Friday, December 18, 2009

Are You Listening and Watching Race to the Top?

On December 17, LAE President Joyce Haynes went on record with our intent to not support Race to the Top as it currently stands.
What concerns LAE?
1. The mandate that 50 percent of a teachers' evaluation will be based upon a single measure of assessment (student test score). The DOE was unwilling to work on concerns around teacher evaluation and the philosophical use of student assessments as at least 50 percent of the teacher evaluation process.
a) This philosophical focus is seriously questioned in much of the research, does both teachers and students a disservice, and provides a stumbling block to serious negotiations around developing an effective teacher evaluation process that can be supported by the entire education community;
b) Placing too much focus on standardized tests can actually harm student instruction and over all student growth by putting too much emphasis on a narrow-based test;
c) Value-added-and to some extent growth models of assessment-are inconsistent and not fully transparent to those being assessed;
d) No decision of what other factors will be present in the teacher evaluation.
2. LAE also has concerns dealing with the state data system coupled with interim benchmark assessments. While we support strong, accessible data that can inform instruction, in the past there has been and continues to be the opportunity for such systems to be misused. LAE has some concerns that the state will reinstate scripted curricular programs with defined instructional practice rather than allow the "great teachers and leaders" at the school to make professional informed decisions at the school and classroom level.
Other LAE concerns
1. The indication that due process as we now know will be adversely affected.
2. The indication that benefits currently enjoyed by school employees will be adversely affected.
3. The lack of financial sustainability.
4. Early Race to the Top draft documents included 3.5 times as many dollars for charter schools as for large districts on a per student count.
5. What state dollars will be re-directed to support Race to the Top? Will the Minimum Foundation Program be reduced? Will programs such as National Accreditation grants be reduced?
6. Will BESE decide to allow the superintendent to gain control of 8g funds?
The aforementioned concerns are only the tip of the iceberg. You may have concerns that may not have been listed, but are equally as important.
January and February of 2010 will be very interesting. As the situation seems to change by the day, LAE urges your vigilance and requests your participation in our Association's democratic process.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

LAE Wayne Free Comments

Rolfe McCollister writing in Wednesday’s Oct 21st LA Business (Accountability, Competition Work in LA), praises the current accountability system in Louisiana, Charter Schools, the federally funded Education Trust, and Paul Pastorek.

In a politically charged article, McCollister praises all things charter and the RSD completely ignoring the lack of success in the RSD compared with other systems in the state. Rather than focusing on results, McCollister provides a marketing piece sophisticated as any used car salesman would do when trying to get you to buy a clunker.

Perhaps his most egregious statement of all was his cry for no more “Government Answers” This from an organization supporting the unconscionable incompetence, greed and bailouts currently found on Wall Street while historically fighting support and resources for public schools.

We are in serious trouble if we ever let Wall Street or the Baton Rouge Business Community run the schools!

Wayne Free

LAE Director of Instructional Advocacy

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

President Haynes Responds to Pastorek

LAE President Haynes responds to Superintendent Pastorek's remarks about the Career Options Diploma program:

Superintendent Paul Pastorek’s remarks to the High School Redesign Commission on Monday raises some serious concerns about his commitment to all students in Louisiana. He continues to espouse that the legislative-mandated programs, such as the Career Options Diploma for Louisiana students, will cost the state federal funds in the Race for The Top Program (RTTT).

Mr. Pastorek, the LA-DOE, and some members of BESE have been working against the intent of the Career Options Diploma. This law provides for the inclusion of new classes designed to engage students in career-oriented courses and to trim the dropout rate. At the September BESE board meeting, several business and community leaders testified to the need for both workplace readiness skills and an expanded set of applied curriculum, focused on workplace and student needs. Mr. Pastorek is strategically adding roadblocks such as not allowing school districts to enroll students with past discipline problems, and requiring “end of course” tests.

Louisiana cannot implement a “one size fits all” education for such a richly, diverse state. Currently 30-35% of all Louisiana students drop out before graduation. Many drop out because they are not engaged in a curriculum that they find relevant. This can result in discipline problems, lower grades, and a higher failure rate on state tests that are often used inappropriately to impede student progress.

I don’t believe that the RTTT fund will be denied to states that try to develop rigorous appropriate courses for all students. If as Mr. Pastorek indicated, RTTT funds are predicated on not developing this curriculum that prepares students for a successful transition to the workplace, then he should revamp his staff and focus on ways to better educate the students of Louisiana. Louisiana’s education system needs Mr. Pastorek to be focused on a better education system for all our students.

Joyce Haynes
President of the Louisiana Association of Educators

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Member Comments on Chas Roemer

Mr. Roemer, a member of BESE, stated at a Louisiana Charter School Association meeting "Charter schools are now a threat to a jobs program called public education." The quote appeared in the Baton Rouge Advocate on Saturday, September 12, 2009. According to Joyce Haynes, President of Louisiana Association of Educators, Roemer's comment is an extreme insult to hardworking professionals that work in our public schools. His implication is that we as education professionals just "collect our paychecks" and do not put forth a full and complete effort toward our jobs.

Lori Gordon, LAE member, responed to Chas Roemer's comment (9-17-09):

I read your remarks in The Advocate regarding public schools. I'll have you know that it is an insult to me and the PUBLIC SCHOOL teachers of Livingston Parish, who by the way have a BLUE RIBBON SCHOOL in the parish (French Settlement Elem.), and we don't like it. If you are so gung-ho about charter schools, perhaps you should resign from BESE and go work for your sister. In my eyes, you are a traitor to the very people who elected you to represent public education. Shame on you, Mr. Roemer!

Lori Gordon

Special Education Teacher

Livingston Parish Public School System

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This is an interesting time to be involved in public education in Louisiana. At LAE, we stay on top of the issues, analyze them, and provide think-tank solutions. The public relations spin from many entities involved in the Louisiana educational system, does not present you or the general public with the truth. We at LAE, always seek the truth, and seek ways to benefit not only you as an education professional, but all stakeholders. By shepherding the Louisiana public school system, schools, students, and parents all benefit from the fruits of our research. We urge you to stay on top of the issues with us, make your voice heard, and strive for excellence in our public education system here in Louisiana.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back to School

LAE would like to wish everyone a successful 2009-2010 school year!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Press Release: LAE Calls on Jindal to Replace Pastorek

(Baton Rouge, July 24) Louisiana’s Association of Educators has stated that Superintendent Pastorek should be replaced because of his failed leadership and his inability to work with the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to produce positive results in public education.

Over the last two legislative sessions, Superintendent Pastorek has demonstrated his unwillingness to work with educators, legislators and locally elected school board leaders, to bring about meaningful education reform for the children of Louisiana. Joyce Haynes, President of LAE said, “Superintendent Pastorek, has created conflict rather than education reform, and has assaulted public schools rather than working to improve public education. Superintendent Pastorek’s undying love of charter and takeover-schools, has produced little to no evidence to support Louisiana’s fiscal contribution to his untested system.”

Superintendent Pastorek has pushed for cutting the funding of the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP), thereby reducing funding to local school boards. However, the $120 million stimulus package provided by President Obama and members of the U.S. Congress, helped to save local budgets for K-12 education. Superintendent Pastorek has also attempted to strip control from local school boards by transferring their authority to bureaucrats and political appointees in Baton Rouge. This effectively eliminates local control of schools.

LAE President Haynes also remarked, “Meaningful education reform should not be about Superintendent Pastorek and his political games; it should concern providing the best education for all of the students in the state. It has become apparent to us that Superintendent Pastorek has lost the trust of the education community, which includes school employees and elected boards of education. It has also become clear that hiring a person who lacks any professional background in education has resulted in a failed experiment, instead of meaningful education reform.”

LAE believes that the children, parents, and taxpayers of Louisiana deserve better representation for public education. Based on these events and circumstances, the Louisiana Association of Educators has asked for Governor Jindal to demand Mr. Pastorek’s resignation as State Superintendent of Education.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

LAE Summer Leadership 2009

Delegates are back from the San Diego NEA-RA. Many LAE members are now at LAE's Summer Leadership in Marksville, LA, acquiring new information to bring home to their locals. LAE will post pictures and other information from the event soon.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Immunization Requirements for LA Kids

Two new vaccinations are being required for the 2009-2010 school year.
Click Here

Monday, July 13, 2009

Education Week: Parents, Students Fared Well in High Court Term

Interesting education legal issues wrap-up on the Supreme Court session that recently ended.

Saturday, June 27, 2009