Teachers voice concerns to Kleckley, White

Teacher meeting

BATON ROUGE, LA (KPLC) - Teachers from across Calcasieu Parish traveled to Baton Rouge Tuesday to speak out against Governor Bobby Jindal's education reform.

Many protested on the capitol steps, but some were able to voice their concerns inside the building.

The meeting was made private. That meeting was between seven Calcasieu Parish educators, house speaker Chuck Kleckley and state superintendent of education John White.

Both sides felt to some degree that it was a step in the right direction.

"There's a misconception that somehow there is an attempt to dismantle public education," said White. "The majority of our kids are going to continue to be served by public education and we're rooting for public education."

The group met for an hour to discuss Governor Jindal's education reform. The teachers wanted to voice their concerns, and they wanted Kleckley and White to listen. Teacher Michelle brown feels like the teachers were heard.

"The wonderful thing about it is that we had a civil discourse," said Brown. "Much, much, much, many problems were solved."

Two of the main issues discussed were the voucher system and the teacher evaluation program. While many teachers agree Louisiana's education needs reform, they don't agree on these two ideas in the current reform plan.

"We didn't agree on all of the issues, obviously," said S J Welsh assistant principal Troy Stephens. "But I think both of them were very willing to hear our concerns."

Speaker Kleckley felt the meeting was necessary after receiving numerous phone calls from concerned educators. He felt the meeting was what they deserved.

"There's a lot of misinformation out there, and I think they wanted clarification of what's going on," said Kleckley. "They wanted to understand how the process is going to happen and how the process is going to work. They wanted clarification which they rightfully deserve."

Superintendent White felt the meeting was a success and felt that both he and Kleckley helped the teachers to better understand the education bills.

"I think we cleared up some misconceptions about these policies that are being put forward and the intentions of those policies," said White.

While most of the teachers in the meeting felt the impact was positive, some stated they still had minor concerns.

White made it clear this was a joint effort. He said they must work with the teachers, not against them.

The education reform bills made it through the House Education Committee and the House of Representatives.

They will land in the senate  education committee later this week or early next week.

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