CEA Advisor: May June 2019

2 CEA ADVISOR MAY–JUNE 2019 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 By the closing gavel of the 2019 legislative session on June 5, one thing was clear: the groundswell of energy and support for public education by teachers had an enormous impact on the outcome of legislation critical to teachers and students, including strengthening the teacher retirement fund. (See stories on pages 8-9.) The more CEA members get involved and join their colleagues in advocating for their profession—by testifying on a bill, talking to legislators about classroom issues, or wearing red in the name of public education—the stronger our voice becomes, the stronger our activism becomes, and the stronger our union becomes. The #RedforEd movement has shown politicians that educators are fully committed to standing together and standing up for ourselves and the students we teach. (See page 16.) We appreciate every CEA member who took action this legislative session. Many came to the State Capitol to testify and share their stories regarding classroom safety, teacher retirement, minority teacher recruitment, and other critical issues. Others called, emailed, wrote letters, and held back-home meetings with their legislators to explain how legislation impacts students and teachers in the classroom. Hundreds stood strong together wearing red in solidarity with their union brothers and sisters. Thanks to the tireless advocacy of CEA members and staff, our top priority of securing and strengthening the teacher retirement fund for every teacher was successful, with the passage of a fair, responsible state budget and the defeat of a plan to shift the cost of teacher pensions onto cities and towns. (See story page 8.) Treasurer Shawn Wooden’s proposal to address decades of state underfunding and ensure the long-term viability of the teacher retirement fund is a win-win for the state and our dedicated public school teachers. Thanks to his leadership on this issue, and Governor Lamont’s support, the much-needed structural changes CEA and its members have spent years advocating for will finally be put into place, ensuring the solvency and stability of the fund for years to come. Through advocacy, expertise, and strong political relationships, CEA members and staff helped deliver other priorities that put the needs of students and educators first. Legislators supported funding for public education, enhanced the teaching profession, and passed legislation to recruit and retain more minority teachers. (See stories on pages 8-9.) CEA continues to lead the dialogue on minority teacher recruitment and the need to have teachers reflect the student population in our schools. Read the stories on pages 6-7 to see what CEA is doing to encourage more members of color to become actively involved at all levels of the union, and how the Association is recommending ways to attract more minorities to the profession. Challenges ahead For all our efforts, we accomplished so much—but there is always more to do. Not everything has gone the way we would have liked. One of our biggest disappointments is that the classroom safety bill did not pass. After months of working with stakeholders and agreeing on a bill that would make our classrooms safer places to teach and learn— while providing disruptive students the help they need— legislators were unwilling to take the neccessary steps to implement this bill. (See story on page 9.) But we will not give up. Sometimes it takes several years to get a bill passed, so we will be back again next year, with more of your compelling stories to help drive this much-needed legislation. In the last election, teachers used the CEA Legislator Report Card to get the facts on the candidates. They used their vote to elect many legislators committed to giving students more opportunities for success and fighting hard for teachers and public education. But there are still dozens of legislators fighting against us. Many refused to meet with us or pass legislation in the best interests of students, teachers, and public education. They voted against the things we care deeply about, and they will be held accountable for their actions. Their votes will be highlighted in our next Legislator Report Card, and teachers will take that knowledge into the voting booth on Election Day. As the #RedforEd movement has shown us, teachers are becoming more active in the political process, recognizing its direct effect on their lives and the lives of their students and families. Teachers are using their voice and their vote to strengthen their communities and get things done. In the wake of the Janus decision and amidst continuing efforts to take away our rights, we must continue to use our collective voice. Rather than hobble organized labor in the U.S., anti-union forces are having a reverse effect: highlighting now, more than ever, the need to belong to a union. NEA and other organized labor organizations have seen increases in membership as teachers band together, redoubling their efforts to unify and stay union strong. After many months of working hard on behalf of your students and your profession, we hope you take time for yourself to re-energize this summer recess. We encourage you to do just that at CEA’s Summer Conference, where the workshops, speakers, and networking opportunities help you build connections with colleagues and develop professionally for the benefit of your students. (See conference information on the next page.) We hope to see you there. June 4, 2019 Strengthening teacher pensions: Our advocacy paid off, but our work continues 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: 6-17-2019 May–June 2019 Volume 61, Number 6 Published by Connecticut Education Association 1-800-842-4316 • 860-525-5641 cea.org CEA Advisor Leading: Our Perspective The groundswell of energy and support for public education by teachers had an enormous impact on the outcome of legislation critical to teachers and students, including securing the teacher retirement fund. Thanks to the tireless advocacy of CEA members and staff, our top priority of securing and strengthening the teacher retirement fund for every teacher was successful, with the passage of a fair, responsible state budget and the defeat of a plan to shift the cost of teacher pensions onto cities and towns. W • X

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