Friday, March 16, 2012

Jinadal Bills Going to Floor Votes Soon

Governor Jindal succeeded, with the help of carefully stacked committees, to move his education reform legislation through both House and Senate Education Committees. See the Advocate story linked here. As usual, the description of the bills in the big business controlled newspaper "forgets" to include a description of some of the most destructive portions of the legislation. Did I mention that The Advocate has refused to print my letter to the editor about the Governor's war on public education?

Don't believe for a minute that the newspapers are unbiased on these issues. When I met with the editors of the Advocate a year ago, concerning the distortions of school efforts produced by the new school letter grading system, they admitted to me that they favored "anything but public schools". The newspaper also forgot to mention that there were even more teachers at the Capitol Thursday than the day before, and that the Senate committee severely limited debate refusing to hear from the great majority of teachers that had signed up to testify.

As these public education destruction bills go to the House and Senate floors for a vote possibly next week it is critical that educators meet with their legislators if possible to express opposition to the legislation. You may want to form a committee of educators, (include your principal if possible) to actually try to meet with the legislators while they are in their home districts this weekend or early next week. One of the primary rules of politics is that you cannot accuse a legislator of voting wrong on an issue if you have never personally communicated with him/her on the issue. The best approach is a face-to-face meeting, but letters and emails are also effective.

One of the important facts many newspapers forget to mention is that the most dangerous part of the voucher/charter legislation is that it will allow private companies to set up brand new charter schools in any parish that have nothing to do with turning around failing schools (they have been absolutely ineffective at doing this). These schools will be able to cherry pick the best students by calling themselves college prep schools leaving the public schools to educate the rest. Also, because of a special exemption, they will be able to hire uncertified persons to teach. This undermines the teaching profession as well as damaging the public schools and starving them of funding.

Another important fact left out of newspaper reports is that the teacher dismissal legislation allows the value-added results to overrule your Principal's evaluation in determining you to be an ineffective teacher. The new evaluation system that is mandated but not described in the legislation requires that 10% of teachers evaluated using Act 54 rules must be determined to be ineffective and placed on a path to dismissal each year. This could put thousands of teachers on a path to dismissal within just a few years of the program.

Now for your reading pleasure, I would like to recommend that you go to a very prestigious national blog for teachers that carries an account by one of Louisiana's National Board Certified teachers about how the Governor's education reform package was introduced in Louisiana. Click on this link to read the blog Teacher In A Strange Land. Note the disdain with which the big business types treat professional educators that are not part of their hand picked privatization corps.

By the way: A few days ago when I was adding to this blog, my virus protection service flashed a warning on my screen "Incoming worm/virus detected. Its purpose is to destroy or erase all components of your current website". Luckily my virus protection worked. But I don't know how much longer this blog will be on line. Not paranoid, just cautious.


Anonymous said...

Can you give us information about HB100 or SB 131? These are bills that will delay implementation of ACT 54. I am hoping it's not too late for people to send a message to their legislators in support of these bills. My current school pilots the VAM. We are in an excellent parish and school, yet our Teacher of the Year has a negative rating. Most people do not understand that you can have EVERY student pass the Leap, but still be considered ineffective. If the student scores lower on the Leap than (s)he did on i-leap, the teacher gets a negative rating for that student.
Also, on the link, Teacher in a Strange Land, there is another excellent piece: Why I Decided to Become A Private School Teacher. It does a fantastic job of explaining what can happen when your school becomes a victim of value added assessment. Please read.

Michael Deshotels said...

Thank you for your suggestion. I will contact the LAE lobbyists to find out when HB 100 and SB 131 are expected to go to committee. The example you gave is happening in other states where this value-added experiment with teacher's careers is being implemented.

Anonymous said...

The red postcard template won't print correctly, and it doesn't have the addresses of all of the legislators. How can this be corrected?

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