Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Anti Union Bill Delayed

HB 418 which now clearly identified as an attempt by big buisness to silence the voices of teacher, police and firemen unions was delayed on the House floor Tuesday. The bill had been scheduled for Special consideration for floor debate on Tuesday afternoon. Supporters of the bill apparently realized that they were short of the votes needed for passage of the bill. There was a rumor that opponents of the bill would play the video of Lane Grigsby bragging about driving a spear through the hearts of the teacher unions if proponents continued their bogus argument about protecting teachers from payroll deductions which everyone knows are totally optional.

Bills to curtail charters and vouchers killed in House Education Committee

House bills 21 and 340 were killed in the House Education Committee Tuesday. Charter and voucher advocates have enjoyed a majority vote of the Education Committee since Governor Jindal's allies stacked it that way several years ago.

District superintendents and local taxpayers testified that they did not want BESE overuling local school boads in the approval of charters. Educators and citizens explained that it is not appropriate to have an agency (BESE) far away from the voters decide how to spend local money.

Representative Nancy Landry countered that parents should be able to put their child's MFP money in a symbolic backpack and take it to any school they chose. What is not considered in that arguement is that the MFP is funded by all taxpayers; even those with no children in school. So Landry wants certain parents to overrule all other taxpayers in how to use our tax dollars.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Charter and UnCommon Core Promoters Are on the Same Team

The House Education Committee  this Tuesday, May 12, is scheduled to take up two bills (HB 21 and HB 340) by Rep. John Bel Edwards that would limit the right of BESE to impose new charter schools and voucher schools on unwilling local school boards. These are important bills that help insure that the operation of our public schools remain with the people we elect to our school boards rather than unelected charter groups. The debate on restrictions to the expansion of charter schools will be followed closely by consideration of bills that would replace the Common Core standards with Louisiana developed standards. These bills (HB 373 and 672) could be considered Tuesday after the vote on the Edwards bills or by extending the ED Committee meeting over to Wednesday, May 13. (I will alert my readers here as soon as we know the schedule)

Observers of the House Education Committee will notice this week that the supporters of Common Core standards and the group pushing for further expansion of predatory charter schools are the same people. 

The Common Core State Standards could now be classified as UnCommon Standards. That's because so many states have either dropped the CCSS, or modified them, or adopted separate testing that they are just about the furthest thing from "common" that we could possibly get.  Louisiana is now in the process of giving its own version of the PARCC test which was supposedly designed to test the Common Core, but we do not expect the highly manipulated scores (see this post) on this years' tests to be announced until late this fall. There is nothing "common" about the standards or the testing and the test results are of no use whatsoever in knowing what each student missed.

These heavily promoted standards pushed by an alliance of so called education reformers such as the Gates Foundation, The Broad and Walton Foundations, the Pearson education publishing conglomerate, and the Obama administration are also supported by the Charter School Association, big business interests LABI, CABL, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce and two astro turf groups (phony grassroots organizations funded by the big foundations). All of these groups will also be fighting hard to kill HB 21 and 340 that would only modestly curtail the expansion of New Charter schools in Louisiana. 

The dedicated and informed parents and educators who oppose Common Core and PARCC testing are so outgunned by the privatization and Common Core promoters that the battle this week could be compared to confronting an Abrams tank with a BB gun. However, I have this to say to the parents and educators who oppose CCSS and charters: History will prove you right! You may not win this time, but you will eventually prevail! 

I plan to testify as an individual educator and taxpayer in favor of the two charter restriction bills and also in favor of the two bills that would replace Common Core and its testing with Louisiana standards. But it is clear that these bills will only be successful if the true grass roots educators and parents rise up in force to tell our legislators what we really want for our children. Please contact all House Education Committee members and ask them to vote in favor of HB 21, and HB 340 and also for either HB 373 or 672! Below are the email addresses of the committee members which you can copy into your address line.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,    

I continue to appeal to my readers to join my Defenders of Public Education email group which you can join by just sending an email to with your name and zip code. I use the zip code to place you in the correct legislative disrticts.

But for now, any citizen is free to write our representatives and ask them to vote for these important bills that will help preserve our precious public education system.

Do you want to have an even bigger impact than just writing an email that may be lost among the many emails received by legislators this year? Do something really easy but different and maybe more effective. Just click on this link to the Education Committee, then go to the web site for each legislator on the committee by clicking on his/her name, and look up their local office phones and the name of each legislative assistant. Those legislative assistants make it their business to relay voter concerns directly to the Representative. Just call his/her local office and give the assistant a simple message to relay to the Representatives about how you want them to vote on these issues. Of course this is more powerful if you happen to live in the Representative's district. They work for you! Tell them what you want!