Friday, May 7, 2010

Committee approves misleading, misnamed bill

The misleading and misnamed “Red Tape Reduction and Local Empowerment Waiver Program” was approved by the House Education Committee on Thursday over the objections of teacher and school employee representatives.

By a vote of 12 to three, the committee gave the nod to a bill that could:

  • Water down teachers’ tenure protections
  • Allow increased class size
  • Eliminate teacher salary schedules in favor of “performance based pay”
  • Discourage hiring veteran teachers by adopting “student-based budgeting”
  • Give principals control over budgets, including salaries, supplies, resources, etc.

The bill, HB 1368 by Rep. Jane Smith (R-Bossier City) is the centerpiece of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s education agenda this year. If eventually passed by both houses of the legislature, it will allow school superintendents to apply for waivers for virtually any law governing Louisiana schools.

LFT President Steve Monaghan spoke against the bill, calling it badly flawed and fraught with unintended consequences.

Far from solving problems of “red tape” in the classroom, Monaghan said, the bill does nothing to empower teachers and school employees.

“Let’s be clear,” Monaghan said. “In this bill, teachers and school employees are inconsequential to the process and are apparently considered less than relevant.”

To read the rest of this article, please click here.

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