Report Cards for Legislative Candidates Help Guide Educators' Decisions in the Voting Booth
CEA Report Card measures overall support for public education; honor roll recognizes education champions
September 28, 2018
The Connecticut Education Association today released its first-ever Legislator Report Card that evaluates legislative candidates' overall support for issues important to students, teachers, and public education. CEA's new report card recognizes legislators who are committed to giving students more opportunities for success and are working hard to improve public education and the teaching profession in Connecticut.
The report card evaluates legislators' voting records, as well as their advocacy and efforts to advance CEA priorities over the past two-year legislative cycle. These priorities include funding public education, preserving collective bargaining, enhancing the teaching profession, protecting the pension system, keeping schools safe, upholding teacher certification standards, and supporting sound education policy.
"Unfortunately, when it comes to public education and teachers' rights, many legislators took actions in the wrong direction and earned less-than-stellar grades," said CEA President Jeff Leake. "This new report card system is transparent and holds candidates accountable. It informs our members of the candidates' positions on key issues and highlights those who want to help our students and teachers, and those who are doing harm to them."
"In the aftermath of teacher demonstrations across the country, there has been a renewed interest in the political process and its direct effect on public education, students, and teachers," said CEA Executive Director Donald Williams. "Our members are becoming more active—they are using their voice and their vote to make sure the concerns of teachers and students are heard."
The candidates for all 187 Connecticut General Assembly seats as well as legislators running for another office, receive a grade based on a number of factors. For incumbents seeking reelection, the report card is based on the following:
Voting record on bills that advance or hurt CEA education priorities, and support for students, local schools, and teacher rights
Co-sponsorship of bills critical to advancing CEA's identified legislative priorities
Advocacy on behalf of or against CEA positions in public hearings, on the chamber floor, in the press, and among peers in the legislative environment
Responsiveness to requests to meet with CEA members and staff
For all candidates, including those without a state legislative history, answers to candidate questionnaires and interview results were included in the report card.
Additionally, significant emphasis is placed on a candidate's actions involving the rights of teachers to have a voice in the education of their students, the working and learning conditions of their school, and the ability to bargain for fair wages and benefits.
CEA Honor Roll
Just like in our public schools, those with the highest report card grades are placed on the honor roll. The CEA Honor Roll recognizes the candidates with the top scores, who have shown their commitment and support of public education and the rights of teachers.
"The report card featuring the honor roll is a clear system that helps inform educators of candidates' positions on issues that are important to them. Those placed on the honor roll have proven themselves to be champions of students, teachers, and public education and have been accessible and available to educators," said Leake.
CEA plans to continue to utilize and promote the report card system in the years ahead.
"We believe it is important to hold lawmakers accountable at a time when the rights of both public and private-sector employees and their right to bargain collectively are under severe attack. This report card system is a guide to better inform educators, parents, and community members of the candidates who will do what is right for our students and our schools—and help get them elected on November 6," added Leake.
To view the complete report card and see the candidates' positions on specific issues, visit cea.org/reportcard.
The Connecticut Education Association is Connecticut's largest teachers' union, representing active and retired educators across the state.