An important bill for teachers that incorporates play-based learning, raises the kindergarten start age, eliminates performance ratings in teacher evaluations, and more passed the State House of Representatives 112 – 37 last night and now heads to the Senate.
“Thank you to all of our State Representatives who voted in favor of House Bill 6880,” says CEA President Kate Dias. “This bill has many important provisions teachers have long advocated for including making sure children start kindergarten at age five and ensuring our youngest students can learn through developmentally appropriate, play-based strategies.”
She continued, “While much more needs to be done to support and retain educators and attract new teachers to the classroom, this bill nevertheless makes important strides for public education in Connecticut and we strongly urge its passage by the Senate.”
Among other measures, HB 6880
- Requires the incorporation of play-based learning in pre-K and kindergarten and permits it to be incorporated into grades 1 through 5.
- Raises the kindergarten start age to age 5 by September 1 rather than by January 1.
- Changes the teacher evaluation and support program system by eliminating the assignment of four performance ratings—enabling an overhaul of teacher evaluation by the State Board of Education.
- Prohibits edTPA from being used to determine qualifications for teacher certification.
- Requires school districts to conduct exit surveys of teachers who leave the district, including ascertaining why a teacher is leaving the district or the profession.
- Aligns labor law affecting teachers with that pertaining to other public employees.
- Extends flexibility for school district superintendents to allow teachers with elementary certification to also teach kindergarten.
- Adds paraprofessionals to Professional Development and Evaluation Committees (PDECs) and Pupil Personnel Teams (PPTs) that address services for students receiving special education and also provides paras with professional development in social-emotional learning.
“In order to get other important teacher priorities over the finish line, CEA members need to reach out to Governor Lamont and let him know why it’s crucial that he support a state budget that provides landmark funding for teacher recruitment and retention,” Dias says. “Please call and email the governor today.”