CEA members’ commitment to students and their teaching colleagues doesn’t stop with retirement. Hundreds of retired teachers demonstrated that truth today with their active engagement at the CEA-Retired Spring Business Meeting.
“It’s important to remember our organization relies on the hard work of volunteers like you,” CEA-Retired President Gloria Brown told the members gathered at the Aquaturf in Southington. “Thank you for all you do.”
In uncontested races, CEA-Retired members reelected Gloria Brown president, Bill Murray vice president, and Ina Smernoff treasurer. Karen DiMenna was elected secretary of CEA-Retired as current secretary Pat Foley chose not to run for reelection.
Members heard committee reports and adopted constitution revisions to align the CEA-Retired Constitution with the CEA Constitution.
In addition to the elections and discussion of business items, members also heard from past CEA-Retired president and NEA-Retired Executive Council member Jon-Paul Roden and CEA Political Action Coordinator Chris Donovan.
Roden called members’ attention to information available on the CEA website. He explained where to find sections pertaining to legislation and politics, contact information for CEA officers and staff members, dates for CEA-Retired meetings, past issues of the CEA Advisor, and a video highlighting the benefits of membership in CEA-Retired.
Donovan thanked retirees for their advocacy throughout the legislative session. “Those letters and emails made a difference. Legislators especially loved the conversations they had with you and the hand written letters they received,” he said.
Given the difficult economic climate currently plaguing the state, Donovan said that there’s a danger that cynicism can take hold and citizens can lose hope in their ability to affect change.
“We have to combat that cynicism,” Donovan said. “When we feel that way, the people in power take over.”
Donovan said that there are groups out there that want to take over public education.
“There are groups who go door to door telling lies about our public schools. They’re against pensions and against collective bargaining,” Donovan said. “That is why we must remain engaged in the political process.”
He highlighted important CEA victories this legislative session including enhanced data privacy protections for students, legislation to improve minority teacher recruitment, and the preservation of an income tax exemption on 25 percent of retired teachers’ pension income this year, and 50 percent of that income next year.
When it comes to elections this fall, Donovan said that teachers must hold elected leaders accountable. “We want to make sure that the people we elect are doing the right thing,” he said.