CEA Advisor_December 2022-January 2023 issue_web



EDUCATION CHAMPIONS READY TO TACKLE BIG ISSUES CEA members ensure key wins in legislative races, continue advocating for education priorities

As the 2023 Connecticut General Assembly session gets set to begin next month, dozens of education champions are ready to take their seats in the state legislature. Political newcomers and incumbents alike, these lawmakers respect educators and value the support that helped get them elected. “Every election season, CEA puts together an Honor Roll of candidates dedicated to supporting our members on everything from teacher autonomy to pensions, and thanks to the hard work of so many of our members, leaders, and staff, this Election Day handed 83 percent of those candidates a win,” says CEA President Kate Dias. “We are exceedingly proud of everyone who made that happen.” Not only did CEA members turn out to vote in the midterms, but many also ran for office and invested hundreds of volunteer hours in the evenings and on weekends to make sure their colleagues got to the polls. CEA Government Relations was instrumental in that success, mobilizing member participation in postcard writing and turnout at weekend rallies, door knocking campaigns, evening phone banks, and poll standing. “Everyone knows how busy teachers already are, and yet we had volunteers taking extra time to reach out to fellow teachers, neighbors, and others to deliver important electoral wins for education candidates,” says CEA Political Engagement Coordinator Gus Melita. Those efforts are expected to pay off in the upcoming General Assembly session, as CEA advances a legislative agenda that improves the education experience in Connecticut’s schools and addresses teacher shortages, working conditions, retirement equity and security, and more. (See next page.) Key wins Among this year’s Election Day winners are CEA members themselves— teachers who decided to serve their communities in Connecticut’s House of Representatives. History teacher Ron Napoli won re-election in Waterbury, civics teacher Kevin Brown will represent Vernon, and Spanish teacher Christopher Poulos won his seat to represent Southington by an incredible one-vote margin.

“Chris was in a tough race, and his win really shows the power of getting out and making our voices heard,” says Dias. “We are grateful to everyone who took the time to engage in our precious democratic process.” In another close race, residents of Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District sent 2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes back to the U.S. House of Representatives. All other members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation, endorsed by NEA, were successful in their re-election campaigns as well. “Midterm election results show the power of teachers’ votes and voices,” says Dias, “and as the next legislative session gets underway January 4, we stand ready to work with our elected officials on issues that impact our communities, our profession, and our students.”

25,367 personalized emails sent

CEA staff and member involvement in phone banking, postcard writing, door knocking, and poll standing in towns like Danbury, Fairfield, Meriden, Southington, and Vernon delivered key education victories in the midterm election.


83% CEA Legislative Honor Roll designees who won their elections

4,764 direct member-to-member communications

Roll designees who won their elections

The Power of the Pen

Aside from calling and canvassing, many educators wrote letters to the editor backing local candidates who support teachers. One such letter, endorsing Representative Thomas Arnone, Governor Ned Lamont, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congressman Joe Courtney, and others, was submitted by social studies teacher and Enfield Teachers’ Association Vice President William Delaney. It is excerpted here. Over the past two years, we have seen a concerted effort of misinformed and misguided people posting on social media and speaking at public meetings trying to damage the reputation of educators and discredit public education in Enfield, around the state, and across our nation. Alarmingly, school personnel have even faced threats of violence from radicalized zealots who have fallen prey to the propaganda of this “movement.” The malignment of schools and teachers is irresponsible,

and further, it offers nothing substantive to the essential pursuit of improving our schools. It is counterproductive to the mission of supporting public education. Let us never forget that American public schools have helped prepare many generations of individuals for productive, responsible, fulfilling lives and are a cornerstone of our great republic. We must elect leaders who see the good in our public schools and who don’t propagate false narratives. We must elect leaders who support working as a team to consistently improve and raise the standards of our schools. We must elect leaders who believe in unity and not division. We must elect leaders who value pragmatism over ideology. We must elect leaders who fight for fundamental democratic and civic values like justice and the truth.

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