October-November CEA Advisor

The October-November 2017 edition of the CEA Advisor is now available online. Don’t miss these and other stories.

A tax on teachers makes its way back into the latest budget. CEA leaders and members fight back.

The state’s largest teachers union seeks an injunction to restore $557 million to cities and towns.

When a beloved 20-year veteran teacher found himself facing a termination hearing, CEA Member Legal Services stepped in.

New CEA guides help teachers ace their evaluations and thrive in their first years in the classroom.

My life before DACA

I remember life before DACA.

I remember the fear, when, in my senior year of high school, my government class was required to apply to community college. I was so worried people would find out that I was undocumented.

I remember the frustration, when, despite having the chance to go to college anywhere in my home state of Texas and graduating from UT-San Antonio, I couldn’t yet pursue my dream of teaching. Instead, I volunteered at reading initiatives, and through communities in school programs — anything to be in and around a classroom.

And, I remember the unbridled joy when President Obama signed DACA. I was able to finish grad school, and today, I am proud to be going into my fourth year of teaching three and four-year-olds who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The fear, anxiety, and stress I felt all those years is something no one should have to go through. It will take all of us to ensure that the opportunities and futures of the 800,000 Dreamers who live, study and work in America can continue. That is why I am asking you to show your support today.

Send a postcard to your members of Congress urging them to pass the Dream Act. Just enter your name, and share your reason for supporting Dreamers. It takes less than two minutes, but can make a huge difference.

Thank you. Together, we can stand up for all Dreamers, and make sure each and every one is able to live his or her best future.

Karen Reyes
Special Education Teacher
Austin, Texas
NEA Member

New Teacher Conference request for presenters

Sent on Behalf of CEA President Sheila Cohen and the Membership Training and Conference Committee

LP’s: This email is being sent to all members

Thank you for what you do each and every day!

Greetings, CEA Members,

Are you a strong presenter? Would you like to help support our new teachers? Would you like the opportunity to expand and develop your teacher leadership skills and capacity? The CEA Membership Training and Conference Committee is looking to expand the sessions available to our members attending the New Teachers Conference. While anyone can attend, the New Teacher Conference is targeted at teachers in their first six years of experience.

We are looking for CEA members willing to present a one and one half hour session twice during the conference, which is March 24, 2018 at the Heritage Hotel and Conference Center in Southbury from 8:30 to 1:00. The CEA will provide presenters dinner and overnight accommodations at the Heritage on March 23. A continental breakfast and lunch during the conference is provided for all attendees. Sessions are presented in three conference strands: Pedagogy (instructional techniques and strategies, designing units, projects, lessons, and activities, etc.); Behavior and Classroom Management (setting up rules, routines, and procedures; rewards and consequences; finding the right amount of discipline for your classroom, etc.); and Managing Your Professional Life (professional relationships, paperwork,, licensure, legal issues, etc.).

If you are interested in making a proposal, please use this link:


Proposals will be accepted until Friday, November 3. Successful applicants will be notified in early December. If you have any questions, please contact Joe Zawawi at joez@cea.org.

From NEA EdJustice: Undocumented, Unafraid, and Unapologetic — I’m Fighting for the Dreamers

Undocumented, Unafraid, and Unapologetic — I’m Fighting for the Dreamers

My dream is to become a teacher. For the past seven years, I’ve worked hard toward this goal, taking courses at a community college while working minimum wage jobs to cover tuition and support my family.

The day President Trump rescinded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), it seemed like my dream of becoming a teacher was being yanked out from under me. I felt lost and so depressed that my wife and best friend were worried about me.

Later that same day, however, there was a DACA rally at the Department of Homeland Security in San Bernardino, California. When I arrived, I saw that more than 200 people from the community had come out to defend people like me. This meant so much to me — I was not alone!

Please show DACA-mented educators and all DREAMers that they are not alone. Click here to call Congress now and tell them to pass the DREAM Act of 2017.

My parents immigrated from Mexico to the United States in the 1970s. I have four siblings, all of whom were born in the U.S. But when my mother was pregnant with me, my family had to return to Mexico due to a family emergency. Then — tah-dah! — I was born in Mexico. No big deal, right? Wrong.

After graduating from high school in San Bernardino, the full jolt of being undocumented hit me. I couldn’t get a driver’s license or a Social Security Card. The only jobs I could land were menial and they paid — or to be more accurate, underpaid — under the table. I couldn’t even fly on an airplane.

DACA changed all that. It allowed me to come out of the shadows, and it expanded my horizons. It enabled me to become an advocate and activist in Student CTA (California Teachers Association) and the NEA Student Program. With the Student CTA program, I advocated for the creation of the DREAMER Scholarship that awarded two scholarships in 2016.

You can support DACA recipients in numerous ways: Go to rallies and marches. Sponsor DACA renewals. Create a safe space for undocumented students.

And contact your elected representatives in Congress, and urge them to support the Dream Act of 2017.

My DACA expires in May of 2019, half a year before I become a teacher. So I don’t qualify for the DACA renewal on October 5. But I still intend to do all I can to help others who qualify for their renewal next month. I have less than two years left with DACA and I will not surrender — I’ve worked too hard, come too far, and sacrificed too much to give up now. I will continue to fight for the Dreamers. I am undocumented. Unafraid. Unapologetic.

With Hope,

Vicente R.

Naugatuck BOE Benefits Fair Announced

Flu season is just around the corner. The single best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get vaccinated each year. Your flu shot not only protects you – it helps protect your whole family.

This year, we are again pleased to offer an on site flu vaccination program. The program is sponsored by ConnectiCare with services delivered by VNA Health at Home, Inc.

Vaccinations will be provided at:

2017 Benefits Fair

Naugatuck Board of Education

Thursday, October 26, 2017

2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Injections will be available for adults, 18 years old or older, who are not pregnant or nursing.

If you would like to receive a flu shot this year, you can register with your school nurse starting on Monday, October 2, 2017. This is required to ensure that enough vaccinations are provided on the day of the clinic. Required registration forms are attached for your convenience.  Please complete the form and bring with you the day of the clinic.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via email at Melissa.Massicotte@Naugatuck.k12.ct.us or by phone at (475) 212-3211.

Have a great day!

Melissa Massicotte

Benefits Coordinator

Waterbury CT Federal Teachers Credit Union Document Shredding and Food Drive

Shred Hunger!  October 14

Free Document Shredding & Food Drive Event!

   Saturday, October 14th, 9am – noon
Where:   Middlebury branch only  (Danbury branch open for business 9a-noon)

Documents: up to 4 boxes/bags of paper per Member, for professional onsite shredding in a Shred-It truck

Donate non-perishable Food: 1+ food item per documents bag   Non-perishables only. NO glass

The CT Food Bank Needs: 
  (no glass)
• Canned vegetables & fruit
• Chunky soups & beef stew
• Tuna & other canned meat
• Gluten-free, Sugar free, low sodium, & no salt items
• Peanut butter
• Powdered milk
• Rice, dry & canned beans
• Spaghetti & sauce, Macaroni & cheese
• 100% Fruit Juice (cans/plastic bottles/boxes)

From CEA: Teacher Tax Update


Thank you for your advocacy and activism in fighting back against the teacher tax and the cost shift proposals. The Republican budget that passed the legislature contained a teacher tax, but no cost shift. However, the governor has said he will veto that plan, and that would mean legislators once again will be considering both issues to try to solve the budget deficit. We must stand strong and ready to fight back against both the cost shift and the teacher tax because they hurt students, teachers, and public education.

Because of your continued outreach and strong objections to the teacher tax, there is a lot of misinformation being shared by some legislators.

I want to be perfectly clear: THIS IS A TAX ON TEACHERS.

Here are the facts:

  • The Republican budget increases the payroll tax on teachers from 6 percent to 8 percent.
  • This will cost every teacher about $1,500 per year.
  • Unlike other pension contributions, the budget counts this additional 2% as tax revenue.
  • This increase will generate almost $100 million to reduce the state’s deficit instead of reducing the unfunded liability for teacher retirement.
  • None of this tax increase will go toward the state’s unfunded teacher pension liability—it will instead reduce the state’s contribution to teacher retirement.

Unlike other pension contributions, this additional 2% increase counts as tax revenue—PERIOD!


Please feel free to share this information with your colleagues, friends, and family members and to post it on your social media networks.

Our voices are being heard and we will continue to speak out against all attempts to balance the budget on the backs of students and teachers. We will fight against any new proposals that include a teacher tax or a cost shift that moves the state’s share of teacher retirement costs onto cities and towns.

We must keep up our advocacy until we have a fair budget that works for all of us and invests in public education.

Thank you for your continued activism and support.

Here we go again… A message for NEA

It’s déjà vu all over again. After failing in previous attempts, Senate Republican leaders are rushing one final vote by next Wednesday on a terrible bill that will gut Medicaid and take healthcare away from millions of Americans, including children! The Graham-Cassidy bill is bad news and will hurt a lot of people – especially children most in need – if it becomes law. It will make health care more costly and could end hard won protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

We cannot allow Republican leaders to pass this dangerous bill. That’s why we need you to take action today!

Call your Senator now. Tell them to vote no on Graham-Cassidy, and to stand up for affordable healthcare for every American!

Marc Egan
NEA Government Relations

From CEA: Action Alert: Teacher Tax

Tell Governor Malloy to veto the Republican budget that passed the legislature.
It imposes an unprecedented tax on teachers of approximately $1,500 per teacher—every year—that will NOT go into the teacher retirement fund to support teacher retirement. This is an unfair tax that goes into the state’s general fund, and must not become law.
Click here to contact Governor Malloy.
Urge him to
1)    Veto the Republican budget
2)    Pass a fair budget, without a $1,500 tax on teachers and without a cost shift
3)    Invest in public education and the future of our children and our state
Tell the governor not to balance the state budget on the backs of students and teachers.

CEAGo News for September 18, 2017

Today, Governor Malloy reaffirmed his decision to veto the budget that passed this weekend, which contains a number of anti-teacher, anti-union proposals that would impact our students, our profession, and our schools. We support the veto of this budget for the reasons below and are calling on legislators to convene immediately to create a real bipartisan budget that invests in public education and creates a reliable revenue stream to fund education.

If signed into law, the budget passed this weekend would:

  • Impose a $1,500* tax on teachers, in the form of a 2% increase in teachers’ contributions to their retirement ( *average amount; actual number would be higher or lower according to salary ).
  • Eliminate the minimum budget requirement that governs what towns must spend on education.
  • Allow the retired teachers health insurance fund to go bankrupt by no longer requiring the state to pay one-third of the cost each year.
  • Cut education funding to some of our poorest districts, including Bridgeport, New Haven, and East Hartford.
  • Allow schools and towns to use volunteers for town and school services.
  • End collective bargaining for state employees’ pensions, imposing changes in their pensions after 2027 when the current labor agreement expires, and start counting those savings in the proposed biennial budget.

This budget and the one proposed by the Democrats, which included the cost shift for teacher retirement onto cities and towns, put our public schools and Connecticut’s future at risk.

We are calling on legislators to convene immediately to craft a true bipartisan budget that:

  • Supports students and teachers and invests in public education.
  • Creates a sustainable system to fund education, including closing tax loopholes and ending unnecessary tax subsidies.
  • Eliminates waste and inefficiencies in state programs and services.

In the coming days we will be providing you with more information regarding the budget situation and will ask you to once again contact your legislators and urge them to come together to do what’s right for Connecticut—pass a budget that works for all of us and invests in our public schools. Please watch for our emails and take action when the time comes.