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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NOV 26 Zach Kopplin, who we came to know and love when he was a Louisiana high school student lobbying for the continued inclusion of science stuff in science class, pens this post in The Atlantic about a "textbook" available for social studies instruction in Texas that discusses how Moses contributed to the Constitution. (Oy! Texas rednecks love Jews. Who knew?)
NOV 26 Finally, mad people on the interwebz is a good thing! World wide webby outrage has caused the village of Moreauville to reverse its plan to confiscate pit bulls and Rottweillers and euthanize them simply because of their breed, WAFB reports here. The plan? They're going to enforce the leash law. Well, that would have been a good place to start.
NOV 26 Jim Brown, like many of us Louisiana voters, seems fed up with out of town know-it-alls trying to tell us what to do. Bill Cassidy can't make it through the day without flying someone in to "tell us political retards" how to vote, he says.
NOV 26 Blogger Tom Aswell is writing about the behavior of the two finalists in the 6th Congressional District race: Edwin Edwards and Garret Graves. Edwards has come out swinging, but Graves' campaign seems bent on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, Tom says.
NOV 26 Unless you're in Virigina, you shouldn't count on seeing our Governor on Election Day. Mark Ballard writes in the Advocate's political blog that Bobby will be appearing at a GOP love fest of some kind there, instead of spending the day here.
NOV 26 This post on The Lens takes a look at the ongoing dispute in New Orleans over the banners about the upcoming tax election for the school system. The banners are hanging on schools, and some feel they are promotional, which is not allowed, instead of educational - which is allowed.
NOV 26 Not all college students are focused on football games and parties at this time of year. This post on DIG Baton Rouge recounts an LSU student group that tries to make sure that those who are hungry and homeless are not forgotten by those of us who aren't.
NOV 25 Edwin Edwards took off the gloves on Monday, this post on WAFB tells us. At a Press Club appearance, he wondered how his 6th Congressional District opponent, Garret Graves, could be an expert in all the areas in which he claims to be - when he has no college degree in anything. (Five years - FIVE YEARS - in college, but no degree. Huh?)
NOV 25 Blogger Mike Deshotels offers this primer on predatory charter schools and how they operate, specifically in Louisiana. They're not just profiting from our tax dollars, they're using children and shortchanging them to do so, Deshotels says.
NOV 25 Here's a link to the petition that has been created to save Zeus, a family dog who is targeted for death by the learned fathers of the Avoyelles Parish village of Moreauville. They passed an ordinance based on nothing that outlaws pit bulls and Rotweillers. As of Tuesday morning, the petition had more than 230,000 signatures - a number that's a wee bit higher than the village population of 929.
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