Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tangi board and union find common bond: both oppose Pastorek

In the old days, they called it Bloody Tangipaho', and it was the kind of place where you didn't pick a fight lightly. Now the Tangipahoa Parish School Board is ready for a real tussle.

Board members believe this fight was picked by State Superintendent of Schools Paul Pastorek, whose legislative agenda includes term limits and loss of salaries for school board members, as well as a diminution of board authority.

And according to this article by Advocate reporter JoAnna K. Burnett, Pastorek's agenda has forged something of an alliance between the school board and Tangipahoa Federation of Teachers President Doris Flanagan.

Why is that? Part of the legislative agenda would exclude school boards from holding tenure hearings (read more about the attack on tenure rights here). To the union leader, that represents a loss of important due process rights for educators. To board members, it is an assault on their official responsibilities.

The Tangipaghoa board was the first to hit back at Pastorek's challenge. There are 69 others in the state. Together, they wield considerable political clout.

Pastorek, who has openly stated that he believes school boards are a big obstacle to school reform, is to address the Louisiana School Boards Association at their annual convention in Lake Charles on Friday. The newspapers should have an interesting story to tell.

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