October 29, 2020

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Survey shows funding issues put classroom safety in jeopardy, widen achievement gap | News

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – The largest teachers union in Connecticut said the COVID-19 pandemic threatens...

HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – The largest teachers union in Connecticut said the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to widen the gap between the state’s highest and lowest performing school districts.

The Connecticut Education Association released the results of a survey at 6 a.m. on Tuesday.

It revealed how most Connecticut teachers said dozens of districts are facing a crisis. They claim educators don’t have the funding, personal protective equipment supply, or safety resources they need to keep students safe.

The CEA asked 2,000 educators about the challenges they face every day trying to help students learn and stay safe during a pandemic. Some of their opinions were startling, particularly in the state’s alliance districts, which are the 33 worst-performing districts in Connecticut.

According to the survey 78 percent of teachers in those districts said their buildings and classrooms are not properly ventilated, and less than half, 49 percent of alliance district educators, said their classrooms are cleaned and disinfected every day. Perhaps most frighteningly, 61 percent of alliance district educators felt there were no effective strategies being implemented to engage students who were absent or disengaged. Also, 48 percent of teachers in alliance districts said they are not provided with adequate PPE. That number is just 38 percent in higher performing districts.

Also troubling according to the report, a lack of technology.

More than half of teachers said they are not receiving the services and supplies they need for distance learning; and, more than a quarter said their students don’t even have the computer devices they need.

Perhaps the most surprising is that more than a third of teachers said their students don’t have internet access.

In a written statement, CEA president Jeff Leake said the state must give teachers the tools they need to protect themselves and their students.

He wrote “These issues are most severe in our lowest-performing school districts. We must demand changes in policies, programs, and practices that condone or ignore unequal justice and hinder student success.”

Read the results of the entire survey here.

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