Governor Dannel Malloy’s education reform package, SB 24, has a Wednesday deadline to be taken up by the legislature’s education committee and reports coming from union members suggest that the leadership of Connecticut Education Association is clamping down on member’s voicing opinions that differ from the ‘party line’.
“We are not happy when you publicly disagree with us,” states the email from CEA President Phil Apruzzese and Executive Director Mary Loftus Levine. The American Federation of Teachers “is playing you off against us, to get a deal. NO deal is always better than a bad one.”
Representatives from the Governor’s office have been meeting with legislators and union leaders all week trying to reach a compromise agreement that would move the legislation forward. The CEA is forcing a stalemate by refusing to make a compromise.
Additional emails leaked over the weekend reveal a dramatic difference in perspective between the unions and opposing education reform groups. While Malloy and parent and business groups supporting him talk about children not learning to read and abysmal graduation rates in the state’s cities, the email memos suggest that the unions are more worried with contract language, grievances and collective bargaining issues.
There are worries now that the union is too concerned with negotiating contract terms for its members without enough thought of the children they are supposed to be educating.
No deal isn’t better. Every year that Connecticut wastes, thousands of children don’t learn to read, fail to graduate and add to the growing achievement gap that is the largest in the land.
Public school teachers ought to remind their legislators, the governor — and union leaders — of this before it’s too late.
Levine later claimed the email was directed at one particular employee and not CEA members in general.