Saturday, June 2, 2012

Jindal is Not All Powerful

Thousands of educators who attended Education Committee meetings early this legislative session were disheartened by the way the Jindal "Education Reforms" were rammed through the legislature seemingly without regard to the legitimate objections of educators. It seemed like Governor Jindal had complete control of the legislature and that it was hopeless to oppose him.

Now it looks like he has spent much of his political capitol bullying legislators, humiliating professional educators, and pushing an agenda that has more holes than swiss cheese! Not only is his hand picked new Superintendent looking incompetent in his sloppy handling of the new school voucher system, but much of the Governnor's overhaul of the retirement system is headed for possible defeat, and the new MFP that funds vouchers and college courses in violation of the Constitution is in big trouble! Just read the linked stories in the Advocate on the MFP and the retirement legislation to see what I mean.

That's why I say it is not too late for educators to sign up for my Defenders of Public Education data base and get involved a growing movement to stop and reverse these attacks on our public schools! It does not make sense for educators to teach Civics to our students and not be willing to use legitimate political action tactics to defend our students and teachers from these attacks! Just follow the simple instructions in my last two posts and get on board. It is completely free and 100% confidential.

Added 6/4/12: Click on this link to the Alexandria Town Talk for a morale booster for educators!

I have thought long and hard about whether or not to recommend to my readers participation in the Jindal and legislator recall efforts. My unofficial reading of  voter sentiment is that there is tremendous disappointment and anger toward Jindal across a broad spectrum  of Louisiana voters  but especially among educators and state employees. The main argument against the recall effort however, is that it is almost impossible to get one third of the voters to correctly sign such a petition in the time allotted (six months) especially for a state-wide office. Some say that once the recall fails, it seems to vindicate the target of the recall.

I have always believed however that when the cause is right and there is a legitimate remedy to change things, good citizens have a right and obligation to take action. Recall petitions are a perfectly legitimate political tool and were put into law for a good reason. No public official should ever feel that he can go against the will of the people even if he is at the beginning of his last term. The recall process is a great way to keep public officials accountable throughout their term in office.

That's why I am recommending that educators, their friends and families and other displeased voters make every effort to support the recall petitions now circulating against the Governor and several legislators. At the same time, I hope more legislators will be added to the list of recall targets. Don't be intimidated by the Governor's strong arm tactics! Those are the very reasons he should be recalled. Teachers are brave people. They fight seemingly impossible battles to defeat ignorance and produce educated citizens every day in their classrooms. Any effort to right a wrong is worthwhile no matter how great the odds against that effort. Take a look at the latest Diane Ravitch blog on the Jindal strategy.

Please go to the Recall Jindal web site and download a correct version of the petition, read the rules of recall and possibly arrange a training session for petition volunteers. It is extremely critical that correct signatures are gathered using the correct format of petitions.

I have organized and run successful recall petitions before in Louisiana and found that when recall efforts have a good rationale and good solid citizens running them, the voters will respond in a positive manner. Remember when I pointed out that members of the public still have great respect for teachers. It is absolutely true. Teachers have much more support among the voters than politicians. They know your motives are good and they want to support you. So get involved, do you civic duty, give the public a chance to see how dedicated you are to our public schools!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vouchers without Classrooms

I hope my readers will read the article linked here by Barbara Leader of the Monroe News Star. It describes the first of many atrocities we can expect as Louisiana's new voucher program is implemented. Please help me check the regulations on this in either Act 2 or in Dept. regulations, but I thought that a private school would not be allowed to offer more than 20% of their seats to voucher students. This article seems to indicate that the student population in this small religious school will be allowed to more than triple as a result of vouchers.

Added 6/1/12: This voucher issue was noticed by a committee of the Legislature. Here is the follow up story on the Legislative reaction also by Barbara Leader. Check out the comments by readers. See also the Washington Post story on this.

Educators, this story is just one more of the many reasons I am recruiting educators and parents for my Defenders of Public Education data base. We cannot just stand by as children are recruited in these get rich quick schemes by small entrepreneurs and taken from many solid public schools with the blessing of Governor Jindal. If you have not yet done so, please send an email to and tell me you want to be added to our data base. Originally I stated that your zipcode would be sufficient for me to ID your legislators but in some cases street addresses are needed when there is more than one legislator in a particular zip code. So please send me an email with your home address and zip so that I can be more accurate in setting up future communications with legislators.

This data base will be notified of key issues at BESE and the legislature upon which our supporters and defenders of public education will want to take action. My messages to the data base will be in coordination with the Coalition for Louisiana Public education and the major educator organizations. Once you are informed about the issue, and you see my suggested action, you will make the final decision about how you want to contact your elected representatives.

Please send me an email today with your contact information. Many have responded so far, but thousands more are needed. Some of you have generously offered to recommend our project to many of your friends and colleagues. That is the effective way to spread this movement. Use Facebook and Twitter or good old snail mail to help us recruit more Defenders. By next legislative session, I want educators to finally have a seat at the table and get some real empowerment. (Have you ever noticed how Jindal and White use the term "empowerment of educators" every time they talk about some new action by the State that humiliates and micromanages the teaching profession?)

By early next week I hope to have an analysis for you of the new Accountability rules that are now part of the recently approved ESEA Flexibility waiver for Louisiana. Look also for information on Jindal and Legislator recall efforts.