Teacher Erin Benham has been appointed to the State Board of Education.

Governor Dannel P. Malloy today appointed teacher Erin Benham to serve as a member on the Connecticut State Board of Education.
Click here to read the news release.

CEA President Sheila Cohen issued this statement on today’s appointment:

We are gratified that teacher Erin Benham has been appointed to the State Board of Education, and we are certain that she will advocate for the high quality public education that our students need, deserve, and expect in the State of Connecticut.

Teachers need to be at the center, not the periphery, of setting policy and planning implementation. Policymakers on the State Board of Education will now have the advantage of a new colleague who is a teaching professional and who has direct classroom knowledge and expertise about what works and what does not work well in our public school classrooms.

We are confident that Erin will promote vigorous dialogue on pressing issues such as high-stakes testing, age and grade-level appropriate learning standards, adequate resources, and high-quality teacher evaluation and professional development. We join parents and students in applauding this appointment by Governor Malloy because we know that a classroom teacher will provide the experience, wisdom and strength the state board requires in this time of change.

 

BEA Plays Pivotal Role in School Reform

CEA Field Representative Michael Brady and Bridgeport Chief Administrative Officer Sandra Kase present Curiale School’s turnaround plan to the State Board of Education this morning.

The Bridgeport Education Association (BEA) is a strong and collaborative partner in developing strategies to implement Connecticut’s new reform law, Public Act 12-116. That’s the essence of commendations delivered this morning by state education officials and the Bridgeport school administration at a meeting of the State Board of Education in Hartford.

Among its many changes, the law provides for new “Commissioner’s Network” Schools, and Bridgeport’s James J. Curiale School is among the first four selected to develop a school turnaround plan. CEA Field Representative Michael Brady and Bridgeport Chief Administrative Officer Sandra Kase presented their plan today that is far reaching—impacting everything from the length of the school day and year along with additional student instruction and intervention to extensive professional development for teachers to new enrichment opportunities for students. Read the complete plan here.

The plan says that the “school’s greatest strength is its staff.” Kase today described BEA “as a strong and active colleague and an extremely close partner and collaborator” in developing the new turnaround plan. State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor said the union and the school administration have worked tirelessly in recent months to develop their plan — approved by the State Board today and scheduled for initial implementation in the upcoming school year.

“Your gearing up is truly a miracle. I want to commend Sandra and Mike. You truly innovated.” said Pryor. Kase said, “There is hope in Bridgeport for the first time in a long time. Teachers have rallied. They have been asked to do a monumental task.”

CEA’s Brady told the State Board that Curiale, like other schools in Bridgeport, has suffered from a severe lack of resources and instructional material and many teachers are excited about the state assistance, upwards of $1 million, along with help from UConn’s School of Education and social service agencies, that comes with being in the Commissioner’s Network.

“You’ve hit the mother lode of bringing in the whole community. This is at the heart of whether the change can be sustained—the teachers have to be part of this and the parents,” said State Board member Terry Jones.

BEA President Gary Peluchette could not attend today’s Hartford meeting since he was meeting with teachers in Bridgeport on developing new evaluation plans. He said that the “Curiale plan is thanks to the hard work of teachers Gregory Furlong, Jennifer Keleman, and Katie McLeod, who serve on the school turnaround committee. It’s gratifying to see their extraordinary talent recognized as they made their voices heard and had teachers’ needs addressed in the plan. They are representative of other high-quality teachers who staff our schools and will collaborate on districtwide reform—something that’s necessary to meet the needs of all stakeholders.”

Update on Proposed Certification Changes

The State Board of Education met this Wednesday and began a discussion of the proposed certification changes.  Mary Loftus Levine, CEA Director of Policy and Professional Practice, and Linette Branham, CEA Educational Issues Specialist, spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting.  They urged the Board to listen to what educators have been saying about the problems with the proposed certification changes.

Nearly 150 educators spoke at the five certification hearings the State Department of Education held this spring, and many more attended the hearings and/or submitted written testimony.  Thank you to all who spoke out on this issue.

The State Board of Education will be continuing discussion of the proposed changes at their July 7 meeting. They will then vote on these changes at either their July or September meeting.

CEA put together the video below with excerpts from the certification hearings and shared it with the State Board so they could listen (as well as read) your testimony first hand.

Your Teaching License at Risk – Speak Out at a Public Hearing

Watch hearing video

Watch what your colleagues shared about how certification changes will affect them at a recent hearing.

The State Department of Education (SDE) is proposing some dramatic changes that could upend critical certification regulations and put your teaching license at risk.

Hundreds of  CEA members attended the first three of five scheduled public hearings on these certification changes,  and urged SDE officials to reconsider their proposed regulation revisions.  Watch what they had to say.

Teachers testified that the proposed certification changes in three areas — special education, literacy, and teacher leadership — are unrealistic, costly, and poorly conceived. They said the proposals set teachers up for failure; and will have a devastating impact on teachers, students, and school districts.

The SDE needs to hear from you too. Every additional voice adds to the impact and lets the SDE know how devastating changes will be for students, teachers, and public schools.

Teachers need to tell the SDE to reconsider these proposals by testifying at the final two hearings later this month. The hearings are scheduled for Tuesday, April 27 at the Education Connection (RESC), 355 Goshen Road, in Litchfield, and Thursday, April 29, at ACES, 205 Skiff Street, Hamden. Both will be held from 3 to 6 p.m.

Sign up to attend one of the hearings.  If you can’t attend you can still submit written comments.

SDE officials need to hear why their proposals won’t work — and why the proposed certification changes would be damaging to teachers and students.

You can learn about the impact these proposals will have on teachers and join CEA’s efforts to change them by clicking here.