Friday, May 8, 2009

Vaguely worded bill approved by trusting panel members

The extremely trusting members of the House Education Committee have approved a vaguely worded bill pertaining to the state Recovery School District, even though the bill’s author could provide no details about it.

HB 752 by Rep. Austin Badon (D-New Orleans) would allow the RSD to enroll students “in a virtual or cyber school or educational program.”

When committee members asked Badon – who is also the chairman of the committee – about the meaning of the bill, he said that he had no answers for them. He asked members to approve the bill, and said that he would provide more information before it comes to a vote before the full House of Representatives.

Testifying against the bill, LFT President Steve Monaghan urged caution, noting the vagueness of the bill and its serious policy implications. Monaghan noted that there is a national proliferation of virtual schools which channel millions of dollars to private educational contractors.

Badon was accompanied at the witness table an attorney from the Adams and Reese law firm, which formerly employed State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek. Sources said that the firm has represented Edison schools, a private educational contractor.

In his closing comments, Badon repeated that he would work out the bill’s details once it was approved by his committee. It was unanimously approved and sent to the full House for further action.

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