Friday, March 16, 2012

Teachers Get A Failing Grade

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal has proposed a wide-ranging plan for reforming the state's public schools. Lawmakers are holding hearings on the plan, which, among other things, expands a voucher program for parents to send their children to private rather than public schools, and seeks to hold teachers responsible for student performance.

In response, Louisiana teachers have closed down schools and swarmed the capital in protest.

Louisiana Teachers Cancel Class to Protest Education Reform Bill
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal is moving ahead with education reform--but it isn't without controversy.

Later this week, on Wednesday and Thursday, education committees in both houses of the state legislature will be considering the governor's proposed package. The reforms include moving toward a voucher program, eliminating teacher tenure programs, and changes in teachers' pay.

And so, in response to these reforms even being considered, "at least three school districts are canceling classes and telling children to stay home to allow school employees the chance to lobby the legislature," according to Aaron Baer, the governor's deputy communications director.

... And they are going to the state capital with union support:

Leaders of the state’s two largest teacher unions, who oppose most of the governor’s plan, say they expect significant turnouts this week, primarily to protest the possibility of fast action on bills that they say are seriously flawed.

The teachers are canceling class under the pretense of "professional development" days...
Oh please. '"Professional development days" are shorthand for "teachers taking the day off with pay."

Without a doubt, Louisiana teachers need all the professional development they can get. Almost half (44%) of Louisiana’s public schools received a grade or D or F last year on a battery of state standardized exams. Here's a snapshot of how they are doing compared to the rest of the country.
4th Grade Reading - 47th
4th Grade Math - 48th

8th Grade Reading - 48th
8th Grade Math - 46th
And what is the teachers union's response? Here's the money quote:
President of the Red River United Federation of Teachers, Jackie Lansdale, was one of the teachers who testified during the House committee hearing. She thinks the plan to reward teachers based on student achievement and remove teachers who teach under-performing students is unfair.
In just about any other field, workers that are responsible for poor output are punished, not rewarded.

I get that teachers aren't solely responsible for the performance of their students. I am, after all, also a teacher. But when you get right down to it that's what we're being paid for. When a state consistently ranks in the bottom 10 percent in almost every measure, something definitely needs to be changed.

That should be obvious, even to teachers...


Pascvaks said...

The answer to the Problem is -

a. Term Limits for all Elected Officials

b. Expiration Dates on Laws

c. Public Employees Cannot Strike

d. Both a. and b. above

e. All of the above


CenTexTim said...

I like "e."