Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Jindal Anti-teacher Law Ruled Unconstitutional . . . Again

District Judge Ben Jones has ruled that Governor Jindal's Act 1 of 2012 violates a teacher's constitutional rights in two important ways according to the Monroe News Star account.

My congratulations to the Louisiana Association of Educators and LAE attorney Brian Blackwell for this important victory for teachers. Much credit should go to Judge Jones who refused to allow a teacher tenure hearing to be held in a "Knagaroo Court". Act 1 had set up a new procedure for teacher tenure hearings where two of the three hearing officers were to be selected by the school system superintendent and the school principal. These of course would be the persons that had already decided to dismiss the teacher. The judge said it would be "dumb" to consider this a fair hearing.

In addition, Judge Jones ruled that a provision in Act 1 that would have limited judicial review of a tenured teacher's dismissal was in violation of a teacher's property rights under the US Constitution. This decision along with an earlier decision ruling Act 1 unconstitutional shows that our state judges believe that the teaching profession should get much more respect than was afforded to them by the Governor and the Legislature.

Jindal has now spent millions of our tax dollars on private lawyers defending the ill conceived ALEC legislation that was designed to reduce the employment status of a teacher to that of a teenage grocery store clerk. But the courts have found him to be wrong in almost all cases.

My opinion is that Governor Jindal's ramming through Act 1 and Act 2 in the 2012 legislative session, while thousands of concerned teachers were locked out of the state capitol will go down in history as one of the most viscous attacks on teachers in Louisiana history. A few legislators including John Bel Edwards warned at the time that much of the legislation was unconstitutional and violated teacher rights. But Jindal and his puppets in the legislature were determined to make teachers the scapegoats for all the alleged shortcomings of our education system. There was never consideration of the fact that parents should bear much of the responsibility for their child's performance in school. But of course parents are voters and Jindal's relentless pursuit of higher office dictates that he should never require that parents and voters be accountable. Nor is Jindal concerned that the amateur educators he has appointed (White and his TFA buddies) to make all the major decisions on education in Louisiana have made blunder after blunder in their headlong efforts to privatize education and de-professionalize teaching.

Teachers should never give up the fight for their profession!