Standardized Test Stress Survey

CEA has discussed and approved the idea of doing what we can to promote teacher participation in an independent research survey on standardized test stress. Although the survey is being conducted in numerous states, a group of researchers has been working with CEA to provide CT-specific information that we can be presented to, and used by, our representatives serving on the State Mastery Examination Committee, namely Don Williams and Marcia Ferreira.

The purpose of this study is to understand the impact that State Achievement Tests and recent changes to Curricular Standards have had on teachers, students, and schools. Your participation is very important to help policymakers, administrators, and educators understand the influence of these policies on teacher well-being and instructional practice, ultimately leading to enhanced school climate and improved student outcomes.

Click here to access the survey. It takes about 10 minutes to complete, and you get a chance to enter a drawing for a $100 gift card at Target or Walmart.

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Education Rally, May 12th

Put the Test to Rest: Learning Matters
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM (Eastern Time)

Connecticut State Capitol
210 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, Connecticut 06106
United States
Map and Directions

ATTEND THE RALLY
Your activism is needed to tell lawmakers that SB 1095 must be amended to ensure less testing and more learning for students.

PROBLEM
High-stakes testing does not measure communication skills, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, or the pursuit of discovery – essential life and learning skills.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) exam is a high-stakes test.  SBAC must be phased out because…

  • the test has not been validated and proven to be reliable.
  • wastes precious instructional time, as many days of classroom learning are lost to test prep and testing.
  • is not age – and grade-level appropriate.
  • penalizes students who lack access to computers.
  • fails to measure student growth within a school year.
  • cannot be used to address students’ needs immediately.
  • encourages schools to “teach to the middle,” putting struggling students at greater risk.

Not to mention some other reasons that John Oliver puts forth with great eloquence and humor…

LET’S ADDRESS THE PROBLEM
Connecticut lawmakers should eliminate the burdensome SBAC test and create an improved system of school accountability that is not unduly tied to one arbitrary test score.
See our complete plan at www.less-testing.org/#legislation

HELP YOUR CHILD
Twenty-one states are selecting their own tests and assessment systems.  Connecticut schools deserve that same opportunity.  The state legislature must act to address excessive testing in 2015. Tell your state lawmakers to put an end to high-stakes testing and allow teachers to do what they do best – respond to the educational needs of students.  Teachers succeed by nurturing curiosity, creativity, and love of learning in their students.

SOLUTION
Connecticut can become a national leader by reducing high-stakes standardized testing, while supporting high academic standards and restoring time for classroom instruction. Phasing out SBAC and replacing it with progress monitoring tests are first steps.  Progress monitoring tests are brief and offer an immediate and complete view of student needs, academic knowledge, and growth.

Register at CEA’s website

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If it happened in Wisconsin, who’s to say it can’t happen here?

Though we haven’t heard much about the anti-union law pushed through by Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s administration four years ago, the fallout has been devastating to public sector unions. Recently Republican state lawmakers pushed through right-to-work legislation that allows private-sector workers to opt out of paying union dues — and Walker gleefully signed it. People are often confused by “right-to-work” doublespeak. Watch the video below as The Young Turks break it down for us.

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Legislative Breakfast in Clinton March 21st

One of the focal points of discussion with your state legislators will be standardized testing. Come on out to tell your legislators why the SBAC high-stakes testing model is obsolete and detrimental to our students. Make your voices heard. See the details below…

leg break flyer

 

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New Teacher Regional Conferences

This year, New Teacher Conferences are being offered at regional locations throughout the state. Please see the postcard below for additional information (workshop description are available online). Dates and locations are as follows:

new teachers conferences

Teachers in their first six years of teaching are encouraged to attend. The cost to participants is $20 and includes all aspects of the conference. As workshops vary at each conference, teachers are welcome to attend multiple locations at $20 per conference.
Participants may access conference details and register online at www.cea.org under Upcoming Events. Please contact Mary Behrens at maryb@cea.org if you would like a list of members who were invited from your local.

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Teachers’ Retirement Statement Error and What to Do About Them…

Update on Teachers’ Retirement Statements:

Some members have recently received an annual statement from the Teachers’ Retirement Board (TRB) with incomplete or erroneous  information related to service credit and salary for the 2013-14 school year.  Some of these are legitimate errors and some reflect a problem with the reported information received from the school districts.  The TRB is in the process of determining which errors can be easily corrected and which will require further attention. The process is expected to take at least through the current school year to resolve.   Members are advised to refrain from contacting the TRB at this time.  Once the TRB has completed its research and corrections, you will receive an updated member statement or further information about legitimate discrepancies related to the information on your statement. However, you should retain a copy of the statement and if, by the end of this school year, you do not receive any follow up information from them, you should send a copy of your statement with an explanation of any errors to the TRB (765 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105-2822 Attn: Member Statements).  It is not necessary to notify CEA of any errors in your statement since they must be resolved directly with the TRB.

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County Forum

Our next County Forum is on Wednesday, January 21 at Baci Grill in Cromwell at 5:00.  Registration begins at 4:30 with a buffet style dinner at 6:00.  We will hear from CEA president Sheila Cohen and Don Williams among others.  We will also be joined by Linette Branham who will give us a presentation on what a good professional development committee should be doing.  Please make every attempt to attend and please urge all of your members but especially those who serve on the PD committee to attend.  Please RSVP for this meeting no later than Thursday, January 15 to mrskristenkeska@gmail.com   Also please provide the names of attendees and indicate if this is their first time attending a County Forum.  The cost for this meeting is $30 for members and $35 for guests.  First timers are free!  You may bring a check with you to the meeting payable to CEA.

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Educators Question Linking Standards and High-Stakes Testing

Here’s an interesting article from the CEA news blog. Note the quotes that open and close the article from our superintendent. View the article in full below…

BLOGCEA

The League of Women Voters of Connecticut hosted a panel to discuss the Common Core Saturday. From left are The League of Women Voters of Connecticut hosted a panel to discuss the Common Core Saturday. From left are Stephen Armstrong, a curriculum specialist at the State Department of Education; Ray Rossomando, CEA research and policy development specialist; Anne Magee Dichele, a professor of education at Quinnipiac University; Thomas Scarice, superintendent of Madison Public Schools; and Nathan Quesnel, superintendent of East Hartford Public schools.

The Common Core standards were the subject of a recent panel organized by the League of Women Voters of Connecticut, but the discussion quickly turned to high-stakes testing. “We’ve wed ourselves to a high-stakes testing model for well over a decade, and it’s shown to corrode education rather than improve it,” said Madison Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice.

Scarice was joined on the panel by Ray Rossomando, CEA research and policy development specialist; Stephen Armstrong, a curriculum specialist at the State Department of Education; Anne Magee…

View original post 872 more words

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News from the State Department of Education’s Talent Office

Here’s the first in a series of newsletters from the SDE designed to provide guidance, information, tools and resources in order to “help all educator to continuously develop their practice and performance.”

TalentOfficeNewsletter_Oct2014

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MEA 2014 Grant Forms…

The Dr. William Brucker Grant Program applications are now available. Click here to download one, and return your completed application to Mary Ellen Babik by May 2.

All dues paying members of the MEA are eligible to apply for one of the $100.00 grants.

These grants can be used at your discretion for enhancing your instruction by:

  • Purchasing books/materials
  • Purchasing equipment
  • Purchasing supplemental materials
  • Anything deemed necessary to enhance your curriculum
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