We still need to give more value to education – HB 5002 pass

Goff Justice announces a $20 million expansion of nursing education programs

To the editor:

I’ve spent much of the past year fighting for education funding in Connecticut. I was feeling overwhelmed as a teacher, and I hoped that eventually Connecticut legislators would fully fund education. Unfortunately, the bill did not pass, and the need for funding is now more pressing than ever. This year, it is imperative that we get through HB5003 Education is fully funded in every school in Connecticut.

By entering the Hartford School, it soon becomes apparent how underfunded our schools really are. Similar to last year, classes remain crowded, student-staff ratios remain unbalanced, and most faculty and staff are still trying to get through the day with ever-increasing workloads.

While there have been some improvements in staffing and program implementation, we now live with growing anxiety as we see the expiration of ESSER funds approach. We continue to be understaffed, and for every teacher who eventually chooses to leave the district, the amount of work required in the district does not change. This places more responsibility on the shoulders of the teachers at the school, and this problem simply cannot be resolved without additional funding.

Similar to last year, along with my usual teaching workload, my work days are filled with extra preparation and planning to make up for staffing shortages, especially at our middle school. The domino effect of additional responsibilities and time due to a lack of suitable staff has a negative impact on our students. I still don’t spend enough planning time thinking About participating in the lesson plans for my students. Many classes are broken up, almost every day, due to a lack of substitute teachers and a lack of adequate coverage. The teachers still go out of their way to try to do everything we can to give our students positive experiences. But we need additional staff support, and we need financing to make that happen.

This year, other teachers and I are still struggling with the ability to provide individualized attention to our students. While this is a vital part of teaching and building successful trusting relationships with students, there is not enough time or resources to discuss helpful feedback with every student. Without personal feedback from teachers, students cannot develop and improve their skills in the classroom.

In the past year we have made some positive progress in passing children’s mental health bills to help try to correct this problem, but unfortunately additional support staff are needed to implement these programs that would give students this essential one-on-one attention. Adequate funding is required to provide this additional support staff.

Like many districts, even with current assistance from ESSER funds and the ability to implement mental health programs to improve our students’ experiences, our district will not hire new staff or implement new programs for fear that it will not be sustainable once federal dollars run out, and there is no plan in place to supplement this funding. .

None of the required improvements in our schools can be successfully carried out without the necessary staff, and unfortunately not much has changed regarding these issues since last school year. There are many different factors within the classroom, and the only way we are going to be able to improve or fix the problems within our schools is by investing in human capital. We need quality teachers and support staff to help keep teachers’ workloads manageable. Every child needs support, and that support looks different for every student. We need staff who can provide this support across the board – more teachers, social workers, classroom aids and so on. The success of our students depends on it.

Connecticut HB 5003 will require the state to accelerate the ECS phase and fully fund education by the time federal dollars run out, giving our schools the opportunity to provide the necessary resources for our students, while easing the burden that still falls on the shoulders of our educators like myself. We’ve waited long enough, and we have no time left to procrastinate about the basic need for equitable school funding. Our teachers matter. Our students matter. No matter their zip code, every child’s education is important.

Join me in calling for fair funding for the school and supporting the passage of HB 5003.

Fred Thornley III is a teacher at Noah Webster Middle School in Hartford