State news roundup for January 17, 2015

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Maryland – MSEA launches school funding radio campaign and petition drive

The Maryland State Education Association is launching a radio campaign and petition drive today, calling on the new governor and General Assembly to continue the strong support and forward-thinking investments in public education that have helped make Maryland’s schools and students so successful.

The radio campaign will run for two weeks on Baltimore, Frederick, and Washington area stations. The ad can be listened to by clicking on the audio player below.

“The high quality of Maryland’s public schools is essential to attracting businesses and families to our state,” said MSEA President Betty Weller. “I expect that at least 10,000 Marylanders—if not many more—will sign our petition to urge the new governor and General Assembly to continue the state’s strong support of our students.

Visit MarylandEducators.org to read the complete article, or click here to sign the petition.

West Virginia – We need you in Charleston on Monday morning!

West Virginai Education Association WVEA WV logoWe need you in Charleston on Monday morning! We are committed to working with our senators, delegates and Gov. Tomblin on a multiyear pay bill for teachers and education support professionals this legislative session, and your voice on this issue is incredibly important. Our Competitive Pay Rally begins at 11 a.m. (please arrive at 10:30 a.m.) on the Senate side of the Rotunda on Monday, Jan. 19. We are disappointed that Gov. Tomblin did not address Competitive Pay during his State of the State address on Wednesday, but there have been years where the governor did not lead the effort to get a pay bill passed. Please encourage colleagues, family and friends to join you in Charleston on Monday. Let’s make sure our lawmakers know we are committed to Competitive Pay this year!

Find out more about the event at WVEA.org.

Connecticut – Changes to state laws for English Language Learners on front burner

CT ELL forumEnglish Language Learners (ELLs) are a fast-growing segment of Connecticut’s public school population, yet state laws prevent these students from receiving the instruction and support they need to be successful in their new country. That was the perspective advanced at a forum sponsored by the state’s Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission (LPRAC) held at the State Capitol this week.

LPARC is calling for changes to the state’s laws governing bilingual education and members of the Connecticut General Assembly appear receptive to exploring those changes. Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey plans to convene a task force on ELLs to hear from experts on language acquisition, according to State Representative Juan Candelaria who spoke at the forum.

More than 30,000 public school students in the state are now ELLs, an increase of nearly 50 percent since 2001.

Get the full story at BlogCEA.org.

Washington – Gov. Jay Inslee’s budget falls short, so now is the time to take action!

WA Summit-lobby-group-1-14-15-300x225On Wednesday, WEA members from Puyallup, Bethel and Franklin Pierce traveled to Olympia to lobby for professional educator compensation. Their face-to-face meetings echoed testimony in Senate and House hearings about Gov. Jay Inslee’s budget plan.

The message: Inslee’s budget fails to fund the competitive compensation package needed to recruit and retain qualified educators. In some cases, his proposal makes things worse – no increase in funding for K-12 employees’ health insurance, while providing a nearly $200 per month increase for state employees.

We need to let Inslee and our legislators know that educators deserve parity with state employees.

“The allocation for K-12 health insurance has not increased since 2010-11,” said Shawn Lewis, a WEA lobbyist who testified at a House budget hearing Monday. “Health care costs have increased substantially since then – and employees have shouldered the cost. We request that K-12 employees be provided a health care allocation that is on par with state employees.”

Visit OurVoiceWashingtonEA.org to learn more and find out how you can get involved.

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