Small Victories for Education

The 2016 regular session has just a little more than a week left, but for the most part, the bills addressing education concerns are done. Looking back at the 2016 Regular Session, it is pretty clear that the gap between party lines is much larger than in years past. Though newly elected governor, John Bel Edwards, did manage to get a few of the bills on his agenda passed, it was still a very difficult year, for him. With bills addressing vouchers, charter schools, academic standards and teacher evaluations, the governor’s education package suffered many blows from the beginning. Nearly Read More …

Update on New Teacher Evaluation and other happenings

May 3rd, 4th and 5th were probably the most frustrating, disappointing and exciting days that I’ve spent in the legislature. Tuesday, May 3rd, the House Education Committee heard a bill submitted by committee chairperson, Nancy Landry. This bill would allow a school district to reduce a teacher’s salary under certain circumstances. Landry submitted the bill at the request of Lafayette Parish School Board member, Justin Centanni. Lafayette parish, at one time, had an alternative charter school for older students that ran on a 12 month calendar. LPSB provided the teachers and increased their pay accordingly for the extra months worked. Read More …

Hensgens and Geymann score one for the team.

On Wednesday, April 27th, the House and Governmental Affairs committee of the Louisiana Legislature heard HB-473, a bill submitted by Representative Bob Hensgens related to BESE Ethics. The bill has a history in the House. In the 2014 regular session, former representative, Brett Geymann, filed the bill which quickly gained momentum in the House, but when it got to the Senate, it was killed by former governor Bobby  Jindal’s cronies. In the 2015 session, the bill was reintroduced by Geymann’s friend, and ally, Rep. Bob Hensgens. The bill had a strong likelihood of passage, but ultimately became the leverage that Read More …

Sign the petition for fair teacher evaluations

[do_widget id=dk_speakout_petition_widget-3] Dear Members of the Education Committee, We believe that professional educators deserve an evaluation plan that is fair and yields valid results with total transparency. Since 2011, the great state of Louisiana has utilized the “Value-Added Model,” also known as VAM. This model is unreliable and invalid. It has resulted in hundreds of quality educators being terminated, or choosing to leave the profession, because they were unjustly labeled as “ineffective.” We urge you to consider the bills before you that redesign the teacher evaluation plan using multiple forms of measurement with no more than 25% of an evaluation Read More …

Is 2016 a LEAP year?

Parental concerns about federally mandated tests and Common Core State Standards continues to be on the rise. Everyday, my inboxes and social media feeds are clogged with questions about the fast approaching Louisiana state assessment. Let me set the record straight. 2016 is, indeed, a LEAP year. February, in fact, had twenty-nine days this year; however, any other reference to 2016 being a LEAP year is pure deceit and intended to confuse. A tremendous amount of incorrect information is floating around, and it can easily be determined that this is not only coming from the state level, but also the district, Read More …

Opt-Out 2016: Parents, Know Your Rights

It is Springtime in Louisiana, and for teachers, students and parents, that is an indicator that statewide assessment are just around the corner. As many of you know, last year’s assessments were marred by a growing number of parents protesting against the chosen assessment known as PARCC. This movement wasn’t, and still isn’t, limited to Louisiana. The resistance to statewide assessment has grown exponentially across the country, largely driven by opposition to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the two primary assessment instruments developed by Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). Experts Read More …

Educate to Advocate

On Sunday, February 14th, the Louisiana Legislature commenced the first extraordinary legislative session. It will be over in three weeks. Then, less than a week later, the regular session will begin. With a new governor at the helm, and all of the political posturing taking place, this year’s session is sure to be interesting. I thought it would be a good time to talk about advocating. I’m going to talk briefly about advocating, in general, and explain the legislative process, then explain a little further from the position of a teacher and the position of a parent/community member. In a Read More …

JBE: Broken promises; or not?

Like most of the folks in Louisiana who have fought against Common Core and various forms of education reforms, I have watched and followed newly elected Governor, John Bel Edwards, very closely. Why? Because for 8 years in the legislature he fought against the same reforms that we were fighting, and throughout his campaign, he repeatedly stated the changes he would make, if elected. Here we sit, three weeks into his role as governor, and we’ve not seen any definitive statements, or heard even an inkling of reassurance that he is going to keep his commitment. Now, there has been Read More …

Act 1: Repair and Recovery

In the previous blog, Act 1: Damage Done, I attempted to illustrate how and why the teacher evaluation plan outlined in Act 1 is invalid and damaging to the teaching profession. The main reasons being: The design of the VAM is not being adhered to. The cost of adminstering VAM as it is designed would be prohibitive. The understanding and implementation of the design across the state is so varied that the results are completely contradictory to its purpose. The premise behind the design of VAM is truly admirable, but the idea that a teacher’s effectiveness can be measured to Read More …

Act 1: Damage Done

While the content of this blog appears to be directed at teachers, it is just as important to parents of children in public school. The intent is to illustrate an incorrect and invalid method of labeling teachers as “ineffective,” which, in turn, incorrectly and invalidly assesses your child. The History In the 2012 regular session, Louisiana legislators passed House Bill 974 which, when enacted, became Act 1. Many people refer to the passing of this bill as the beginning of the destruction of the teaching profession. The bill was a direct response to meeting the requirements to qualify for President Obama’s Read More …