State News Roundup for June 9, 2012


Connecticut – CEA, parents, and educators speak out about teacher evaluation
CEA Executive Director Mary Loftus Levine, parents, and teachers told members of the State Board of Education today that they are concerned about the potential overreliance on standardized test scores in teacher evaluations.

“Teachers are very concerned about the direction and process that appears to be evolving on the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC), and we would like the Board to consider our concerns before adopting evaluation guidelines and piloting them,” said Loftus Levine. Read her testimony here.

In the teacher evaluation framework agreed to by PEAC, 45% of a teacher’s evaluation would be made up of multiple indicators of student academic growth and development. CEA and other groups shared an understanding that half of that, 22.5%, would include standardized test scores and the “other” 22.5% would not include standardized test scores.

At a meeting May 31, PEAC decided the following, against CEA’s strong objections and opposition. While 22.5% of a teacher’s evaluation will be based on state standardized tests (CMT and CAPT) – or other standardized tests for non-tested subjects and grades – the “other” 22.5% was (and still is) in dispute. CEA believes this “other” 22.5% should include non-standardized multiple indicators of student academic growth. For the “other” 22.5% the council decided to allow one standardized test and a minimum of one other indicator, with mutual consent between the teacher and evaluator, subject to a dispute resolution mechanism. Teachers and evaluators will meet to establish student learning objectives within the “other” 22.5%, according to the PEAC decision.

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New Jersey – NJEA testifies on public charter school proposals

Lobbyist Sean Hadley testified on behalf of NJEA

NJEA testified before the State Board of Education on Wednesday, June 6 regarding harmful proposed changes in how public charter schools operate in New Jersey.  NJEA continues to support strong, accountable public charter schools which work alongside traditional public schools to provide a great public education for New Jersey’s students.  However, as recent charter school proposals make clear, the Christie administration is attempting to move New Jersey’s public charter schools away from real accountability to the communities in which they operate and to give outside, for-profit charter school management companies much greater power.

NJEA was joined in opposition to the proposed changes by the New Jersey School Boards Association, the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association and more than three dozen school officials, teachers, parents and education advocates.

Under the administration’s plan to take decision-making power away from local communities and give it to the Governor’s political appointees, charter school operators would no longer need to have any connection at all to the communities and the public school systems in which they operate.   Existing charter schools, at the direction of the Commissioner of Education, could open satellite campuses in other districts across the state, regardless of whether the operators of the charter have any connection to or experience in those communities.  No one in the affected communities would have any say over whether such charter schools were necessary or appropriate.

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Illinois – Intense IEA and coalition lobbying stops unfair TRS, SURS pension cuts

Last week the Illinois General Assembly adjourned without enacting the harmful and unconstitutional pension reforms (SB 1673) that had threatened all participants in the state Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) and State Universities Retirement System (SURS).

Without question, the intense and unprecedented lobbying efforts of the IEA and its “We Are One” coalition partners were instrumental in stopping the unfair legislation.

  • IEA lobbyists, elected officers and members worked tirelessly at the State Capitol and urged legislators to oppose unconstitutional changes that would hurt actively employed IEA members as well as those already retired.
  • In May alone, We Are One coalition members and supporters placed over 80,000 phone calls in opposition to unfair pension cuts to legislators through the coalition phone bank.  Over 60,000 calls were placed just during the last seven days of the session (May 25-31).
  • IEA members and supporters sent over 95,000 emails to legislators through the IEA website in May.  The messages urged legislators to stop the fast-track legislation and work cooperatively with the union stakeholders to find acceptable pension solutions.
  • Retired IEA members on Tuesday (May 29) delivered a petition to the governor that contained over 33,000 signatures in opposition to unfair pension legislation.
  • The IEA website handled over 70,000 views just last week from those who sought timely information about the pension fight.

Visit to find out more.

Massachusetts – Statement by MTA President Paul Toner on proposed legislative alternative

The MTA announced on June 7 that an agreement has been reached between the MTA and Stand for Children on a legislative alternative to Stand’s ballot initiative.

The following is a statement by MTA President Paul Toner:

The Massachusetts Teachers Association has been advocating for quality education and high professional standards since its establishment in 1845. We remain fully committed to these goals, and we are determined to continue helping every student succeed.

No teacher or union leader wants anything but qualified and excellent instructors in our classrooms. Indeed, the hard work and input of unionized educators have been key to making our schools number one in the nation by many measures.

We have been working hard to keep the Stand for Children proposal off the November ballot because it is a long and complex initiative that contains 31 distinct proposals, many of which we believe are harmful and would detract from our efforts to support teacher quality and the success of Massachusetts students.

Today we are announcing that the MTA and Stand have developed a legislative alternative that will be productive for the Commonwealth and will protect teachers’ voices in education decisions at the local level. If enacted, this alternative will achieve our goal of keeping the petition from the ballot. We call on legislators to adopt it and ensure that adequate resources are provided to help it succeed.


Our Board of Directors and delegates to the MTA Annual Meeting approved meetings between the MTA leadership and Stand earlier this year to see if we could find sufficient common ground to keep the initiative off the ballot. Under the alternative reached last week, we have reduced the number of provisions from 31 to two: one concerning the role of performance evaluations and seniority in layoffs and other personnel decisions and the other providing for discussions between the superintendent and the principal when teachers are being reassigned from one school to another. These provisions have been significantly improved from the language contained in the original initiative so that they respect both experience and teacher performance.

In addition, we have agreed that these changes will be delayed until 2016-17 in order to give districts sufficient time to implement the new evaluation system and train all evaluators and all teachers.

Read the complete statement at

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