CEA Advisor: October-November 2019

2 CEA ADVISOR OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2019 CEA ADVISOR STAFF Nancy Andrews • Communications Director Lesia Winiarskyj • Managing Editor Sandra Cassineri • Graphic Designer Laurel Killough • New Media Coordinator Eric Ahrens • Web Designer and Developer Jeff Leake, CEA President Donald E. Williams Jr. CEA Executive Director Tom Nicholas, CEA Vice President CEA GOVERNANCE Jeff Leake • President Tom Nicholas • Vice President Stephanie Wanzer • Secretary David Jedidian • Treasurer John Horrigan • NEA Director Tara Flaherty • 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: 10-24-2019 October - November 2019 Volume 62, Number 2 Published by Connecticut Education Association 1-800-842-4316 • 860-525-5641 cea.org CEA Advisor LEADING Fall is in the air, and that means the leaves are painting a brilliant picture, pumpkin spice is everywhere, and election season is upon us. Municipal elections are being held in dozens of communities across the state, with a handful of active and retired teachers running for office. We are pleased to see so many of our local associations getting involved in their board of education and town council elections. These local elections most directly affect your daily life. It is critical that teachers have a voice in electing the candidates who will determine their communities’ support of students and public education. We applaud those locals and members who are stepping up to ensure the best chance for increased community support for their students, their profession, and their schools. If you are not involved, we encourage you to step up, educate yourself on the issues, and find out which candidates will support your goals and which ones will not. As an educated voter, you will make a difference on Election Day, November 5. Education-friendly candidates make all the difference We often hear teachers say they don’t want to get involved in politics; they just want to teach. To that we say, everything you do is political. We negotiate our salary and benefits with elected officials in each town. Your pension is determined by lawmakers. Standards that inform your classroom curriculum are established by the State Department of Education. Your school budget is decided by elected officials at both the state and local levels. Even the length of the school year is determined by those we put into office. These are just some of the reasons we need to be involved in the political process. We have seen firsthand how electing education- friendly lawmakers impacts all of us. Last year we elected an education champion as Connecticut’s treasurer. Shawn Wooden respects teachers and fought hard for our retirement security. (Read the story on pages 5 and 15.) Governor Ned Lamont appointed education- friendly officials to top leadership positions at both the Department of Education and the Department of Children and Families. These two commissioners are listening to teachers, addressing our issues, and working hard to ensure we have a seat at the table. Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona, who began his career as a public school teacher, understands the importance of ensuring teachers have a voice on issues that impact their students and public education. In meetings with CEA leaders he has shared his top priorities and a specific interest in ensuring equitable funding for all students and increasing the number of minority teachers to be more representative of the students in the classroom. In an interview with the CEA Advisor , he discussed his plans to strengthen Connecticut’s public education system and empower its teachers. (Read the story on pages 6-7.) At a recent meeting, DCF Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes and key staff members listened and responded to teachers’ concerns. We are so proud of all our members who attended this important event, listened carefully to the commissioner, and stood up to ask poignant questions that impact every teacher in Connecticut. Our colleagues asked about a host of issues, including mandated reporting, overreporting by administrators, retaliatory reports against teachers, increased DCF investigations, and more. Read about this historic first and the promising new relationship Strong Public Schools Can’t Exist Without Strong Education Voters Leading: Our Perspective between Connecticut educators and DCF in our centerspread story on pages 8-9. At the local level, we have witnessed how standing strong together can achieve meaningful change. Just recently, CEA worked with local leaders in Bridgeport and filed a class-action grievance against the district for its practice of not hiring substitute teachers. See page 4 to learn how we were successful in putting an end to practices that were hurting our students and our profession. Looking ahead Though we still have a year to go, our colleagues both here in Connecticut and across the nation are beginning to think about our involvement in the 2020 national elections, which will affect the makeup of the entire House of Representatives, about a third of the Senate, and of course, the future occupant of the White House. As educators, we must be concerned that education issues and support are an integral part of the discussion. Our NEA leadership and delegates to the 2019 NEA Representative Assembly took the first step in ensuring that we are an important part of that discussion by hosting the NEA #StrongPublicSchools Presidential Forum on July 5. Each candidate addressed the delegate assembly and answered questions submitted by NEA members, including what they will do to provide opportunities for every student; how they will secure the resources and tools that attract educators and keep them in the profession; and how, if elected, they will listen to the voices of the professionals in America’s classrooms. Join your colleagues and take the pledge to be a public education voter. Stay up-to-date on what the candidates are saying about your students, your schools, and your future by visiting NEA’s Strong Public Schools 2020 at educationvotes.nea.org/ presidential-2020. The Strong Public Schools 2020 site features side- by-side comparisons of the candidates on the issues. Member stories highlight the importance of supporting candidates who will fight for our students, and there is a link where you can submit your own questions for the candidates. The site also provides suggestions on how you can participate in local candidates’ events, including ideas about campaigning and inviting your colleagues to a house party for your favorite candidate. The more of us who get involved, the more momentum we’ll build, and the more we will accomplish for our students and ourselves. The results of the 2020 election won’t address every negative campaign targeting public education, but they can be a clear milestone in our struggle to maintain the public education system that has been a cornerstone of our democracy for hundreds of years. We must do all we can to keep the privateers and profiteers out of our public schools. We urge you to get involved in the elections this fall and in the Strong Public Schools 2020 campaign. We ask for your personal thoughts about the 2020 candidates and their education positions so that we can make decisions as the campaign unfolds about which candidates deserve our support. Join the movement. Be part of the dialogue, and vow to be a true public education voter. Together, we are an effective force and will ensure a brighter future for our students, our profession, and our schools. October 11, 2019 Ask your UniServ Rep for a copy of this flyer.