2 CEA ADVISOR OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2018 LEADING CEA ADVISOR STAFF Nancy Andrews • Communications Director Lesia Winiarskyj • Managing Editor Sandra Cassineri • Graphic Designer Laurel Killough • New Media Coordinator Jeff Leake, CEA President Donald E. Williams Jr. CEA Executive Director Tom Nicholas, CEA Vice President The new school year is underway. You’ve established your classroom and are working hard to get to know your students better every day. You have assessed their needs, set expectations for this school year, and begun making the best decisions possible for your students based on this background and knowledge. We ask that you apply this same depth of understanding to the candidates on the ballot in this year’s election—those we will send to Congress, including one of our own: Jahana Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year from Waterbury (story on page 11); and those who will be the leaders of our state and who will serve in Connecticut’s General Assembly. What’s at stake? We know that the last thing many teachers want to think about is politics, yet that is exactly what we all must do. What’s at stake is control of Congress and state legislatures across our deeply divided nation. We may not like it, but we must be involved in the political process to be advocates for our students, our schools, and our profession. In the past year, not everything has gone the way we would have liked. We have seen a major overhaul of the federal income tax system, and in Connecticut, legislators increased the teacher payroll tax. These are just a few of the reasons it is so important for teachers to be engaged. We must scrutinize candidates’ positions on everything from education funding to protecting teachers from aggressive students to funding educators’ pensions. Make no mistake, the governor, state senators and representatives, and those we elect to our local boards of education and town councils will make decisions that affect every aspect of our future—as educators, as parents, and as leaders in the communities where we live and teach. Grading legislators In order to help you examine the facts about the candidates, we have replaced our endorsement process and developed CEA’s first-ever Legislator Report Card and Honor Roll system (see story on page 4). The fact-based information system evaluates candidates’ voting records on issues that matter to you. It is transparent and holds candidates accountable. The report card informs us of the candidates’ positions on key issues and highlights those who want to help students and teachers, and those who are doing harm to them. And just like in our public schools, those with the highest report card scores are placed on the honor roll (see story on page 5). The CEA honor roll recognizes the candidates who have shown their commitment to public education and the rights of teachers. Close races We ask you to pay special attention to the 30 spotlight districts in cities and towns where the races are extremely important and could make the difference in ensuring teachers’ rights are protected (see pages 6-7). In spotlight districts, you can compare the candidates’ scores based on their legislative history and their responses to a CEA questionnaire. See which candidates have supported us, worked with us on key issues, and pledged to stand with teachers as we speak out for our students and public education. You will notice that some candidates did not feel that the questionnaire was worth their time and did not return it, which speaks volumes about where they stand on education issues. Governor’s race You can also use the report card to examine the differences between gubernatorial candidates Ned Lamont and Bob Stefanowski (see pages 8-9). Both candidates have very different plans regarding teacher pensions, collective bargaining, and school funding. Lamont is an education advocate and made the CEA honor roll; Stefanowski is a corporate reformer who supports Betsy DeVos’s plan to privatize public schools. Become an education voter Threats to our schools and our profession come from many corners, and we need to push back by electing legislators who will work with us, not against us, when it comes to important education-related issues. The new report card system provides you with the facts so that you can become an “education voter” and decide for yourself which candidates are the best choice for you—as educators, as family members, and as leaders in the community. As an education voter, you will be standing strong with your colleagues and ensuring that our collective voice is not diminished. We encourage you to talk with family, friends, and neighbors and let them know why being an education voter is so important at this moment, at this time, in this election. Who stands with teachers? We are just a few weeks away from a day that will determine our future—a day that will determine whether we will have the resources we need for our students, a day that will determine our ability to retire with dignity, a day that will determine our ability to stand strong and advocate for public education in Connecticut. That day, of course, is November 6, Election Day. We must elect public servants who will ensure we have the resources we need to work with our students as they come to us—academically, emotionally, and psychologically. The candidates on CEA’s honor roll are true education champions, and we must put in some sweat equity for them by standing up and offering them our time and our support to help get them elected. We know why we are teachers. We are teachers because we care. We help shape the future and educate our future leaders—our students who will grow to become men and women capable of doing great things. We too are capable of doing great things if we stand together and elect leaders who believe in public education. We ask you to think about these questions as you enter the voting booth: Will you be able to say you defended public education from those who wanted to destroy it? Will you be able to say you worked with your union to defend against the assault on collective bargaining and teachers’ rights? Will you be able to say you did not give up, standing strong and voting for students, teachers, and public education? We know you will, and we thank you. September 27, 2018 New CEA Report Card Helps Teachers Become Education Voters CEA GOVERNANCE Jeff Leake • President Tom Nicholas • Vice President Stephanie Wanzer • Secretary Kevin Egan • Treasurer John Horrigan • NEA Director David Jedidian • NEA Director The CEA Advisor is mailed to all CEA members. Annual subscription price is $5.72 (included in membership dues and available only as part of membership). Institutional subscription price: $25.00. Advertising in the CEA Advisor is screened, but the publishing of any advertisement does not imply CEA endorsement of the product, service, or views expressed. CEA Advisor UPS 0129-220 (ISSN 0007-8050) is published in August, October/November, December/ January, February/March, April, May/June, and summer (online) by the Connecticut Education Association, Capitol Place, Suite 500, 21 Oak Street, Hartford, CT 06106-8001, 860-525-5641. Periodicals postage paid at Hartford, Connecticut. Postmaster: Send address changes to CEA Advisor , Connecticut Education Association, Capitol Place, Suite 500, 21 Oak Street, Hartford, CT 06106-8001. Production date: 10-12-2018 October - November 2018 Volume 61, Number 2 Published by Connecticut Education Association 1-800-842-4316 • 860-525-5641 cea.org CEA Advisor Leading: Our Perspective The report card informs us of the candidates’ positions on key issues and highlights those who want to help students and teachers, and those who are doing harm to them.