Monday, March 19, 2012

Three ways to stop the Jindal agenda

Gov. Jindal’s anti-public education, anti-teacher agenda: Tell your Senator and Representative to vote NO on these bills: HB 974 and SB603, and HB976 and SB 597

By now you know how educators were disrespected at the State Capitol on March 14 and 15. Thousands were turned away at the door while the House and Senate Education Committees marched almost lockstep to approve the Jindal agenda. The few lawmakers who stood with us were railroaded by the most extreme display of executive overreach since Huey Long.

It’s important for the rest of the Legislature to hear from the voters before these bills become law. They have the potential to destroy public education and our profession. Here are 3 things you can do right now to help derail Gov. Jindal’s train before public education and the teaching profession are damaged beyond repair.

1. Click here and send an e-mail message to your Senator and Representative, telling them about your opposition to the bills.

2. Call your Senator and Representative.

Your Senator’s contact information is here, and your Representatives information is here. If you don’t know who they are, click here to find out.

Using the information listed below, explain to them that you are a voter in their district and you oppose these bills.

3. Send this link to everyone in your address book – legislators need to hear from as many people as possible!

Here’s what is at stake with these bills:

HB 974/SB 603: Attacks on the teaching profession

If these bills pass, virtually all personnel decisions will be based on the controversial new ‘Value Added Model” of teacher evaluation.

  • There will never be another across-the-board pay raise, and no more salary schedule for new teachers. Local superintendents will decide how much each teacher and school employee will earn, largely based on evaluations.

  • Any teacher who receives an ”ineffective” rating even once will be ineligible for pay raises, will lose tenure rights and will be considered an “at will” employee who can be fired immediately.

  • Teachers will have to be rated “highly effective” for five straight years to earn tenure. The architect of Gov. Jindal’s Value Added evaluation program says that is nearly impossible to do.

  • In dismissal proceedings, teachers have no right to a list of specific charges, may not appeal to the school board, and have only 60 days to lodge an appeal, instead of the current one-year limitation. Language requiring teachers to be found guilty is removed.

HB 976/SB 597: The destruction of public education

These bills will use the funding process to virtually abolish public education. Your tax dollars will be spent on private and religious schools, virtual schools, home schools and charter schools created by corporations, businesses and industry providers.

  • These bills violate the State Constitution, which says that Minimum Foundation Program funds can only be used for “public elementary and secondary schools.”

  • Tax money approved by voters for local salaries, construction and maintenance will go to these schools, even if the schools are in a different city or parish.

  • The only requirement to teach in these schools will be a Bachelor’s degree – no certification will be necessary.

  • The only fiscal oversight for these new charter schools is an annual report to the unelected charter authorizer, not to BESE or the local school board.

  • Online teachers from anywhere in the world will automatically be certified as Louisiana teachers. These online teachers will NOT be subject to Louisiana teacher evaluations or accountability.

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