|There will be a public hearing this week for the Education Committee on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at 12 p.m. in the Legislative Office Building, Room 1E, or over Zoom and YouTube Live. The AGENDA can be found on the website at www.cga.ct.gov.
One of my key pieces of legislation, a bill to protect educators, has been blended into an omnibus education bill: H.B. No. 6884, An Act Concerning the Recruitment, Retention and Enhance of the Teaching Profession. This bill includes pay raises for teachers, diversifying the State Board of Education, and offering more technical training opportunities for students.
Sec. 22 of the bill includes my “Teachers’ Bill of Rights,” which works to ensure that teachers can assign books, hold discussions, and facilitate school clubs and activities free from threats and harassment. Therefore, such harassment of teachers would be raised from a class C misdemeanor to a class B misdemeanor, levying harsher fines and consequences.
Although I am proud to champion this legislation, I’m saddened by the need for it. But the fact is, harassment of teachers is on the rise nationally, and even here in Connecticut. However, for teachers to do their jobs effectively, they need both intellectual freedom and the support of their communities. I see this as a workplace protection bill, in that these certified, dedicated professionals must be given the right they have earned (through both education and experience) to teach in a nuanced way for the betterment of all our students.
Allow me to clarify some confusion: when legislators like me propose a bill idea, it is drafted by non-partisan staff at the Capitol. Bill proposals go through several revisions, and unfortunately, one of these early drafts of my bill was posted online, leading people to interpret my bill as undermining the authority of local Boards of Ed. It does not.
Because this public hearing occurs during midday, when teachers are working, I encourage everyone to support our teachers through written testimony, and if you are able to, register to speak. Public hearings often go into the night, so if you are interested, please sign up!
Text for the full bill can be found here:
- H.B. No. 6884 AN ACT CONCERNING THE RECRUITMENT, RETENTION AND ENHANCEMENT OF THE TEACHING PROFESSION.
Some other bills on the docket that might be of interest to you include:
- S.B. No. 1197 AN ACT CONCERNING WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT.
- S.B. No. 1198 AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE SCHOOL INDOOR AIR QUALITY WORKING GROUP.
If you are interested in testifying on these issues, you can sign up to REGISTER TO SPEAK or SUBMIT WRITTEN TESTIMONY.
Registration to speak will close on Tuesday, March 14, at 3 p.m.