This year’s legislative session is officially underway today in Hartford, with lawmakers gathering in-person in large numbers for the first time in two years. Governor Lamont kicked off day one with his annual State of the State Address, in which he acknowledged the hard work of teachers throughout the pandemic.
“How about a big shout out to the greatest educators in the nation, right here in Connecticut!” he said to resounding applause from legislators. “Connecticut teachers showed up! They showed up every day! They showed up every day for our schools–recognizing the importance of in—person learning!”
He continued, “Thank you to the teachers. Thank you to the educators. Thank you for making a difference.”
In his speech, the governor emphasized the importance of additional resources in helping children get through and recover from the pandemic.
“We gave many of our high schools the opportunity to vote on how to spend $20,000 of rescue funding,” Lamont said. “At Enfield High School, when asked how they would invest that money, the student council said their top priority was more confidential counseling. These are high school kids. More confidential counseling. Think about that for a moment.”
Additional mental health supports in schools, including more school counselors, social workers, and psychologists, are one of CEA’s top legislative priorities this session. Educators report that the number of students needing mental health supports, already high pre-pandemic, has ballooned over the last two years.
Other top priorities for educators include improving indoor air quality in schools, so that our classrooms are healthy places for teachers to teach and students to learn, and improving the recruitment and retention of educators in our public schools. Check out CEA’s full list of legislative priorities.
Masking on the agenda tomorrow
Tomorrow the State House of Representatives will meet to vote on the continuation of Governor Lamont’s pandemic-related emergency orders. These include the mask mandate for schools, which Lamont has indicated he plans to continue only through February 28, leaving the decision up to local districts after that point.
Yesterday lawmakers heard from numerous constituents, including CEA, on the issue.
Contact your legislators now to share your stance regarding masking in schools before tomorrow’s vote.
As the legislative session unfolds, CEA will be staying on top of all education-related news as we advocate for members. Subscribe to the CEAdaily to stay up to date on the latest.