State news roundup for March 1, 2014

Connecticut – CEA unveils sculpture honoring Sandy Hook victims

Sandy Hook memorial 2
From left, sculptor Marilyn Parkinson Thrall, administrative assistant to the CEA vice president Mary Pat Soucy, CEA President Sheila Cohen, and CEA Vice President Jeff Leake, stand beside the newly unveiled Sandy Hook memorial.

“It’s outstanding and emotional.” Those were the words of CEA Vice President Jeff Leake today as he formally accepted and displayed for the first time [ed note: pictured above and at left], a bronze sculpture from Connecticut artist Marilyn Parkinson Thrall, memorializing the heroism and sacrifice that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

During a brief ceremony on the first floor lobby at CEA headquarters in Hartford, Leake said the sculpture, which depicts a teacher reading to a group of young children, epitomizes the secure trusting environment in our public schools. “Marilyn did a terrific job with the sculpture. She passionately captured her vision to depict the simple joy of learning, the enthusiasm of sharing, and the innocence of youth,” he said.

Thrall said it was a thrill to see the entire sculpture together on display and to watch the reactions of people viewing it. “It conveys the important feelings relayed between students and teachers that are so important, and so special. We have to always strive to keep those feelings,” she said.

Leake thanked everyone for their support during one of the darkest days in education, and for helping the education community move forward from the tragedy, and create this lasting tribute to the 26 educators and students killed on December 14, 2012.


Washington – WEA outlines teacher evaluation principles

Washington WEA our voice logoTeachers and other members of the Washington Education Association appreciate Gov. Jay Inslee’s leadership on the No Child Left Behind (ESEA) waiver / teacher evaluation issue, particularly his advocacy in both Washington, DC and Olympia.

WEA’s opposition to mandating the use of state test scores in teacher evaluations is based on our core principles and has not changed. We acknowledge Gov. Inslee’s current teacher evaluation proposal represents progress and is dramatically better than previous proposals from Sen. Steve Litzow and Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn. We support Gov. Inslee’s proposal to delay any changes in teacher evaluations until 2017-2018. We also agree the proposed teacher evaluation bill should be null and void if the federal government fails to extend Washington’s waiver from outdated and unrealistic No Child Left Behind requirements. We appreciate Gov. Inslee’s support for maintaining local decision making and collective bargaining.

WEA members believe the top-down, unproven approach to teacher evaluations promoted by Sen. Litzow, Supt. Dorn and US Education Secretary Arne Duncan is driven by political considerations rather than what research shows – and teachers know – will benefit students and teachers. We urge Duncan, Dorn and Litzow to follow the example of Gov. Inslee and local school administrators and work collaboratively with teachers. Discounting, ignoring and/or criticizing the legitimate concerns of professional educators are not the way to successfully implement sound education policy.

Find out more about the principles at and click here to sign the petition.

Ohio – Governor Kasich needs to invest more in public education

By Becky Higgins, OEA President

Kasich ed funding memeGovernor John Kasich’s State of the State address was full of lofty rhetoric, but was short on substance. On several occasions, the Governor said that more details would be forthcoming.Here are a couple of things we’d like to see the Governor address:How does he plan to adequately fund Ohio’s public schools? Why does the state continue to direct millions of dollars to failing for-profit charter schools?

The economic security of our state and all of its citizens begins with our success in educating every child. We are all accountable for this success. But only our governor and state lawmakers can provide the funding and programs needed for our students to thrive.

Their failure to do so has jeopardized the education of Ohio’s children—the very cornerstone of our collective future.

In his first biennial budget, Governor Kasich cut funding to education by $1.8 billion over the previous two-year period. In his second budget passed last June, school districts received $515 million less than they received in the last year of the Strickland administration.

Get the full story at

New Jersey – NJEA welcomes Hespe nomination

David Hespe
David Hespe

We congratulate David Hespe on his nomination, and we look forward to working with him to find smart, creative, research-based approaches to helping New Jersey’s public schools thrive.

NJEA has called for a fresh start and a new approach from the Department of Education, and we believe that Mr. Hespe will deliver that.

His considerable experience as a commissioner, as a superintendent, and in education policy will be a strong asset, and give him a clear perspective of the challenges facing New Jersey’s students, teachers, and administrators.

Mr. Hespe has a good reputation in the education community and a demonstrated ability to build consensus around challenging issues. We have worked well with him in the past and look forward to doing so again. We enjoyed a strong, positive working relationship with him when he served previously in this role, and he was always accessible and open to our ideas and approaches. We anticipate that he will listen to the legitimate concerns of career educators and value their experiences.

Read more about the nomination at

2 responses to “State news roundup for March 1, 2014

  1. Sorry about the typos. The very first word of this comment should read “shame” instead of same. In the fourth sentence made and effort should read “made an effort”. Next error is their needs and rights “deserve” not desire though the latter may work with a slight stretch of the imagination… I hope my intent is clearer than my typing!!

  2. Same on these blind officials. I am ashamed that such things can and still do happen in such a “privileged” country. I have served as a teacher in one of the poorest countries in the world (Togo in west Africa), but even there upholding our educational and behavioral standards was of top priority. Is it that money truly does talk louder than actions in a case such as these brave Ohio teachers have repeatedly and valiantly made and effort to open for discussion? What about the possibly irreparible damage done to the students in such an irresponsible educational setting? Don’t their needs and rights desire the full attention of those who claim to be providing a safe and sane educational environment/milieu in which they are expected to survive on a day-to-day basis? Please address these serious issues with the intelligence and sincerity that might be exercised if it were your own children’s development, etc. at stake…in fact, it may be…as has often been said in many different contexts, are you sure you know what your children are doing right now??? They deserve our vigilance just as we benefited from that of our parents and predecessors!!!!

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