The first major component of the Jindal reform was the passage of Act 54 of 2010. This is the new law that required that all teachers and principals be evaluated each year with 50% of their evaluation based on student academic growth (VAM) as measured by the annual state standardized tests. Act 54 also tied the certification of new teachers to an effective rating on the new evaluation system.
- Many experienced and highly regarded teachers have either retired early or are looking to leave soon because they are disillusioned with much of the reform mandates that they believe make teaching and learning less enjoyable and make education less effective, test driven, and often produce flawed teacher evaluations.
- Because of the less favorable treatment being applied to basic skills teachers in evaluation, many teachers are opting out of teaching basic skills subjects whenever possible creating a shortage of qualified basic skills teachers.
- Education college officials are reporting a drop in enrollments in the college of education as well as a loss of practice teaching opportunities for prospective teachers. Many public school teachers considering the possibility of a negative evaluation based on student performance are unwilling to accept practice teachers.
- Since the merit pay mandated by legislation was not funded, many school boards have cut other teacher pay benefits to fund the merit pay. Many teachers, even those rated highly effective, are reporting lower pay advancement because of loss of step increases and credit for higher degrees, even when receiving the rather paltry merit raises.
- Significant flaws in the VAM system have resulted in highly regarded teachers receiving “ineffective” ratings and in disparities in ratings of teachers of gifted and handicapped students.
- The new COMPASS evaluation system, which was designed by a non-educator and is being administered by a person with no supervisory experience is being seen in the field as a boondoggle and at best a “dog-and-pony” show that has little relation to real teaching.
- Breaking News: The National principal's organization is in the process of adopting a position in opposition to VAM systems for evaluating teachers.
One of the legislators who sponsored Jindal's education reforms said these changes would "empower" the good teachers to be treated as true professionals. If you are a teacher who has received a highly effective rating, do you feel you have been empowered?
- Many parents and teachers alike are claiming that the new standards are not age appropriate for younger students and that CCSS aligned math lessons are impractical and confusing for students and parents.
- Raw scores for the new Common Core aligned tests have dropped in many areas (38% and 40% for passing 7th and 8th grade math) even though the LDOE has insisted that student performance has remained steady and has actually improved in the mastery area. The fact is that the LDOE and its testing company have artificially lowered cut scores to produce apparent “steady” or improved results.
- Many teachers are reporting huge losses in actual productive teaching time because of time spent on testing and test prep.
- In addition to lowering of cut scores for tests, the LDOE has dropped, for at least two years, the minimum standards for promotion of students. Now students are allowed to move to higher grades even if they have not learned the pre-requisite skills needed for the next grade level.
- What about the voucher students? Most are performing at the lowest levels in the state. The largest voucher school has had its enrollment frozen because of dismal performance.