Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Legislation Defending Our Public Schools

Breaking News! 2:00 pm, Wed. May 6. HB 166 by Bouie passed the House Ed Committee by a close 9 to 8 vote. HB 21 will be debated in committee next Tuesday, May 12. Please send emails in support of HB 21 and also HB 340 now! Another option is to send a phone message to your rep. on the Floor by calling 225-342-6945 or by calling the legislator's home office.

There are three important bills being heard in the House Education Committee, at 9:00 am, Wednesday, May 6th that could go a long way toward supporting our public schools and restricting predatory charter efforts. (Note: If you click on the bill numbers below you can view the legislation)

HB 21  by Rep. Edwards, prevents BESE from authorizing new charter schools to be located in school districts rated B or above if such schools are opposed by the local school board. BESE has adopted the practice of approving new predatory charter schools in some high performing districts even when the elected school boards saw no need for such schools. This is circumvention of the democratic process. Even the most conservative voters today believe that public policy decisions should be made as close to the local level as possible. But the recent actions by BESE substitute the judgement of a state body in the place of locally elected school boards. New charters that are created in higher performing districts operate on one simple principle: attract and retain only the highest performing students so that the organizers can achieve success not by the excellence of their instruction but more by the ability and motivation of the carefully selected students! This of course, attempts to drain the best performing students from successful school systems and could lower their performance scores. At the same time, such predatory charters damage the teacher retirement system by refusing to pay down their share of the unfunded liability while receiving the full MFP funding. Regular public schools are required to spend almost 25% of payroll on the unfunded liability while the charter operators get to pocket this windfall!

HB 340 by Rep. Edwards would prevent charter schools from recruiting new Kindergarten students from attendance districts that are rated C or above. This bill is designed to close a loophole in the charter school law that violates the original rule that only students in low performing schools would have the option of attending charter schools. Again, the predatory charters are doing their best to attract students from more affluent neighborhoods that produce better academic results. This bill would prevent the poaching of such students by predatory charters.

HB 166 by Rep. Bouie would require that RSD takeover schools that achieve a passing status be returned to their original school boards. This was the original intention of the law creating the Recovery School District, that has been circumvented by the actions of BESE that leave the decision up to the unelected charter school agency instead of to the elected representatives of the people.

Please Contact members of the House Education Committee and ask that they vote "yes" for these three bills.

Here are the email addresses of the House Education Committee members:

carters@legis.la.gov, hallj@legis.la.gov, legerw@legis.la.gov, reynoldsg@legis.la.gov,  shadoinr@legis.la.gov, smithp@legis.la.gov, pricee@legis.la.gov, richardj@legis.la.gov, iveyb@legis.la.gov, landryn@legis.la.gov, hollisp@legis.la.gov, edwardsj@legis.la.gov,  carmodyt@legis.la.gov, burnsh@legis.la.gov, broadwaterc@legis.la.gov, bishopw@legis.la.gov, jeffersonpo@legis.la.gov


Anonymous said...

I object to the use of the word "predatory" regarding charter schools. They have been an amazing alternative for the children of New Orleans along with vouchers. I realize the bills relate to schools ranked c or above, but the word "predatory" is inaccurate and inappropriate.

Anonymous said...

Predatory is pretty accurate since the rules the majority play by, the way they recruit students and how they they profit is killing good public schools and excellent educators. There are good charter schools out there somewhere. However, there are so many fly by night charters who swoop in with lots of promises, pick and choose the best students, use teachers who do not have to have the same qualifications as public school teachers or follow the same laws or meet the same paperwork requirements. Then after they have taken the funds from public schools for their profit but the kids aren't any better off these charters leave a disrupted, starved and dying community behind. All this because people with no teaching background decided THEY know what excellent teaching is! Maybe your particular charter is great and not going to act like a carpet-bagger. That's great but not common at all. I am sure Mr. Deshotels knows the charters you mention and can speak to their records.

Michael Deshotels said...

I plan to post an up-to-date analysis of the success for lack of success of the RSD charter schools within the next few days. But to be specific, the charter schools I refer to a predatory are schools like the BASIC charter chain that are planning to set up shop in the Baton Rouge area next year. This is a highly selective charter school that drops about three fourths of their students within a 4 year period so that they will retain only the high performers. They dump their rejects back to the real public schools who by law cannot refuse them. They pocket huge profits from this operation. That's why I call them predatory!