Saturday, May 15, 2010

Teacher tenure attack collapses

A state representative's effort to curb teacher tenure in Louisiana came to a screeching halt on Wednesday when the lawmaker realized that no one had his back.

Well, almost no one. But we'll get to that.

Rep. Steve Carter (R-Baton Rouge) said that he introduced HB 1250 at the request of school principals. The administrators had told him horror stories about tenured teachers, Carter said, and he wanted to streamline the process of termination.

Among the canards foisted onto Carter was the false assertion that it takes three years to terminate an unsatisfactory teacher.

Carter's bill would have given principals the authority to recommend that school boards terminate teachers. Currently, only the superintendent can make that call, upon a principal's recommendation.

It also would have stripped a teacher's right to be paid for time lost if termination is reversed by a court of law.

The big surprise came when Carter took the witness table in front of the House Education Committee to introduce his bill. He simply asked the panel to shelve it.

Carter said that none of the principals who told him they really, really needed his bill showed up to support him before the committee.

“I told them that I would bring the bill if they would stand behind me,” Carter said. "When I called them they said they were busy and couldn't do it.”

As it turned out, the only support Carter had for his bill came from the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and the Council for a Better Louisiana.

So the score in support of Carter's bill came out: educators, zero; shills for big business, two.

Advocate reporter Will Sentell covered the meeting for this story.

Learn moe about the LFT's position onteacher tenure - please click here.

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