Requiring a minimum starting salary for Connecticut teachers, ensuring more play-based learning, lessening the role of standardized tests, improving teacher evaluation—these are just some of the legislative initiatives that CEA President Kate Dias and Vice President Joslyn DeLancey discussed with State Rep. Jeff Currey on the most recent episode of CEA’s podcast.
Currey is the new co-chair of the legislature’s Education Committee and told Dias and DeLancey that there was unprecedented interest among legislators this year in serving on the committee—causing it to become the third largest legislative committee with 45 members. Legislators are considering a number of education-related bills at teachers’ urging, and educators need to continue to be part of the conversation in order to get education-friendly bills passed. Join us February 4 for an opportunity to talk with legislators.
While Connecticut teachers are fortunate to have several CEA members in the General Assembly and on the Education Committee this year, Currey noted that most legislators are not educators. “We’re just average citizens who decided to step up and run for office, so we rely solely upon you all to educate us on why we should be doing what we’re doing.”
Dias stressed to teachers that they don’t need to feel like experts on every education-related issue or on the legislative process to talk to legislators. She said legislators need most to hear about what’s happening in real Connecticut classrooms on a daily basis.
“The most important thing you can do is relay your experience. Your personal experience in a classroom matters.”
Dias said she’s sometimes seen educators hesitate to reach out to their lawmakers, saying, “I don’t want to bother them.”
“Oh bother us, bother me every day,” said Currey. “We can’t sit back and argue. Unless you’re an educator talking to another educator, I’m in no position to tell you what you’re telling me is your truth, your experience is wrong.”
Listen to the entire conversation below or wherever you get your podcasts.