Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tenure Destruction Bill Reintroduced

Senator Conrad Appel has now reintroduced a bill (Senate Bill 89) to drastically reduce the due process needed for teacher dismissals. This bill would nullify a teacher's tenure status based on only one year of negative ratings using the new teacher evaluation system starting with the 2013-14 school year. Three separate independent researchers have published papers pointing out that the VAM portion of the new evaluation system is so inaccurate that it should never be used to dismiss or invalidate tenure based on only one year of data! For the very latest report on the flaws in VAM just click on this link to a report just sent to the legislature by Herb Bassett.

These are the same changes to tenure that were part of Act 1 of 2012 which has been ruled unconstitutional by a district court judge. This ruling is being appealed to the Supreme court by the Jindal administration. Observers see the new Appel bill as an effort to re institute the teacher tenure destruction law in the event the Supreme Court also rules Act 1 unconstitutional. This new law if passed would presumably meet constitutional requirements because it avoids the multiple subjects contained in Act 1.

Let me explain to you why I say this bill is the teacher tenure destruction bill. First, the bill does away with all tenure and all due process based on only one bad evaluation. Three independent researchers and the creator of VAM for Louisiana, Dr George Noell have all agreed that no decision on teacher ineffectiveness should be made based on only one year of VAM data. See this 5 minute video by Herb Bassett. Second, the Appel bill makes it clear that an evaluation of "ineffective" on the new evaluation without corroborative evidence of any kind is sufficient proof that the teacher is incompetent and therefore can be dismissed immediately. So having tenure means nothing if the case is open and shut just based on this one evaluation. Even if a teacher's principal has given a teacher excellent evaluations for many years and still gives a teacher a good evaluation on the observation portion of COMPASS, if the teacher falls in the bottom 10% of VAM, everything else is overruled and the teacher is declared "ineffective"! Third, and the coup de grace to tenure, is the kangaroo court nature of the tenure hearing under the Appel bill. If a teacher is recommended for dismissal, the tenure committee is stacked against the teacher. (You know the same way Jindal stacked the House and Senate Education Committees with his "yes men and gals" to insure that he could control all education legislation). The tenure hearing panel in the Appel bill would be composed of three members; one appointed by the Superintendent, one appointed by the principal and one appointed by the teacher. Need we say more?

My advice is that every educator who cares about fair treatment of teachers should immediately send an email to both their Senators and Representatives and ask them to vote against SB 89. You may want to cite just a little of the information I have given you above in your email.

Two Other Important Matters
Previous posts on this blog have made the point that all the RSD takeover schools in the Baton Rouge area have been total failures and the State is now trying to reorganize them and take over more schools to form an "Achievement Zone". I pointed out in previous posts that the takeover schools were so bad that parents pulled their children out and re enrolled them in the EBR public school system.

Now it turns out that so many students were lost by RSD that one of the schools taken over is now vacant and has been converted into a central office for RSD. Remember that White has always taken the position that a central office is unnecessary since it is better to put all authority for administration with the charter schools and cut out the bureaucracy. Well it turns out that Prescott Middle school in Baton Rouge is now being used as just such a central office by White's highly paid overseers. Well now a parent group in Baton Rouge is running a petition asking that Prescott Middle be returned to EBR since many of the students have returned and the school system needs the building! I have signed that petition and I would like to request that my readers sign it also if you agree that the RSD has no business keeping a building if they have no students to put in it. Just click on the link below and follow the steps for signing.

Please Consider Giving Financial Support to an Independent Voice on the schools in New Orleans

This blog does not take advertising, and I do not make one penny for publishing this blog which is dedicated to providing independent education information to educators and parents. But some causes require financial support.

Dr Raynard Sanders runs a weekly radio program called The New Orleans Imperative in New Orleans that tells the truth to parents and citizens about the RSD and its charters and the Jindal vouchers. It takes funding to keep this program on the air, so I am sending them a small contribution and I hope some of my readers will consider it also. This is how you do it.

Please join me in supporting the critical role of The New Orleans Imperative plays in advancing equity by making a donation to the The New Orleans Imperative. Donations can be made online at or via U.S. and mail (make checks out to Faubourg St. Roch Improvement Association (checks to The New Orleans Imperative, c/o FSRIA, 1830 St. Roch St., New Orleans, LA 70117.

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Anonymous said...

I have emailed this to every teacher in my contacts!

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