Of the 35,000 classroom teachers who taught Louisiana public school children during the 2010-2011 school year, 165 (less than half of 1 percent) were labeled “unsatisfactory. Of those 165 poor performing teachers, 86 were terminated from their jobs.
Statistics like these are among the reasons why state Superintendent of Education John White is selling Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposals to overhaul public education in Louisiana, plans that include eliminating teacher tenure, linking teacher pay to student performance and eliminating seniority in personnel decisions.
According to the white paper released Monday by the state Department of Education, the proposed legislation “bars school board members from participating in hiring and firing decisions, thus designating local district superintendents and principals - those most familiar with the needs of schools and students - with the authority to make all personnel decisions and holding them accountable for student performance outcomes.”
“On the one hand, we’re holding our principals and local superintendents accountable for setting and meeting ambitious, but achievable, goals,” White says. “So, on the other hand we must empower them to effectively meet these objectives by giving them the freedom to reward our most effective teachers and school leaders.”
The proposals outlined in the white paper are as follows:
The proposed changes rely on the state’s new educator performance evaluation model, COMPASS, which will be fully implemented for all teachers and principals in the 2012-2013 school year. While the COMPASS model is designed to provide educators with qualitative and quantitative measures, including measures of student growth, and the law stipulates that teachers rated Ineffective for three years will not qualify for recertification, White said the proposed measures go a step further by linking performance measures and outcomes to hiring, retention, and compensation decisions.
Hiring and Placement of Principals and Teachers Superintendents and principals would make all hiring and placement decisions without potential board interference under the new legislation. When considering the hiring of principals and teachers, managers would use objective evaluation information from previous evaluations to determine the best candidate.
Evaluation of Principals and Teachers Educators are now evaluated annually, as mandated by Act 54. Educators are provided with clear expectations, concrete feedback, and individualized supports to address identified weaknesses. Evaluations are now at least 50% objective, compared to the past when they were 100% subjective.
Retention of Principals and Teachers Under the proposed legislation, superintendents would be empowered to change compensation scales – using dollars traditionally awarded for advanced degrees and years of service – to instead fund increases for excellent performance or academic preparation in hard-to-staff subject areas, like math or science. No teacher’s current salary would be decreased under this legislation, and raises would still be given for years of experience. However, ineffective teachers would not be given raises.
Improvement, Tenure, and Dismissal of Principals and Teachers Teachers rated Ineffective would lose their tenure status under the new legislation, but all other current tenured teachers would retain tenure. Under current law, Ineffective teachers can grieve their rating under the Act 54 grievance procedure and their tenure would be reinstated if their Ineffective rating is overturned. For new teachers, or for veterans who have lost tenure status, tenure is reserved for those educators receiving five consecutive Highly Effective ratings. Under Act 54, a teacher rated Ineffective is placed on an improvement plan and given supports in order to get better. A second consecutive rating of Ineffective would allow a district to dismiss the teacher. If the teacher is not dismissed but receives a third Ineffective rating within a certification period, the state will not renew the teacher’s certificate to teach in Louisiana.
Reductions in Force Superintendents must protect and retain their most effective educators under the new legislation, even during a layoff situation. No longer may seniority be a factor in layoffs; effectiveness must be the primary consideration in any reduction of force.
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AUG 27 Columnist Stephanie Grace is writing about those bosom buddies (not), Bobby Jindal and David Vitter, in this post. On the one hand, the two politicians have so much in common, it's hard to tell them apart, she says. But Vitter has taken pains to distance himself from the governor, she says.
AUG 27 This post by blogger Katie East on DIG Baton Rouge is (unfortunately) an accurate reflection of many Americans' experience with our health care system. She has to be impatient, to be "bitchy," to fight to get her physicians to take her seriously. We have the most expensive health care in the world, and East has to use Wikipedia (and her mom) to get a CAT scan? Really?
AUG 27 State retirees who get their health coverage through the state can look forward to paying more for premiums, drugs and out of pocket costs, blogger Tom Aswell tells us in this post. The problem is that Bobby Jindal's plan to privatize the system has resulted in a monthly $16 million deficit, Aswell says, so Bobby's trying to price retirees out of the system.
AUG 27 This post on The Lens takes a look at the so-called "stand your ground" laws that are common across the United States, including in Louisiana. But even though they exist in most states, the enforcement of these laws hasn't been consistent, the story reports.
AUG 27 Blogger CB Forgotston is bumping up against shrill in this post, when he's talking about the taxpayer-funded house where State Police Commander Mike Edmonson lives on your dime. For instance, CB's complaining about the "servants," but the story he links to here reports that a convict cleans the house. CB also calls it a "mansion" but it sure looks more like a standard brick suburban house.
AUG 27 This story on WWL is about some college students who have created a nail polish that can detect date rape drugs. That's really cool, but the real story is in the comments from female college students who say that date rape is routine in college. Hello? Not OK. Can we do something about that, please?
AUG 27 Columnist Rolfe McCollister pays tribute to Robin Williams in this post on Baton Rouge Business Report. In particular, he's reminding us of some of the actor's best lines from Dead Poets Society, one of Williams' most beloved roles.
AUG 27 The woman's right to vote is celebrated this week, but in Louisiana, Women's Equality Day has a different relevance, this post on NOLA Defender tells us. Even though more than 60 percent of the women in this state are the sole bread winner for their household, we still can't do right by them.
AUG 26 Here's blogger Ian McGibboney's take on the great NFL-Slap Ya Mama controversy of 2014. Ian's explanation of the expression is a lot better (and more accurate) than the PR nonsense that has come out, and he also raises a pretty good question: can Boudreaux's Butt Paste be far behind? (Wups! No pun intended...)
AUG 26 Sen. Elbert Guillory's bill aimed at preventing "armed and incapacitated geezers" from working as Justices of the Peace was a huge joke, columnist James Gill writes in this post. Nobody knows who really called Guillory asking for it, nor who sent him the text for it, but they certainly got a lot of mileage out of one phone call, Gill says.
AUG 26 This post on the NOLA Defender blog takes a look at the recent decision by the NFL to cancel the advertising it previously accepted from the "Slap Ya Mama" seasoning. In light of recent events in which the NFL's ability to take domestic violence seriously was questioned, the league felt it wasn't a good idea, the post reports. The best part of this (kinda ridiculous) story, however, is the explanation the PR people give for the expression.
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