From providing more mental health supports for children to additional assistance with special education costs to improving air quality in schools and giving pandemic credit toward teachers’ retirement Senate President Martin Looney discussed education priorities with CEA President Kate Dias and Vice President Joslyn DeLancey in the latest episode of CEA’s podcast, Two T’s in a Pod.
“SB 1, as the number may indicate, is the priority for our Senate Democratic Caucus this year, and it has a lot of components related to education,” Looney said, explaining that the bill would provide both for greater mental health resources for children in school as well as better connections to mental health professionals outside of school.
“One of the things we want to do in the bill is enhance resources for schools, for children, to make sure that counseling opportunities are enhanced for children within the schools,” Looney said. “That’s a significant problem that we have found—that mental health challenges for children have been exacerbated during the pandemic and there is a real treatment gap. We know in many cases children have great difficulty getting treatment outside of school.”
Dias and DeLancey also discussed with the senate president CEA’s proposal to award teachers a pandemic credit toward their retirement to recognize that working during the pandemic has been particularly taxing and challenging and should be rewarded accordingly.
“I think that’s critically important and a matter of equity,” Looney said. “For those who are, like teachers, covered by a pension plan, I think that might be a way to pursue it, to give additional pension credits for those who were on the front lines and were exposed to the risks of the pandemic, who were teaching and meeting with students at a time when there was great risk.”
Listen to the entire podcast episode below, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Watch for action alerts from CEA to take action on prohibiting dual teaching, improving school air quality, providing additional mental health supports for students, and other teacher priorities.