Our Issues: Where Elected Officials Stand – Joe Courtney
U.S. Representative Joe Courtney believes the future of our nation and economy depends on investing now in the education and skills of our children. He is convinced this is how we prepare our kids to compete for the jobs of tomorrow.
In August, Congressman Courtney proved his commitment to children and education isn’t just talk. He voted to approve funding to prevent hundreds of thousands of education-related layoffs that would have hurt kids nationwide. Courtney’s state, Connecticut, was projected to lose 700 educators. Without this money, public school students in Connecticut and nationwide would have been forced into larger class sizes and shorter school weeks and faced the elimination of subjects such as art, music, and foreign languages.
Courtney, who is currently serving his second term representing Connecticut’s Second Congressional District, is also a leading advocate in the House for special education funding, improving school nutrition programs and a key sponsor of the ‘Troops to Teachers‘ program. Troops to Teachers provides retiring veterans with stipends to cover the cost of earning a teaching certificate in exchange for three years service in a high-need school.
‘Troops to Teachers has proven very effective in transitioning qualified personnel into second careers in teaching,’ said Courtney. ‘Participants fill several critical needs among educators: 80 percent are male, over one-third are ethnic minorities, and a majority bring an expertise in science and math to the classroom.’
When Congress was struggling to pass health care reform, Courtney successfully led the fight to protect employee health plans from an excise tax that would have forced workers to pay in the form of reduced wages, higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and lower benefits.
‘I believe the most troublesome component of the Senate bill remains the 40 percent excise tax on high-cost health care premiums,’ said Courtney, just before the House and Senate worked out their differences and approved health care reform. ‘Some have called this a tax on ‘˜Cadillac’ health plans, but expert analysis has demonstrated that in its present form it will place a new burden on older workers and those in high-medical cost states like Connecticut.’
When Congress begins debate on the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, you can expect Courtney to be a key player especially when it comes to issues like teacher evaluations. Courtney is a strong advocate for evaluations that inform teaching and effectively help improve student learning. He understands that educators want to help students succeed and close student achievement gaps and that collective bargaining rights help ensure that teachers have a voice in transforming our public schools.
Contact Congressman Courtney and encourage him to continue to stand up for children, educators, and our public schools as Congress begins debate on No Child Left Behind. Also, stay tuned to Education Votes to get the latest information and how you can get involved to make sure this law works for students, educators and our public schools.
Part three in the series, "Can Educators Save the Middle Class" focuses on educators as effective messengers to policy makers and elected officials. Read More
Maryland teacher and National Education Association (NEA) member Michelle Shearer was named the 2011 National Teacher of the Year. Read More