This weekly segment by Democrats for Education Reform CT looks at the top education stories Democrats are watching, providing bite-sized analysis and links to recent articles. On the roster this week: Unpacking CT’s Primaries, PD on Emotional Trauma for CT Teachers, and a Summer Podcast Playlist for DFERs.
Unpacking Last Week’s CT Primaries
As Secretary of State Denise Merrill said would be the case at our virtual forum on Connecticut’s then-impending primaries, last week’s election was historic. It was the first time that voters participated in the Presidential Preference Primary on the same day as state Legislative primaries; and it was also the first time that voters were able to cast absentee ballots by selecting “COVID-19” as a reason for not being able to go to the polls.
We know how important it is for voters to participate in our democracy and choose leaders we can trust to shape critical decisions impacting students and schools. That’s why our affiliate, ERN CT, funded a voter education text message program to remind voters who do not normally participate in the primaries how, when, and where they could cast their ballots. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for lessons learned regarding the impact of our election time investment as we chart these new turnout efforts across the state.
In terms of electoral outcomes, in spite of unusual circumstances for voters, the results were unsurprising. Here are some State Senate highlights:
In the 22nd District (Bridgeport & Trumbull), incumbent Senator Marilyn Moore secured the Democratic nomination—just eleven months after unsuccessfully challenging sitting Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim in the 2019 municipal primary. Ganim had supported Moore’s opponent this year.
In Senate District 17 (Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, and parts of Hamden, Naugatuck and Woodbridge)—one of the only competitive seats that stayed Republican during the Blue Wave of 2018—UFCW organizer Jorge Cabrera was successful in defeating up-and-coming Hamden Legislative Council Member Justin Farmer. Cabrera now faces a rematch with Republican George Logan in November. He lost last time by 77 votes two years ago.
All in all, this primary represented a success for the democratic process, proving that absentee ballots can allow citizens to vote in spite of social distancing needs during the pandemic. CNN Commentator and former Obama Advisor David Axelrod tweeted on Monday that the country should follow CT's lead by putting boxes for absentee ballots in every community. Doing so helped us to avoid hurdles related to the USPS or Tropical Storm Isaias.
PD for Teachers on Emotional Needs of Students
Governor Lamont and Barbara Dalio have announced a new program through the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, which will provide teachers with training to manage the emotional needs of students, especially after the traumas of the pandemic. Former US Secretary of Education John King Jr. moderated a Zoom roundtable unveiling the course on Friday—an event which also featured the Yale Center’s Marc Brackett, Commissioner Cardona, Randi Weingarten, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, Fran Rabinowitz, and others.
Summer Podcast Playlist for DFERs
Headed out of town or sitting on your front porch while social distancing this summer? We have your podcast playlist covered.