Wednesday, July 20, 2011
By The Independent Staff
Holly Boffy, a retired Lafayette Parish public school teacher, is running for the southwest Louisiana seat on the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Last week she ensured that she probably won’t be pulling too many votes from the ranks of her former colleagues by calling for an end to the tenure system for teachers in Louisiana public schools. The 2010 Louisiana teacher of the year recognized for her work at Paul Breaux Middle School — she currently works for the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana — Boffy told members of the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge last week, according to The Advocate, that “We need to get rid of it as soon as we possibly can.” The position, which is in line with BESE member Chas Roemer’s failed bid earlier this year to abolish tenure, is likely to raise the hackles of state teacher unions, which have energetically defended the antiquated policy. Tenure effectively grants public school teachers lifetime immunity from termination after they’ve worked for only three years and meet certain standards. For most career educators, that’s the first three years of employment following graduation from college — surely an insufficient time frame in which to evaluate whether a teacher will be effective and engaged for the long term. Moreover, while Louisiana has a plenitude of great teachers, we have our share of dead weight as well — educators who should not be in the classroom. Tenure needs to be abolished, replaced by a merit-based system for evaluating teachers and determining whether they’re earning their pay or simply collecting a paycheck.
It has become dogma within the Republican Party that private enterprise always provides goods and services better and more efficiently than the public sector. But when faced with reality, even the GOP-controlled Louisiana Legislature balked at Gov. Bobby Jindal’s push to sell the state-run Office of Group Benefits to a private firm. The OGB handles health insurance plans for about a quarter million current and retired state employees and their dependents, and, more important, has a half billion-dollar surplus — inarguably a mark of a successfully run operation. An analysis conducted last spring by a New Orleans firm, which the Jindal administration tried to keep under wraps until the Legislature issued a subpoena for it, found that privatizing the plan would likely lead to higher premiums. But, cleaving to the dogma or simply spit-shining his conservative résumé for future campaigns, Jindal has doggedly pursued this unnecessary boondoggle, waiting until lawmakers returned home from the session to issue a request for bids by private firms to evaluate the efficacy of privatizing OGB. Over the weekend we learned that Morgan Keegan was the low bidder at $900,000. The administration insists this is merely a means of gauging whether privatization is fiscally prudent. Yeah, right. There is so much not to like in all this, not the least of which is the likelihood that Morgan Keegan will find exactly what Jindal wants them to. After all, public sector employees, by their very association with government, are bad right?
"Although the administration is moving forward with climate change regulations at home, we don't consider how policy decisions in the United States impact greenhouse gas emissions in other parts of the world," says Roger Martella, the former general counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush.
Louisiana agriculture officials say prices for long-grain rice are projected to drop this year.
First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending July 19 decreased from the previous week's total.
A judge is getting ready to set a new trial date for a former BP executive charged with obstructing a congressional investigation into the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The sponsor of a Louisiana law that requires doctors that perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges doesn't believe the provision is in jeopardy after a federal appeals court struck down a similar Mississippi law.
Louisiana's state school board has jumped into a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal that accuses the governor of illegally meddling in education policy through his efforts to block Common Core education standards.
Here's how one nationally recognized conservative political pundit reacted upon hearing the news Monday that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was leaning toward an endorsement of Louisiana’s lone Democrat senator.
If President Barack Obama’s poll numbers, and those for his health care law, haven’t yet bottomed out in the Bayou State, then Democrats surely don’t want to know what the statistical floor actually looks like.
Midsouth Bank has released its second quarter earnings report, showing a year-over-year increase for shareholders.
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The deadline to purchase tickets for the 2014 ABiz Top 50 Business Luncheon featuring top-selling author, political activist and Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig is only two weeks away.
With the qualifying deadline for Lafayette Parish School Board elections quickly approaching, a series of candidate forums have been announced by the Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council.
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Louisiana's state school board is holding a special meeting to consider whether to sue Gov. Bobby Jindal in an ongoing dispute over the Common Core education standards.
A bipartisan congressional deal to help improve veterans' health care access includes approval for new veterans clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles.
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It wouldn’t be a first, however, as the Chamber has thrown money behind Landrieu before.
The Democratic incumbent, seeking her fourth term in office, is a strong supporter of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance exports of U.S. companies.
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The world is a politically tense place these days with hot spots ranging from the Middle East to Ukraine. In Louisiana and Mississippi, where the political chessboard tends to be a lot less threatening and at times entertaining, this election season is living up to expectations.
As this year’s budget process slogs forward and the Lafayette Parish School Board maintains its hard-headed stance against using any of its more than $60 million reserve fund, another slate of critical programs have rolled through the chopping block, despite the ramifications for the school system.
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Louisiana has joined nine other states in support of Indiana’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that the Hoosier State’s ban on sam-sex marriage violates the Constitution.
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