Speaker Kleckley responds to teacher recall efforts

Speaker Kleckley recall

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Governor Bobby Jindal's education reform bills may have passed, but the effort by public school teachers to do something about hasn't stopped.

The effort to recall both House Speaker Chuck Kleckley and Governor Jindal was started by two Calcasieu Parish teachers after the education bills were introduced.

The response from Governor Jindal's administration has been little or none at all. But Speaker Kleckley has taken the opposite road, asking for support and offering explanations.

The voucher system and accountability issues. The two main issues discussed during Louisiana's education reform process, also two reasons for recall efforts.

"Before the recall started, we tried to get them to answer questions, to listen to our concerns, and we were kind of turned away at every opportunity we had to even speak with anybody," said teacher Vicky Johnston.

Yard signs are the newest addition to the recall efforts, all in hopes of stopping what they call "radical reform."

"A lot of the legislators keep saying that we are happy with the status quo," said teacher Anne Reeves. "That is not accurate. We want reform. We definitely need reform. But the type of reform that we want is responsible reform."

Speaker Kleckley seems to have tremendous support, including a letter in Sunday's American Press signed by many Lake Charles city and Calcasieu parish officials, as well as prominent business leaders.

"I represent a great district," said Speaker Kleckley. "I represent a district that in my opinion is one of the best districts in the state of Louisiana, and I tell representatives that all the time. I think at the end of the day, my district will measure me on the success of my 12 years as a public servant. What I have done, what I have accomplished over those 12 years and then they'll also consider what I can accomplish over the next four years as speaker of the house.

While both sides may be at odds about how to improve Louisiana's education, there is one thing they can both agree on: it's about the students.

"We hope to see that the recall goes through and that we have someone else that is going to stand up and listen and speak for what's right not only for our state, but for our teachers, for many others, and for the students, bottom line," said Reeves.

"Whatever everybody's got to remember is this is not about me," said Speaker Kleckley. "This is about the children of the state of Louisiana and what are we doing to provide them a better education. The next thing is, you have to remember two: children. They don't get a second chance.

The educators have until September 1 to gather all of the signatures, and even then Speaker Kleckley would not be out of office as a representative. His office would be up for a vote again, and he could run.

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