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.