Saturday, April 6, 2013

Jindal Reforms Based on Disrespect of Teachers

Please take the time to view this video of part of the House Education Committee that took place almost exactly one year ago. This occurred when part of Governor Jindal's education reform package was being introduced in the House of Representatives. The bill (HB 974) at that time by Rep. Carter on behalf of the Governor was designed to destroy teacher tenure just like the bill now being introduced by Senator Appel described in my previous post. Almost on a moment's notice as reported in this blog last year that the Governor intended to rush this through before teachers had a chance to react, several thousand teachers showed up wanting to testify on legislation that would possibly drastically change their profession forever. Please click on the link above to read last year's description of the legislation and tell me if I was right or not.

But the Governor's allies in the legislature including Rep. Nancy Landry and Simone Champagne representing Lafayette, Vermilion, and Iberia, were upset that teachers would have the nerve to leave their classrooms and object to their professional status being destroyed. I believe I have described the effect of this legislation as changing the employment status of a teacher to no more than that of a teenage grocery store clerk.

So Representative Landry made a motion seconded by Rep Champagne to require testifiers (for the first time in this legislative committee's history) to reveal what kind of leave they had taken to come and testify in this committee. But there were several legislators who spoke up to call this action what it really was: An attempt to intimidate citizens from participating in their government. It is ironic that this would be done to the very persons to whom we entrust the responsibility to teach this civic responsibility and right to our children.

Make no mistake about it. The entire Jindal "education reform" plan was based on disrespect for the teaching profession! If not, why would it strip teachers of seniority rights in layoffs that are enjoyed by many other employees. If not, why would it  immediately remove a teacher's tenure based on the test performance of a group of individuals who may or may not have listened to or cared about what was being presented in the classroom. If not, why would it make that one time performance on one test all the evidence needed to dismiss a teacher with 20 years of successful experience. If not, why would it set up a hearing process where two out of three of the hearing officers are beholding to those recommending a dismissal.

Those voting "yes" on the Landry intimidation motion were: Nancy Landry, Champagne, Broadwater, Henry Burns, Carmody, Cameron Henry, Hollis, Thompson, Shroeder and Carter.

Those voting against the Landry motion were: Wesley Bishop, Edwards, Alfred Williams, Pat Smith, Jefferson, Price, Richard, and Shadoin.

Special thanks should be given to those who spoke up as seen in the video and pointed out the real propose of the motion. This includes Senator Karen Carter Peterson who asked for special permission to speak on the motion even though this was unusual for a Senator to do.

So when these same bills come up in this year's legislative session, or in the special session the governor has said he may call, teachers must remember the humiliation that was attempted in last year's committee and be willing to rise to the challenge of once again defending our profession.

Teachers Fighting for Their Profession (3/15/2012)

No comments: