CEA intervention helps ensure JROTC certification and retirement benefits

Connecticut’s Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) instructors received some good news recently from the State Department of Education (SDE), regarding their certification and participation in the Teachers Retirement Board (TRB) system. The Bureau of Educator Standards and Certification advised JROTC instructors that they would be issued a specific JROTC certificate that allows them to participate in the TRB system, maintain their certification, and continue to teach the JROTC program as designed by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). A law passed last session had the unintended consequence of putting JROTC instructors’ jobs and benefits at risk.

William Webber, a JROTC instructor at West Hill High School in Stamford, says the good thing is that he and the other JROTC teachers have jobs. “With recent legislation left unchanged, we would have been excluded from teaching, our pensions, legal protection, insurance and other benefits,” says Webber, a retired U.S. Army Major. “And the students wouldn’t get credit for taking our courses—credit that many of them need to graduate.”

“We are delighted that this issue has been resolved.  I am grateful to CEA because without the association’s intervention, this would not have happened,” says Valerie Lofland, a JROTC instructor at Naugatuck High School. Lofland, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, says remaining in the TRB system is critical. “As teachers in Connecticut, we deserve to be part of the TRB, and it gives us flexibility to do our jobs and continue teaching the academic and leadership skills to high school students.”

CEA Director of Policy and Professional Practice Linette Branham helped facilitate an agreement that helped the teachers. “It was a long four weeks, but well worth the effort,” says Branham. “Our JROTC teachers are now protected in their positions, and the students will continue to receive a quality program for which they receive course credit.”

Webber and Lofland are among 26 JROTC teachers in 13 Connecticut high schools who are CEA members. The JROTC programs are designed by the U.S. Department of Defense, which provides instructors and funding directly to the programs, to advance both academic content and leadership skills.

The JROTC teachers who currently hold either 098 or 110 certificates must complete an application and return those along with their military JROTC certificate. The state will then issue them a 210 or 310 JROTC certificate.

The DOD provides instructors and monetary support for the program, paying half of the teachers’ salaries; designing the curriculum, which aligns with national standards; and providing materials and uniforms for the JROTC programs.