LAE picks apart Jindal's education reform plan

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The state's biggest group of educators has picked apart Governor Bobby Jindal's plan to fix our failing public school system. They're refuting his ideas and offering a few of their own. Governor Jindal has made it clear; education reform is at the top of his agenda.

"It's unfair to allow any child ... To require any child to be trapped in a failing school," said Jindal.

Forty four percent of the state's schools failed to score an average. Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) President Joyce Haynes praises him for putting education first, but they don't think he is taking students down a path that will lead to success.

"You have RSD, supposed to be guinea pig for charter schools for state. But they're at the bottom when you look at test scores," said Haynes.

Jindal wants to give low income kids more options, including taking them out of failing schools. Haynes says using standardized tests scores to rate whether schools are making the grade is setting our state up to fail.

"I believe that is a small snap shot of what's going on," said Haynes.

LAE is proposing a multi-score approach plan which includes overhauling the way teachers are evaluated. It includes standardized test scores, but recommends grading student achievement through a peer review process.

"It is a craft and there are veteran teachers who can mentor new teacher," said Haynes.

Haynes wants the state to explore streamlining teacher tenures, and rather than cutting bonuses promised to teachers who show proven success in the classroom and removing those who do not, significant teacher pay raises should be included for those who set a higher standard.

"Those that get white collar salaries and look back need to remember teachers teach all professions, yet we pay them like they are slaves," said Haynes.

LAE is proposing that school support staff, teachers, parents, students and leaders, everyone should be held responsible for helping Louisiana Schools climb the grade scale. They're calling on Governor Jindal to host town hall meetings where everyone can get involved.

The LAE plans to present a detailed proposal to law makers this spring during legislative session.

Late Friday afternoon, Governor Bobby Jindal responded by saying:

"This is a blueprint to go backwards and keep Louisiana at the bottom in education. It's clear that some of these suggestions come from the national education union which goes to show you that Louisiana union leaders are taking their cues from Washington, D.C., not Louisiana teachers. Simply adding more money is not the answer. We are already wasting nearly a billion dollars of taxpayer money on failing schools. The reality is that we have increased K-12 funding over the past four years, but we need to be smarter about how we spend these dollars. We also shouldn't be watering down our teacher evaluation law. Teacher evaluations must be based on student achievement. It's common sense to reward good teachers and remove failing teachers who refuse to improve. Union leaders continue to ignore the needs of great teachers across the state and are holding them back from being rewarded. That's offensive to our teachers." - Gov. Bobby Jindal

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