Teacher Courtney Haskell prepares for the upcoming school year in 2021. Different from 2020-21, students in her class will be allowed to share books in the bookshelf in the classroom. Yehyun Kim / ctmirror.org

Hundreds of residents testified at an Education Committee public hearing Wednesday afternoon.

The public hearing covered 11 bills, including House Bill 6884, a 31-page bill dealing with the “recruitment, retention and enhancement of the teaching profession.” Over 200 written testimonies from teachers across the state supported the proposed legislation.

“It is no secret that increasing numbers of students and decreasing numbers of teachers are harming our school systems, and the futures of our students. Overcrowding in classrooms can really only be fixed by one thing, and that thing is the hiring of new, passionate and qualified educators,” Alyssa Domini, an educator from Stamford, wrote. “So hire more teachers. Sounds easy enough, right? But of course it’s not because [of] the salaries that are offered now and the conditions that we work in.”

Domini continued by explaining that her stress from work won’t “vanish,” with a salary increase, however it’ll change her quality of life.

“I would be able to quit at least one of my four jobs if my salary went up, and therefore decrease my stress levels outside of school, and actually free up some of my time for much needed self-care,” Domini said. “Meaningful self-care for myself means that I will have more to pour into my students from my own cup, if I am well rested and ready to go at the start of every school day, rather than tired and burnt out from working so much after school.”

Other legislation, that received a substantial number of public testimony, focused on the education of children with special needs, including:

  • House Bill 6881, An act concerning various revisions to the education statutes related to educator compensation and paraeducators;
  • Senate Bill 1200, An act concerning special education.

Jessika Harkay is CT Mirror’s Education Reporter, covering the K-12 achievement gap, education funding, curriculum, mental health, school safety, inequity and other education topics. Jessika's experience includes roles as a breaking news reporter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Hartford Courant. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Baylor University.