CEA sets date for gubernatorial endorsement

WALLINGFORD _ After an arduous process that include candidate questionnaires, a membership forum and a 28-member Political Action Committee, the Connecticut Education Association said it will have an announcement to make Sept 29 on a gubernatorial endorsement.

The 43,000-member teacher’s union, the state’s largest, heard Saturday from Gov. Dannel Malloy, his Republican challenger Tom Foley and Joe Visconti, an independent candidate. It was the union’s first such membership forum, closed to the public, and drew about 400 members, union officials said.

Judging by member live tweets during the session, all three candidates stuck to their messages. Malloy, who angered teachers during a 2012 speech when he said teachers get tenure for just showing up, apologized and said he believed in collective bargaining, due process and the right to organize, according to teachers tweeting from the forum. He also wants the next education commissioner to be a good listener, strong collaborator and understand not all districts are the same. Foley, according to teacher tweets, referred to education as a “quality product” described a money-follows-the-child plan for state education funding that provided different amounts for high achieving and expensive to educate students.

Visconti told teachers you can’t run a state the way you run a business and told CEA members he realizes he probably won’t get its support but hopes it heard some new ideas.

At Saturday’s session, a straw poll was taken. The results goes to th CEA-PAC on Wednesday. The committee will vote on a recommendation to the CEA board of direction who will vote on an endorsement.

Already, the AFT-CT, the state’s other teacher’s union, has endorsed Malloy.

Linda Lambeck