Conn. Republican lawmakers cry foul

Connecticut's three Republican House members last week protested that the state's chapter of the National Education Association (NEA) has opted not to release their annual voting grades.

Reps. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.), Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) and Rob Simmons (R-Conn.) sent a joint letter last week to Rosemary Coyle, the president of the Connecticut Education Association (CEA), protesting the group's decision.

The union's grades are based on each member's support on key votes and other, more subjective criteria. This is the first year the group has released grades; in previous years, the group released the percentage of votes in which each member supported key legislation.

"As elected officials with strong pro-education records, we believe the people of Connecticut have the right to know how their federal representatives voted on issues important to students, schools and educators," the three members wrote.

"We don't intend to release the grades," said John Yrchik, the executive director of the CEA. "Our position is in keeping with the bottom-up nature of the political endorsement process in the NEA" political action committee.

The NEA contributes mostly to Democrats.