Teachers tonight rallied for public education at the State Capitol urging legislators to get reform done right. Tonight’s event mirrored yesterday’s impactful rally where teachers emphasized that their voices need to be prominent in education reform because they are in the classroom every day.
Were you among the many dedicated teachers who stood up for students in Hartford this week? We welcome your impressions. Teachers are building a movement for quality schools as they stand tall—trying to ensure that meaningful reform is just around the legislative corner. What’s meaningful reform mean to your students?
To date, nearly 2,000 teachers from across Connecticut have demonstrated in a show of solidarity. They are united in their belief that the quality of the education reform bill that lawmakers ultimately enact will determine the future of educational and economic opportunity in Connecticut.
Teachers regard Governor Malloy’s proposal as a set of untested and misguided ideas. We encourage you to share your point of view here at BlogCEA.
We were encouraged tonight as House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey told teachers that he and his colleagues are concerned about the “scale, speed, and scope” of the governor’s reform proposal “in ways that are very much untested.”
Sharkey addressed 800 teachers as they rallied at the State Capitol to urge legislators to get reform done right. “We’ve heard you,” Sharkey told the teachers assembled. He explained that he and a handful of other top officials tonight are working on revisions to Substitute Bill 24, the alternative to the governor’s proposal that was approved by the Education Committee in late March.
According to Sharkey, the job of that handful of people is to make sure that the education reform that ultimately gets enacted does not happen “too fast, too big, or too quickly.” Sharkey continued, “We all care first and foremost about the kids.”
That theme of “students’ best interest” was sounded last night and tonight by teachers.
Berlin teacher Kristine Jutras attended tonight’s rally wanting to set the record straight. “The governor says teachers agree with his version of reform, and we don’t,” she said. She added “I’m a parent, and I talk all the time with my students’ parents. We want reform done right.” Her colleague, Danbury teacher Melinda Scott, said, “We try every day to do the right things for kids. We’ve got to stand up.”
South Windsor teacher Tim Zeuschner said that unions have a valuable role to play in school improvement, and his concern focuses on the Malloy proposal that would concentrate unprecedented authority in the hands of the education commissioner. Bridgeport teacher Gary Peluchette, who is also president of the city’s teachers’ union, said he’s concerned that for-profit companies would end up in charge of public schools under the Malloy proposal. Berlin teacher Elizabeth Trojanowski attended Tuesday’s rally with her daughter. She said, “I want to support my profession. I want to support my colleagues. I want my daughter to get the best education possible.”
The legislature is moving in the right direction on education. The Education Committee has put forth an alternative to the governor’s proposal. While this legislation is a work in progress, the approach taken by the Education Committee is cause for optimism.
Are you feeling optimistic, especially if you joined in this week’s rallies? Let us know.