Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Capitol Rally April 4
In case you had any doubt . . . HB 974 basically does away with due process for all educators, even those that are rated "highly effective". Just read the bill carefully. For example, the revision of the tenure law on page 12 amounts to a cynical hoax. It changes the tenure hearing process from a hearing before the local school board to a hearing before a three member panel. But two of the members are chosen by the local superintendent! The superintendent directly chooses one member, another member is the teacher's principal, and the third member is chosen by the teacher. This amounts to a kangaroo court. If the principal and the superintendent have agreed beforehand to dismiss the teacher, the teacher does not have a chance. It makes a mockery of due process.
The teacher can appeal to the courts but the expense of this action may be prohibitive for most teachers. In addition the language for judicial appeal is changed to remove the language "if found guilty" so that the review panel does not have to prove anything to allow dismissal. On page 13, line 22, the new language limits the court review to allow overturning the dismissal if the dismissal is found to be "arbitrary and capricious".
This sorry process applies to so called tenured teachers without regard to their Act 54 performance rating! Getting an effective rating does not protect any teacher from dismissal. For example, if a teacher refuses to sell tickets at the school football games, his/her job could be jeopardized. This new law allows the local superintendent to rewrite any teacher's job description to include after school duties, tutoring or even Saturday work etc. If the teacher refuses, he/she could be dismissed for willful neglect of duties. So basically all teachers become "at will" employees who serve at the pleasure of the local superintendent if this bill passes.
To add insult to injury, HB 976 does away with the need for teacher certification for persons teaching in the new charter schools. You had to complete a teacher education program and pass the NTE or Praxis exam to become a teacher. These charter school teachers are exempted from all that unnecessary red tape. Superintendent John White says he sees no special benefit to teacher education credentials (that may be because he has minimal credentials himself) or even National Board Certification, and the legislature is going along with him by passing this legislation.
In addition, the voucher schools will have basically no accountability except that which the Jindal controlled BESE decides to implement. Students in the public schools must pass the high stakes tests in 4th and 8th grades to be promoted, and all public school students must pass end of course exams to graduate. But students attending the private voucher schools funded by taxpayer dollars can be promoted to the next grade even if they do no pass the state tests. There is also no requirement that voucher students pass the state end of course tests in high school in order to graduate. This double standard hypocrisy is called the Jindal Education Reform Plan!
Posted by Michael Deshotels