Local teachers continue to react to Jindal's education plan

Teachers still concerned

Governor Bobby Jindal's education reform is quickly making its way through the capitol, and the faster it goes, the angrier teachers across the state become.

The education bills passing through the capitol right now are going to make drastic changes in Louisiana's school system if passed.

Glenn Long is a high school teacher at South Beauregard High School, and he teaches Social Studies, which includes Civics. He's been teaching for over a decade.

The capitol steps held teachers from across the state this week as they protested Governor Jindal's education reform. Long says the whole process is difficult.

"This hits home for me because I teach Civics, and government is very important," said Long. "And these people in Baton Rouge could have scheduled these committee hearings for Saturday."

Louisiana is ranked 48th in education, and Jindal's reform is set to improve that number, but at what cost?

"It's not education reform," said Long. "It's employment reform."

Teachers will be held solely accountable for a child's poor performance.

"I have no problem being held accountable; in fact I welcome being held accountable," said Long. "My problem is I don't have the students 24 hours a day."

Long says he knows many parents out there that help their children with homework daily, but not every child is as fortunate.

"For every parent that does, there's a parent that doesn't," said Long. "All of those kids come into our classroom. We teach every child that walks through our door no matter what their baggage is when they walk through that door."

Teachers are concerned about their job security. Under the new plan, all tenure rights will be lost if a teacher is rated ineffective, and to receive tenure teachers must be rated highly effective for five straight years. Long says education reform is needed, but not at this rate.

"The question is, if they're in such a hurry, why," said Long. "Nobody seems to be asking that question. What's the rush?"

Long says he supported the governor in the past, but not now.

"The man in the governor's mansion today is not the man I voted for," said Long.

Long says he's almost certain the vote will come before the house on Tuesday, a day during standardized testing for the state of Louisiana, meaning a day the teachers can't be in Baton Rouge to support their side of the controversy.

Also included in this reform plan are changes in personnel recommendations from school superintendents.  School boards are no longer allowed to reject recommendations from superintendents.

School of choice and the voucher system is also  in question. Jindal says the "money should follow the student" whether a parents wants to send their children to public, private or charter schools.  Minimum Foundation Program funds will be put towards private school vouchers, which is a direct violation of the state constitution according to the Louisiana Federation of Teachers.

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