Betsy DeVos and Trump have made it clear that their number one objective on education is to implement as much privatization of schools as possible across the nation. We in Louisiana have already had a very bitter dose of privatization by the Jindal/White reform of schools in our state. When first proposed by Jindal, school choice was promised to be a utopia for both parents and educators who wanted better education for all students and better recognition and empowerment of our best teachers. Here are some of the results:
- Parents would be able to choose better education for their children by sending them to charter schools authorized by the state recovery district, and to private voucher schools often run by churches. The result: The charter schools in the Louisiana Recovery District after more than 10 years are some of the worst performing schools in the state; to the point that several have been totally closed down or returned to the original school boards. The best performing part of the Recovery District in New Orleans which took over many non-failing schools now perform in the bottom one-fifth of the state. This, just released report, shows that they greatly increased administrative costs while paying their teachers the lowest in the state. Many of the voucher schools have majority unqualified teachers and have the lowest student performance scores in the state. Sending a child to some of these s chools could be considered a form of child abuse!
- John Stossel and others who are promoting Betsy DeVos and school choice have assured their viewers that the proliferation of more vouchers, more charters and choice of these schools for parents would reward and empower the best teachers to demand the highest salaries and the most control over their classrooms. The truth is in Louisiana our legislature passed a merit pay plan for teachers based on student performance that turned out to be a supreme boondoggle. Some top teachers got the worst value added ratings while teachers of non-tested subjects qualified in much greater numbers for the meager merit pay than did the math and English teachers. But to add insult to injury, in most parishes teachers had to give up their step increases to fund the merit pay because Jindal did not provide one penny to local school systems to fund his merit pay scheme. Considering the insane shift to test prep at the expense of teacher designed instruction, I will let each teacher answer the question of whether or not they feel more empowered by the shift to choice and test based accountability.
Please contact both of our Louisiana Senators, Senator John Kennedy and Senator Bill Cassidy and ask them to vote "no" to the Betsy DeVos confirmation!
Call your US Senators at 1-855-882-6229. The person answering the phone will ask you which Senator you wish to contact and your zip code. You will then be allowed to leave a message with the Senator's legislative assistant. (I believe the switchboard to the Senators's offices opens after 8:00 am central time)
Note: Something or someone has blocked Senator Cassidy's office from the number above, however you can leave a message for Senator Cassidy at any of his local offices below:
Baton Rouge: 225-929-7711
Lake Charles: 337-493-5398