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  • Louisiana Teachers Cancel Class to Lobby Against Jindal Reforms

    Demonstrators protest educational funding cuts on the steps of the state capitol building in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in March, 2011.

    The Weekly Standard is reporting that teachers in Louisiana plan to cancel class this week in order to protest Governor Bobby Jindal’s (R) education reform proposals, which will see committee action tomorrow.

    The governor’s proposals include reforms to teacher tenure, a significant school choice expansion, and changes to teacher compensation in order to reward teachers based on performance, not seniority:

    And so, in response to these reforms even being considered, “at least three school districts are canceling classes and telling children to stay home to allow school employees the chance to lobby the legislature,” according to Aaron Baer, the governor’s deputy communications director.

    “The reality is that action is [education reform is] needed now,” Baer says in an email. “44 percent of Louisiana’s public schools received a grade or D or F last year. Louisiana’s 4th and 8th graders ranked among the bottom in English and Math when compared to other states. In 2010 there were 230,000 students in Louisiana below grade level—one third of all students in public school.”

    When one-third of all students are below grade level, the last thing public school employees should be doing is using class time to lobby the state legislature to prevent much-needed reforms. But they are joining the education unions who are descending upon Baton Rouge and are in full force to maintain lifetime job security for teachers, a compensation system that fails to reflect teacher performance, and a lack of school choice options for children.

    It’s a combination that has been failing Louisiana students for too long. Jindal is working to implement significant reforms that are in the best interests of children in the state—not the demands of the adults in the system—and for that, public school teachers are leaving the classroom this week to join hands with the unions.

    Naturally, taxpayers will be footing the bill for the teachers’ lobbying, since the school districts are considering these “professional development” days.

    The unions will certainly be shouting about injustices to teachers and public education as they swarm the committee rooms and the halls of the legislature. Meanwhile, Louisiana’s school children will be sitting at home, wondering what prompted these additional vacation days. Sure, they might miss a lesson or two on America’s founding or long division, but they will be able to ace their next test on the politics of Big Education.

    Posted in Education, Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    42 Responses to Louisiana Teachers Cancel Class to Lobby Against Jindal Reforms

    1. Tim Humphreys says:

      The fundamental issue is not whether it is appropriate for classroom teachers to leave their posts for a day of protest, but whether any politician will ever be willing to focus on the root of our problem in public education — student readiness. Look at families, not teachers, for answers as to why schools are failing. Teachers are easy scapegoats given their vulnerability to policy-makers while failing parents aren't in any danger of losing their license to parent. After all, who is this reform intended to impress, but the parents who are trying desperately to avoid blame for their role in the decay of our education system.

      • Mac Echols says:

        Typical Union BS
        Mac

        • Joe Thomas says:

          Not union BS, proven fact. Unions are easy scape goats too, but not in this case. A lot of kids are being forced to raise themselves and have no support nor basic knowledge when they come for pre-k. I'm willing to bet you've never taught a day in your life and assume that because you went to school, you're an expert on education. Guess what, you're not, you are as ignorant as the rest of them.

      • O2BMe says:

        I agree that parents are sometimes part of the problem. Some didn't finish school themselves and are struggling to survive. That doesn't mean the kids are dumb, there just isn't time to help with homework. However, there are teachers out there who have succeeded with these children. There is a great need to have school choice and teachers do need to have performance reviews. Every other job out there gives a yearly performance review. I had to pass them to get a raise, why not teachers.

    2. Hugh says:

      Teacher's protesting and shutting down classes? It's evident to me that these teachers are only interested in maintaining their pay and benefits over improving a system that would benefit students and taxpayers. I applaud Governor's Jindal reform efforts.

      • James Hay says:

        Unions Have No Place In Public Education And Should Be Permently Barred From It Simply Because It Sabotages The Childrens Education By Corrupting The Teachers By Putting The Teacher's Status In Public Education Over The More Importance Of Educating The Children. This Shameful Event Is Prime Evidence That Unions Are Extremely Destructiveto Public Education And Should Be Eliminated Once And For All.

    3. Disgruntled parent says:

      Lawmakers need to slow down before voting on such an important piece of legislation. These bills are anti teacher and should be seen as nothing less. If you want quality education Louisiana spend your money on teachers. Highly effective teachers should be compensated for their effort, however this legislation does not do that. It completely takes away all incentive that teachers have to teach. Make a competitive market place by increasing the desire of the common person to want to be a teacher. This legislation is not fair. Say goodbye to quality education Louisiana.

    4. Pamela M. says:

      I think teachers have the right to be present en masse when reforms of this magnitude are being considered. And if those talks are occurring during class time, then if they use their personal time to take off to be there, then I support them 110%. Let me emphasize that I am not a teacher and I still feel this way.

    5. Beverly in AZ says:

      When did the teachers start putting their benefits ahead of teaching the students. Fire them. People need to teach our children.

    6. Hillary says:

      It's time teachers realize they are working for us. We pay their salaries and benefits. If they aren't performing well, as is obvious from the lack of achievement by these students, changes need to be made. Anyone who takes off on a class day should be fired. There are many people without work who would jump at a job, even with the changes.

    7. Conrad Pilapil says:

      I say completely dismantle the Department of Education! Are you all aware that the Department of Education did not come into existence until 1979? Up to that point we seem to have managed just fine. From our revolution, to civil war, WWI and WWII, industrial revolution, ect.. we were fine. Those that wanted to learn paid to go to school, and those that did not want to go did not have to (in todays terms – someone has to flip the burgers). The finest teachers were available and accountable to those that were paying. It was a privilege, not a right (as it should be).

      • FmrUSMCRnTX says:

        I agree that the Dept of Education should be abolished. It serves no useful purpose. Rather, it devolves our educational system. As you so well say, Conrad, we were doing just fine before the bureaucrats and statists decided we needed more central control of education at the national level. Moreover, we should abolish all public sector unions…especially these teacher's unions. The leadership of these unions is only interested in POWER, and much of the rank & file is only interested in their tenure and big benefits rather than educating our children. Though they do manage to throw a lot of left-wind ideological indoctrination at the children instead of teaching the kids the basic subjects….including American History & Civics. I say more power to Governors like Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, and others who're trying to reform our broken educational system(s) and give our children and parents MORE CHOICE!

      • Ricky says:

        Well said. The problem is government, and if you drill down the parents of those suckling at the teat of government. School choice would end all of this BS, as concerned parents would move their children to the best schools and teachers. Good teachers salaries would sky rocket and those doing the work would flourish. On the other hand those riding the "hand out train" would fail, as will always be the case with the lazy and uninspired. If the kids are not inspired then they have not been inspired. It's time to get government and unions out of the schools system.

    8. Irrate Taxpayer says:

      Excellent analogy of the intelligence of the ones who are supposed to be educating the students. They say the students are their priority when in reality it's their greed that's most important. All those so-called teachers should have been fired for calling in sick and forcing schools to close. It's no wonder the public schools are receiving failing grades. Gov. Jindal is trying to rescue public education and they're only concerned about themselves. Shame on these people who are supposed to be professionals and the legislators who are supporting this mindset. Thank you for posting this story.

    9. Professional Development Day? Really?

    10. Tim S says:

      Who's allowing these so called teachers to do this? Or, maybe a better question would be, "Who's allowing these union thugs to be in the classrooms with our children?" They should be fired for this. Despicable!

      • Danny says:

        Have you ever taught before? Sounds like you haven't so you have no idea, what teachers go through in the classroom. Teachers are just like police man , fireman, and any other professional out there, who earned an education 4 yr degree to become an teacher. They have the right to protest like anyone else who is upset over ther job. You need to get a life!

    11. Bobbie says:

      Again protesters are in it for themselves over the kids. What an example they set. Thinking of themselves by shorting the kids a day without education at the leisure of the protesters demanding more than what can be afforded and/or more than their worth. On a positive note, one less day of controlled indoctrination. How is it acceptable that teachers can protest at the expense of children and why does it continue?

    12. chester says:

      fire them all ….. there are thousands out there looking for a job ….they dont wanna work ….replace them !!!

    13. Bill Fisher says:

      What a great idea, let's walk out on the kids to protest improving the education levels that we have been failing to give them under the current system. Teachers unions need to wake the heck up, your members (the teachers) are some of the best people in our society, but the unions make them look bad.

    14. Momcat says:

      All teachers who desert their classrooms should be fired on tne spot.

    15. Ron says:

      Why are these teachers afraid of merit pay? Could it be they know that they are substandard? I suppose they will demand pay for time off for protesting an improvement in their profession. Professionals? I think not.

    16. Pete Houston says:

      There is a reason that if you can afford it, that you send your children to private school in Louisiana. The public school system is poor to say the least.

    17. oddhan says:

      What the hell are the working parents supposed to do during this 'protest' . It's a big middle finger to the parents to dump the kids at home like this. My brother and brother-in-law are teachers, I don't think either of them would go along with this idiocy.

    18. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Teachers' unions are "for the students?" YEAH, RIGHT! ROTFLMAO. That's a first! Teachers' unions are out
      for themselves.

    19. Andrak says:

      The public School System is broken and should be disolved and instead returned to a private system where the parents not the teachers have control. Schools dont teach these days thy indoctrinate kids into socialism and nonthinking machines. With no moral or ethical base and no knowledge of how to reason

    20. poptoy1949 says:

      I was a one time Classroom Teacher in the Louisiana Public School system. I QUIT. I left Public Education and began a new Career in the Oilfield. The reason I left was because there was absolutely no way to keep discipline in the Classroom. It was horrible. How can you teach when you cannot get children today to listen to anything. I worked my BUTT off to try to TEACH. YOU send kids to the office and they send them back and they continue with the same unsavory attitude. Before you start getting on the Teachers…get on the School Administration. I am talking about everybody above the classroom teacher. I admit there are teachers that are below Par and do not belong in a classroom. However, children today know you cannot touch them and will test you to no end and then some. If you want to put blame in the right place first BLAME "The PARENTS". Secondly, blame School Administrators that refuse to back teachers up when it comes to matters of discipline. If there is no order from the top down that is stern and consistent then you are just wasting your time. Find out what is working in the best of schools and have it implemented in all schools. So many teachers today are totally demoralized simply because they are always getting mixed messages from the top. Governor…..my first suggestion to you is talk to classroom teachers individually and keep it anonymous if yo to find out what is not working. Best of Luck but you will never get me back into a classroom.

      • Brenda Sonnier says:

        Thank You! I totally agree with you!
        You cannot teach without having discipline.

      • O2BMe says:

        A lot you say here is true all over the country. Back in the dark ages when I went to school teachers were allowed to discipline. Not only that but if my parents found out I was in deep trouble at home. This was true for most of the students. We lived three miles from the school and if I had detention my parents would not drive in and pick me up. I walked home. We have lost discipline at home and in the schools. I don't know how some of these children will fare in the workplace in the future.

    21. wtobias says:

      i dont blame the teachers they know whats needed in the schools i think its the administrators and the school boards that put politics and the almighty dollar before the needs of the kids.

      • Bobbie says:

        the teachers paid by taxpayers obligated trust that children are being educated, walked out on the children to protest in favor of themselves, not oppose for the better focus on education, obviously!

    22. Gemfire says:

      Poptoy1949….Thank you!!! I was also once a teacher myself. Left because there is NO way to maintain proper discipline in today's classroom and very few administrators support the teachers! Every one of you who have commented on this site….I challenge you to teach in a classroom for 1 month, then come back on here and blab away! The school system is steadily losing good teachers because most intelligent people refuse to spend their lives (and face degenerating health from the stress!) trying to teach children whose parents tell them that education isn't necessary and that they don't have to respect their teachers! It amazes me how people are quick to condemn without having any first hand experience of the lives of the ones they are condemning!

      • Bobbie says:

        Well aware of the few good teachers who need to teach in private schools if they really want to make a sincere difference in educating the minds of children where the talents and skills of the teachers are shown in student achievement at adequate to unlimited levels, where acceptance and tolerance of expected behavior is no more or less than cordially civil with corrections when and if otherwise necessary.

      • fanofdave says:

        Amen!

    23. Jim says:

      AS to a previous post, I agree. State and county collect the money for the children and the the parents get to select the school. No more "public" schools, parent can select where they want their kids to go .But of course, there are parents who feel public schools are just babysitters and they dont care what the kids do, just get them out of the house.

    24. Read and comprehend says:

      Read the original article. School districts are cancelling classes, not the teachers. The local boards of education are so fed up with the "reforms" of Gov. Jindal that they are willing to pay for teachers to go lobby on their behalf.

      Is it still a union action when management gives you the day off and pays you?

      The Heritage Foundation writes this article and even gives you the link to the original to check it. It is like they are daring you to do a little research and find out that they are actually LYING to you. Most of you are not smart enough to figure it out. I wish we could go back in time and fire whoever taught you READING COMPREHENSION because they failed miserably.

      Keep drinking the kool-aid!

      • Bobbie says:

        oh really? that pay is coming out of management pockets? teachers taking their paid time away from their paid job to go out of their way to protest? The teachers that did, took advantage without dispute and all at the expense of the children and their tax paying parents regardless of where the opportunity shouldn't have come from or even considered, also ruining propriety! Reading comprehension? It may be called that but I read none from your writing and if your's is the example of what people call reading comprehension, you've been cheated severely. Think things through to avoid failing miserably.

    25. David Woods says:

      Teachers are getting screwed. Period

    26. Laparent says:

      As a parent in Louisiana, I back my governor all the way. I have read over the comments, some I agree and some I don't. I am a parent of an add child. When he was in third grade his teachers did not teach him anything. And he was a very good child and did not act up in class. I talked to the principle on several occasions about how he was not improving at all. We worked with him at home and was a struggle. The principle did nothing. He has been struggling since then. I think the teachers need to put their cell phones up at school and quit texting, yes this goes on here. Half the teachers could care less about our children. They go for a paycheck. They do need competition here. Alot of them are not worried because if the bill doesn't pass then they can continue to text and talk on the phone all during class when our children should be in there learning. And not have to worry about losing their job. Why should their profession be protected? Other people who don't do their job get fired right? I really hate the good teachers have to go through this just to weed out the bad ones.

    27. Talkgirl says:

      Waiting For SUperman, anyone?__Only poor teachers would be afraid of being paid on their performance. Public Education is dead, but we still keep trying to resesutate it- it is time for innovation and moving away from the factory line mentality- for students AND teachers both…..

    28. fanofdave says:

      La. sate lawmakers generally don't hold hearings over the weekend or on religious holidays.

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