State news roundup for August 31, 2013


Montana – Make Montana proud: Gov. Bullock’s back to school message to kids

Governor Steve Bullock encourages students to “Make Montana Proud” with a video and new online website with resources for students, parents and teachers.

In the video, which was sent to all schools in Montana, Bullock encourages students to work hard and thanks teachers for their commitment and dedication.

Read the complete article at

New Jersey – NJEA calls for minimum wage increase

Blistan_PressConfSMNJEA Secretary-Treasurer Marie Blistan joined gubernatorial candidate Senator Barbara Buono and other women’s rights advocates in calling for an increase in the state’s minimum wage at a press conference at the New Jersey State House Monday, Aug. 26. Raising New Jersey’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 per hour with an annual cost of living adjustment would advance the cause of women’s equality in New Jersey and help the state’s economy.

The press conference—hosted by The Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc.— took place on Women’s Equality Day, which is the day that women won their right to vote with the final ratification of the 19th Amendment. Blistan was among a dozen speakers in attendance who called for a support of a state constitutional amendment on raising the minimum wage.

“For our state, raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 per hour with an annual cost of living adjustment will help us address rising poverty and generate nearly $175 million in economic activity over the next year which has the potential to ALSO create hundreds—if not thousands—of full time jobs,” noted Blistan. “The members of the New Jersey Education Association understand the value of addressing poverty and creating jobs—countless studies have shown there is a direct effect on student achievement. Parents who are struggling to make ends meet have to make difficult choices every single day—they worry about how to feed their families, paying for the rising costs of living expenses, and just maintaining a quality of life in general.”

Blistan pointed out that the percentage of students on free and reduced lunch continues to rise—in the 2012-2013 school year, nearly 40 percent of school children received free or reduced lunch, which indicates their parents are making below a living wage.

Find out more about the fight to increase the minimum wage at

Florida – Education accountability summit day two

The team work continues on the final day of the Education Accountability Summit in Clearwater. Today, the group will create a revised global model for teacher evaluation and school grades. Yesterday, the group broke into teams to create a vision statement for school grades. Interim Commissioner Pam Stewart told them they’re making great progress, but some participants still question whether the group has properly identified the challenges and issues teachers and ESPs face daily.

FEA VP Joanne McCall talks with the participants to see whether the group is moving in the right direction.

Visit to find out more about the summit.

Connecticut – It’s back to school for Connecticut

CEA Connecticut LogoNew students to get to know, new colleagues to share with, and new opportunities to inspire — the first day of school is an exciting time for educators across Connecticut who are welcoming students back to the classroom this week and next.

In Marlborough yesterday, teachers were putting the finishing touches on their classrooms and meeting with colleagues to prepare for the year ahead.

The teachers at Elmer Thienes-Mary Hall Elementary School also hosted a meet and greet for new students — and any returning students who just couldn’t wait two more days to see their teachers.

Karen Brophy brought her son Maxwell [ed note: pictured at top of page] in to meet his kindergarten teacher, Sandra Sack. “He’s a little tentative about starting school, so it’s great that he gets the chance to meet his teacher today. My older son had Mrs. Sack, so I know he’ll be in awesome hands,” Brophy said.

Watch a slideshow of images and find out more at

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