Almost 370 people signed up to testify at yesterday’s legislative forum about Governor Lamont’s executive orders, and less than half of the would-be speakers got their three minutes after being picked in “randomized order.”
Kate Dias and Jan Hochadel, the heads of Connecticut two statewide teachers unions, were among the lucky ones—snagging the first two spots at the virtual event. The odds that the pair would land the top spots through an actual randomized selection? About 1 in 68,000.
The informational forum, which lasted six hours, was convened by Representative Jonathan Steinberg and Senator Saud Anwar. Most of the speakers were parents who were specifically critical about the state rule requiring K-12 students to wear masks at school.
It’s not clear who arranged the special treatment for the Connecticut Education Association’s Dias and the American Federation of Teachers-CT’s Hochadel. The two pressed, among other things, for the state to maintain the student-masking rules.
Getting the coveted first two spots is a big deal for people hoping to testify, since they otherwise may have had to wait several hours and been ready to speak with just a few minutes’ notice. And, as was the case on Tuesday, state lawmakers only made it to speaker number 166 before calling it quits.
Public-sector unions are rarely bashful about the amount of the political clout they wield in Hartford. But letting the heads of the teachers unions, which frustrated efforts to reopen schools in fall 2020, jump the queue ahead of the mothers and fathers who were adversely affected by school closures, gave many parents their clearest understanding yet about how education policy gets worked out in Hartford.