Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Stop the madness of the Jindal Plan

The assault waged by politicians against public school teachers is an outrage. Public-school teachers are the glue that holds this country together.

Take away public-school teachers from our society, and America will sink faster than a bag of bricks in the Mississippi River.

Public-school teachers work long hours, nights, weekends and during the summers.

Many hold graduate degrees paid for by student loans.

They work to individualize instruction to address the needs of diverse student populations and daily meet rigorous standards of evaluation.

In addition, they are deeply involved in the community and care about children. Every teacher I know is the salt of the Earth.

Starting Monday, though, a full-court press is being made in the Legislature to pass the Jindal Plan, a package of bills that will attack the structure of Louisiana public schools and harm teachers and students.

It’s an unwise plan.

The goals include killing teacher tenure, beginning a poorly planned teacher-evaluation program, starting untested charter schools statewide and ushering in vouchers to give away public tax money to private entities, among other doomed education schemes.

This is the view asserted from a variety of respected education policy experts.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of the Jindal Plan is the goal to pass all of the key bills by the end of the week, before teachers and parents can wake up and realize what has happened. It’s an utter disgrace to ram through sweeping legislation without ample public debate.

So, what can we do to help failing public schools?

First, keep the current school-accountability plans and teacher-evaluation guidelines. Last year, Jindal was praising the state’s educational gains, but now his political goals have changed and so has his tune.

Second, provide pre-K funding for every community and every student in Louisiana.

Third, increase the Minimum Funding Plan this year for the first time in several years. Last, stop the insanity called the Jindal Plan.

Louisiana public-schools are making gains despite being given level funding from the state for the fourth year in a row. But if the Jindal Plan passes, the traditional public schools will be starved of even more funds.

Residents have less than one week to defend the public schools, or these schools will be a thing of the past.

If we don’t let the governor and legislators hear what we think, teachers, students, parents and communities will wonder what hit them.

Dayne Sherman
Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 6:01 a.m., Houma Courier
If you are not happy with the Jindal Education Plan (or perhaps you are), let people know about it.
Contact information for Louisiana Senators: http://senate.la.gov/senators/Offices.asp
Contact information for Louisiana State Representatives (House): http://house.louisiana.gov/H_Reps/H_Reps_FullInfo.asp
The most important people are your 2 legislators and the members of the House and Senate Education Committees.

House Education Committee: http://house.louisiana.gov/H_Cmtes/H_Cmte_ED.asp

Senate Education Committee: http://senate.legis.state.la.us/Education/Assignments.asp

“Who are your state Senators and Representatives?”
http://www.legis.la.gov/ - Go to the bottom of the webpage. Click on the question and type in your address.

Contact information for the Louisiana Governor:
Gov. Bobby Jindal
PO Box 94004
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9004
Phone: 225-342-7015 / 1 866-366-1121 (Toll Free)
Fax: 225-342-7099
E-mail form: http://www.gov.la.gov/index.cfm?md=form&tmp=email_governor