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 29 Everyone who cares about Louisiana should take time to peruse this story about coastal loss from Bob Marshall of The Lens. It's not enough to call it a story; it's an interactive experience packed with data and amazing graphics, timelines, history, photos and excellent writing. Set aside some time, because you can't go through this one in a few minutes.
JUN 29 This bizarre story from the Advocate on the shooting of a Baton Rouge television personality reads like the script of a soap opera - but not a good one. The allegations against him include sexual abuse of children, including the alleged shooter, and a sham immigration marriage involving his own daughter. The other side? He was a chaplin for the Sheriff's Office in Baton Rouge and preached in a local church.
AUG 29 Here's a story from CBS News about a killer amoeba found in the water system of St. John the Baptist Parish. The story made all three networks (CBS, ABC, NBC) as well as Fox "News," although they have not yet found out how it is Obama's fault. Seriously, the good news is that so far officials know of no one sickened by the water.
AUG 29 Huffington Post has a blog called Love Letters, which is grandly described as "an anthology of reflections on places the world over." This entry is from LSU Football Coach Les Miles, who, it appears, loves Baton Rouge. (Of course he does; he's a rich straight white man.) And certainly Baton Rouge loves him - unless he loses (ask Curley "Golden Flake" Hallman about that) or leaves (ask Nick Saban).
AUG 29 Blogger Bob Mann comments here upon Governor Bobby Jindal's federal lawsuit about Common Core. Mann calls it a "thinly veiled campaign document" and that might be the nicest thing he says in this post. Most troubling for Jindal and his aspirations, Mann has unearthed what Bobby said just a few years ago when he first decided to shove Common Core down our throats.
AUG 29 Blogger Tom Aswell has several developments here related to the so-called Edmonson amendment. The most entertaining one is possibly Tom's acknowledgement that a State Police official is (allegedly) calling the bloggers covering the story some colorful names. Listen up, cowboy: You really think two veterans like Tom Aswell and CB Forgotston care if you call them idiots?
AUG 29 Gotta love those journalists who write something with the enthusiasm that implies they're the first one to figure something out. Mostly, they're not. This is one of those times; the post on Slate Magazine says that Bobby Jindal's Common Core lawsuit is a political stunt. Well - Duh.
AUG 29 This story by WVLA tells us about a guy who got busted for speeding in Baton Rouge. Who cares? This guy took that infraction to new heights by going 129 miles per hour on Nicholson Drive. Poor fella - he probably has spent so much time sitting in Baton Rouge traffic he just had to cut lose.
AUG 28 As the controversy surrounding the Office of Group Benefits intensifies, blogger Tom Aswell gives us some background on the current problems. The OGB, which handles health insurance for current and retired state employees, is deep in the red since it was privatized by Jindal, and Aswell gives us the skinny: this great plan was designed by ALEC. The company handling it? Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana - a longtime member of ALEC.
AUG 28 Blogger CB Forgotston has a concept for a new reality show: the wives of the "Dork Dynasty." That's the name that some troopers have given to State Police Commander Mike Edmonson and his inner circle. The ladies CB has picked for his cast are not just housewives, however, and the connections here are pretty interesting.
AUG 28 Blogger Ian McGibboney is writing about the strife in Ferguson in this post, and articulating what many people down south are saying. There's a fairy tale about how there's tons of racism in the South, but it's all hunky dory up North. (Really? Look again.)
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