Bristol Teachers, after reading this update, please take a moment to add your own written testimony in support of HB 7110 by clicking here. Bristol residents of the 77th district can also contact Cara Pavalock-Damato, who is a member of the Education Committee. Ask her to support the bill and pass it out of committee.
On Friday, the Education Committee of the Connecticut Legislature held nine hours of testimony on all education bills that have been proposed, including HB 7110, the bill that addresses Classroom Safety.
BFT President David Hayes, who served on the Classroom Safety Working Group that was convened by the SDE in the summer and fall of 2018 to develop the language in the bill, was present and gave testimony that can be viewed using this link:
(If it freezes, hit pause, then play. Or use this link http://ct-n.com/ctnplayer.asp?odID=16054 and go to 5:07:35 into the stream to go directly to Hayes’ testimony followed by most testimony focused on HB 7110)
The verbal testimony was a summation of the written testimony, which can be read in its entirety here David’s Testimony for HB 7110
The complete list of all those who submitted testimony so far can be found here. Several Bristol teachers are among the participants!
An article summarizing Friday’s verbal testimony can be viewed here.
You can follow progress on the bill here.
Below is an email from CEA about HB 7110, AN ACT CONCERNING ENHANCED CLASSROOM SAFETY AND SCHOOL CLIMATE, that attempts to addresses the discipline problem prevalent in so many schools across our state.
BFT President David Hayes was the AFT CT’s representative on the committee that helped shape this bill as it was developed by a coalition of education groups, some of whom are fiercely opposed to the final language, which includes:
- A more formal record keeping requirement of disruptive or injurious incidents.
- A requirement that superintendents report to the BOE the number of disruptive or injurious incidents in schools, by grade level.
- Protection for teachers from discrimination or retaliation for reporting such incidents.
- Require the State Department of Education to conduct a biennial survey seeking the confidential responses of school employees (including teachers) and, in a separate confidential survey, from parents about school climate.
Bristol teachers are implored to share their stories of dangerous and disruptive classroom discipline situations by submitting testimony via the link at the bottom.
Here is the email:
Your voice can make a critical difference in making our classrooms safe places to learn and teach.
Classroom safety and disruptive behavior from students are major problems in our schools but legislators aren’t aware of what’s happening in your classrooms. They need to hear your stories.
The legislature’s Education Committee has just announced that it is holding a public hearing on Friday, February 22, on HB 7110 which would address this incredibly important issue. Full info on the bill is here.
With a new legislature, we need to educate our lawmakers on the issue again this year. We’re pushing back stronger than ever and asking you to stand up for safe schools. Even if you were one of the many who submitted your story last year, we need you to do it again.
CEA and AFT CT are making it easy for you to submit written testimony to the legislature—no need to take time off and travel to the Capitol. Please take a few minutes to write a paragraph or two (or more if you have time) and in your own words and experience, discuss why classroom safety and disruptive behavior is a major problem that must be addressed.
On Wednesday, February 20, the BOE’s Student Achievement Committee will meet in Room 36 of Central Office to discuss Restorative Practices, a discipline approach roundly rebuked by much of the staff at schools that have utilized it.
The BFT will weigh in on this issue to BOE members prior to that meeting. Staff members who wish to relay their own opinions or experiences can do so by emailing Commissioner Jen Dube, the Chair of the BOE Student Achievement Committee. Her email is JenniferDube@ci.bristol.ct.us
Click here for an outstanding essay from a teacher who very succinctly explains why more students should be suspended, and how that will lead to less suspensions.
In related news. a bill concerning classroom safety and school climate that is supported by CEA and AFT CT will be introduced soon in the Connecticut Legislature. The bill will be posted here when it becomes available.
In a year when class sizes stretch to unacceptable numbers (nearing 30 in some elementary schools and surpassing that in some middle and high school classes), the BOE is set to finish the 2018-19 school year with a $1 million surplus in the budget for teacher salaries.
From the BOE Finance Committee meeting minutes of January 14, 2019:
The budget is holding steady. We continue to forecast that we will have approximately $1M in the teacher salaries line available for transfer, and can utilize these monies to mitigate the costs of special education services.
Click here for a letter published in USA Today discussing the impact lower class sizes have.
Had that money been used as intended, and not as a rainy day slush fund, it could have paid for approximately 14 full time educators. Additional teachers could have been hired to open extra sections where class size was unusually high. It could have been used to hire instructional support, or paid for much needed SPED teachers or social workers.
The budget for the 2019-20 school year is being finalized and is expected to be voted upon at the March 6 BOE meeting.
- WHEN: Saturday, March 16 from 9:00 to 11:00AM.
- WHERE: Testa’s Banquet Facility, located at 26 South Center Street in Southington.
- WHEN: Saturday, March 16 from 12:30 to 2:30PM.
- WHERE: Margaritas Mexican Restaurant, located at 350 Roberts Street in East Hartford.
This legislative session has spurred much debate about the possibility of regionalization. While some see it as a necessary cost saving measure, others fear it will reduce local autonomy and lead to a “one size fits all” aspect to district education. Here are some articles on the topic:
WTNH with video
This Saturday, February 2, AFT CT will host its annual Legislative Conference at the Legislative Office Building (LOB) next to the Capitol in Hartford. Here is the agenda. RSVP at the bottom. The greater the attendance of teachers, the greater the focus for education this session.
- 9:00 – 9:10 – Welcome and Overview: AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel
- 9:10 – 9:45 – Social Justice Issues Panel: AFT Connecticut VP Stephanie Johnson, State Sen. Julie Kushner, State Rep. Robyn Porter (invited)
- 9:45 – 10:05 – Patient Safety Discussion: AFT Connecticut Exec. VP John Brady, AFT Connecticut VP Lisa D’Abrosca, State Sen. Matt Lesser
- 10:05 – 10:20 – Governor Ned Lamont (invited)
- 10:30 – 10:45 – State Sen President Pro Tempore Martin Looney
- 10:45 – 11:15 – Post-Janus Legislation in CT: State Rep. Mike D’Agostino
- 11:15 -11:45 – Post-Janus Federal Lawsuits: AFT Research and Initiative Director Ed Muir
- 11:45 – 12:00 – Speaker of the State House Joe Aresimowicz (invited)
- 12:00 – 12:30 – “Pensions 101” Discussion: CT AFL-CIO President Sal Luciano
- 12:30 – 1:00 – Lobbying 101 Workshop (for beginners) & Public Hearing Workshop (for experienced activists)