"I ask this question since this legislation is targeting teachers instead of ALL public employees (fire and police): what group has affected this state in a more negative way; the teachers uniions who get few teachers to join their political agenda even w this government give away, or a group like LABI who spends its members dues on crushing our public schools for the sake of sending taxpayer dollars to private and charter schools? I ask you why does the measley costs involved in allowing teachers to choose to have their dues deducted from their paycheck even bother such a group the size of LABI?"
- The merit pay scheme based on VAM was so poorly designed that it often classified excellent teachers as failures. Now our amateur State Superintendent is not at all anxious to continue VAM because it drives the best teachers out of the basic skills subjects, and produces no measurable results. Passing scores on state LEAP tests have been lowered to as little as 40 to 45 percent correct answers equating to a rating of basic on some tests just to give the appearance that our students are doing just as well as before.
- Since the new law did not provide funding for the mandated merit pay, school systems have cut step raises that had been an incentive to retain good teachers in the profession.
- BESE, based on the recommendation of John White, has basically dropped all standards for promotion of students. In some school systems, teachers are encouraged to let students retake all unit tests until they pass. Those who still can’t pass at the high school level are allowed to take greatly condensed credit recovery courses so they can “qualify” to graduate. Sure, the graduation rate has increased a bit, but what about the quality of those graduates? Was the improvement of the quality of our graduates not the original purpose of all this to begin with?
The original and correct reason for the tenure law was to give teachers a hearing process so that attempts to fire them based on politics or favoritism could be exposed. A good example of why educators need due process occurred last school year when a principal at a charter school was fired because the child of a charter Board member was appropriately disciplined for a serious infraction. But because there was no due process, and because Charter Board members are appointed rather than elected there was no opportunity to expose the unfairness. If HB 505 passes, there will be more opportunities for good teachers to be unfairly fired.
My message to teachers and parents is this: Don't let the use of the term "Union" in reference to the Louisiana Association of Educators and the Louisiana Federation of Teachers mislead you. The LAE and LFT are no different than the American Medical Association or the BAR Associations. They value the teaching profession and are willing to speak for teachers effectively and defend their rights just as these other organizations do for their members. If you conducted a poll of public opinion right now in Louisiana you would find that most citizens respect and appreciate teachers. This lobbying group called LABI is just as much a "Union" as are the groups described above. The main difference is that they have huge financial resources with which to bribe legislators and BESE members to do their bidding.