Be Ready to Act to Support Public Education: Join Your Colleagues

Kathryn Noonan, a first year teacher in Stonington, said she thinks it's especially important for new teachers to get involved.

January 31, 2017

The unprecedented number of calls and emails U.S. senators have received in opposition to the nomination of Betsy DeVos for secretary of education make it clear that teachers understand the outsized role that policy and politics can play in their classrooms.

It's not just national lawmakers and decisions at the federal level that influence what happens in our schools, however. Often state-level decisions can shape Connecticut schools to a greater degree than federal policies do.

That's why grassroots organizing and activism here in Connecticut by those who know public education best—teachers—is so critical for ensuring high-quality public education for all Connecticut students.

Cheshire teacher Carolyn McElravy said, "We all need to be active participants in education policy. Everything legislators do impacts us."

McElravy joined more than a dozen other teachers gathered at CEA headquarters last night who were contacting their colleagues and urging them to stay stronger together by joining the Teacher Advocate Grassroots (TAG) Team.

CEA members who join the TAG Team will contact and meet with their elected officials when notified about issues impacting students and public education. Given the forecasted state budget deficit that lawmakers will have to address and bills legislators will consider this session, teachers need to be ready to stand up for their students to make sure children have the resources and services they need to succeed.

To join the TAG Team, contact CEA Political Action Associate Gus Melita by email or by calling 860-525-5641.

"There are a lot of controversial issues going on, and I want to lend a hand to help my colleagues," Kathryn Noonan, a first year teacher in Stonington, said.

Paul Smith, a Vernon teacher, said, "This is about every kid in every town."

"We can accomplish so much when we stand together. I witnessed it first hand with my mother, who is a teacher and union leader," Noonan continued. "Lawmakers sometimes don't have students' or teachers' best interests at heart, and teachers need to educate them on what we do and what we need for our students."

East Hartford teacher Kim Knapp said, "Teachers want to get involved, some just need a personal invitation. I am here tonight to provide that."

Paul Smith, a teacher at Rockville High School in Vernon, said he wants to help make sure teachers come together so that they can organize for key issues that affect them in the classroom.

"People who decide our future and school budgets need to hear from teachers about how education dollars should be spent," he said.

Smith added, "This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. This is about every kid in every town, and we all have to work together for the kids."

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