LAE lobbyist Shane Riddle informed me this morning that HB 974 and HB 976 are scheduled for consideration on the House Floor starting at 9:00 a. m. Thursday, March 22. The debate could be extensive.
LAE has created a wonderful contact system for the House members called the "White Slip Protest". It is modeled after Sharyn Hebert's Red Card Initiative. But this is kicked up a notch! Just click on this link to the LAE website and you will be guided into sending a message directly to your Representative that he cannot ignore! Why not get a group of teachers together at your school and make sure everyone gets their White Slip in to the Legislature today?
In addition please make phone calls as described below:
The following are my suggestions for reaching your Representative in the next 2 days. You may telephone your Representative at the capitol at 225-342-6945. They are expected to be in committee meetings during most of the day Tuesday and Wednesday, so try leaving a message asking your Rep. to return your call. Both of those days, the House floor will be in session starting at 4:00 p. m. Your best chance of reaching them would be from 4:00 p. m. on. If you have your Rep's cell number this is the best way to reach him/her. On Thursday, while they are debating, you can call them at the above number any time during the day. If you can't get through, ask the clerk to take your message to the Representative.
Let me tell you what to expect in a conversation with your Rep. if he/she is looking for an excuse to vote with the Governor. Many legislators will tell teachers that they have studied the bills carefully and they are convinced that no "good teachers" will be harmed. Also they will say that the voucher and charter impact will be minimal and will probably not affect the schools in your area. In any case, the legislator will tell you he intends to monitor the law carefully to make sure none of "his people" are hurt. All of the preceding is just a smokescreen to allow him/her to vote with the Governor.
This is my suggested argument for any educator calling his/her legislator. "Yes, we believe every teacher will be hurt because teachers will be forced to teach even more than ever to the state tests to make sure that their job is not jeopardized. This hurts teachers because teaching this way is unprofessional and demoralizing. It hurts the students because they will not get the education they deserve. Filling out multiple choice tests is not education for life."
As far as not hurting your school, any new charters or voucher schools will attempt to skim the best students away from any and all schools in their area, not just the D or F schools. By the way, it is not always true that low letter grade schools have poor teachers. Some of the most dedicated teachers teach in low letter grade schools. Those schools almost always have low letter grades because they have a high proportion of at-risk, high poverty students, not because they have bad teachers.
One more thing. Even in public schools serving more privileged students, with Act 54, a teacher can get a low performance score if his/her students do not "gain value" according to some obscure formula coming out of Baton Rouge. So there are plenty of reasons why "good" teachers and "good" schools will be unfairly hurt by this legislation. Do not buy their bull!
The following vote to refer HB 976 to the Appropriations Committee is seen by some observers as an indication of how legislators are leaning on the bill. That is, if a legislator voted Nay on the move to refer it to the Appropriations committee, he/she may be joining the effort to push the bill through without adequate consideration. The votes were as follows:
HB 976 BY CARTER
PASS TO THIRD READING
RECOMMIT TO THE COMMITTEE ON APPRO
Time: 4:49:43 PM
The roll was called with the following result:
Total -- 34
Total -- 64
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