Education Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-963

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING A LABOR AND FREE MARKET CAPITALISM CURRICULUM.

Vote Date:

3/11/2015

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

2/25/2015

File No.:

298

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Sen. Martin M. Looney, 11th District

Education Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

The proposed bill requires the State Department of Education to offer, within available appropriations and existing resources curriculum materials on the history of labor and the law; including organized labor, collective bargaining, legal protections in the workplace, the history and economics of free market capitalism, and the role of labor and capitalism in the development of the American and World economies.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

None Submitted

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Senator Martin M. Looney: Senator Looney testified in support of the bill citing the value of the labor movement and its contribution to improving the quality of life in society. Currently school curriculum does not include teaching the history of the labor movement. Senator Looney continued that in the current political environment where the right to collectively bargain is being challenged, the importance of younger generations learning and understanding the history of that right becomes paramount.

Lori Pelletier, Executive Secretary Treasurer, Connecticut AFL-CIO: Ms. Pelletier testified that the AFL-CIO supports the legislation because it will be, “a starting point enabling students an opportunity to be informed about the structure of workforce/workplace processes and the roles workers have had and continue to have in creating history.” The AFL-CIO noted that when students finish their education they transition into the workforce. This legislation will educate students as to why the workplace conditions they have exist and help make informed decisions about labor opportunities available to them.

Cindy Dubuque, Executive Director, Foundation for Fair Contracting of Connecticut: The “FFC” supports the legislation testifying that the, “history of the United States has been shaped by oppression and those seeking to overcome that oppression.” Including labor history in school curriculum makes sense because it is, “integral to society that we live in today.” The FFC emphasized that one cannot teach the history of the growth of capitalism without including its relationship to the labor movement.

Ray Rossomando, Research and Policy Development Specialist, Connecticut Education Association: The CEA supports the proposed bill because the curriculum will help teachers better discuss critical economic issues, income inequality, entrepreneurialism, job creation, and legal protections in the workplace. The CEA sees these as vital topics of civic discourse that will be important to discuss in the classroom.

Steve McKeever, First Vice President, AFT Connecticut AFL-CIO: Mr. McKeever testified in favor of the proposed bill because as we teach our children how our society progressed from agrarian to industrial, but our textbooks focus on industry and its role in the economy while limiting discussion on workers who would become the core of the middle class.

Win Heimer, Executive Vice President, Connecticut Alliance for Retired Americans: Mr. Heimer testified in favor of the proposed bill because students should learn the role of labor and capitalism in the development of the American and World economies; the history of and economics of free market capitalism and entrepreneurialism.

Ed Leavy, SVFT Executive Union Representative, State Vocational Federation of Teachers: Mr. Leavy testified in favor of the proposed bill citing that teachers who want to provide a, “balanced view of the economic history of our country” the curriculum and guidelines. Mr. Leavy continued that current textbooks focus heavily on turn of the 20th century “captains of industry” while putting a more negative spin on the labor movement.

Jeremy Zeedyk, Business Representative, Sheet Metal Air Rail and Transportation International Union, Local 40: Mr. Zeedyk testified in support of the proposed bill because they believe that students in Connecticut schools should have the opportunity to learn about the history of labor and that teachers should have the ability to incorporate this material into their classrooms.

Steve Kass, Vice President, Greater New Haven Labor History Association: Mr. Kass supports the bill because in Connecticut's own history, labor unions have been part of our state's historical heritage with many Connecticut families owing to a labor tradition. Mr. Kass continued that the cost to school districts will be minimal and local school boards can decide how they want to teach labor history with choices available from existing curriculum.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Connecticut Association of Boards of Education: CABE opposes the proposed bill because they feel it is unnecessary to, “impose another specific subject area in the curriculum resources that they are to develop and make available to school districts.”

Reported by: Joshua Flores, Assistant Clerk

Date: 4/7/2015