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: Connecticut’s municipal elections, vaccinations in schools, and national Teacher Appreciation Week.
CT’s Municipal Elections
In Connecticut, a handful of towns hold their elections in May, rather than November. Voters from these towns hit the polls on Monday. In case you missed the coverage, we’ve unpacked the outcomes and what they mean in our playbook.
Vetting Vaccination Policies?
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say herd immunity is reached at 95%--a high enough vaccination rate to protect unvaccinated children--some families are excused from immunizing their children due either to medical or religious exemptions. Last week, the Connecticut Department of Public Health released 2017-18 data concerning immunization exemption rates by school. Over 100 schools had so many exemptions that they failed to meet the CDC’s threshold for herd immunity. In the wake of a national measles outbreak, House Majority Leader Matt Ritter requested a formal opinion regarding the constitutionality of eliminating the religious exemption for immunization requirements in school. On Friday, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong issued that opinion, suggesting that lawmakers can get rid of the exemption.
Teacher Appreciation Week
Don’t forget that it’s National Teacher Appreciation Week, a time to honor teachers and recognize their lasting contributions in our students’ lives! DFER National President Shavar Jeffries issued a statement calling for us all to “show our gratitude by celebrating those teachers who’ve made such an impact on our lives not only this Teacher Appreciation Week, but every day.” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos marked the occasion by releasing a social media video thanking teachers, but she also (unironically) called for teachers to save strikes for “adult time” this week.