"Jindal calls for changes"

Governor Jindal finally "revealed" his agenda for the demise of true public education today. The full article can be found at the URL above and a concise FACT SHEET as distributed to the press is below. I'll try to address each point in separate blogs - I guess you could call it a translation or transliteration - because the language and syntax Jindal uses is deceptive.
Jindal will need the legislature to pass laws to institute most of this policy. It is up to educators, parents, and concerned taxpayers to contact your legislators to let them know you will hold them accountable for intended and unintended consequences. I will post contact and legislative tracking information in another blog.

Please add your comments and questions. If I can provide more detail or research I will be glad to do that. If I misstate anything, I will correct it.

FACT SHEET by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Office:
Plan to Empower Parents, Teachers & School LeadersGov. Jindal’s Plan: Empower districts to use compensation to keep good teachers by stopping forced pay increases to ineffective teachers, allowing them to pay effective teachers more, and by allowing them more flexibility in how they structure salaries.• Ban the practice of using seniority to make personnel decisions of any kind, including ending the practice of “last in, first out” in reductions in force, prioritizing effectiveness instead.• Empower superintendents and principals and get school boards out of the hiring and firing business.• Stop blanket job protection in the form of tenure to teachers who are ineffective after one year. They will simply return to probationary status. Under Louisiana’s value-added law, districts start dismissal proceedings after two years, and teachers lose certification after three years, of ineffectiveness ratings.• Give superintendents, not school boards, the lead role in the public hearing process when he or she decides that a poor performing teacher should be removed.• Tie teacher certification to effectiveness, removing the red tape of meaningless federal “highly qualified teacher” requirements, and emphasize effectiveness when selecting Teachers and Principals of the Year. 
Gov. Jindal’s Reform Plan Will Empower & Reward New Teachers:• Give school districts the flexibility to create their own salary scales based on the elements they believe matter to them, such as effectiveness, hard to staff subjects, high poverty schools, and core subjects.• Reserve tenure status for teachers that have been rated highly effective for five years in a row.• Make granting of tenure an active process rather than an automatic one so that tenure becomes a recognition given teachers who have demonstrated excellence, rather than merely survived for three years. 
Gov. Jindal’s Reform Plan Will Empower Parents By Providing More Choices:• Expand the existing Scholarship Program statewide for low-income students at C, D and F schools.• Expand course choices for students by allowing a variety of providers, including school districts, virtual schools, colleges and universities, and businesses with training programs, to offer students additional options.• Plan the state’s Career and Technical Education regionally to better meet the needs of businesses and address individual student interests, while ensuring students have access to full Industry Based Certification programs.• Encourage students who want to pursue a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math by making it easier to take high level coursework, recognizing when they are successful with that coursework, and helping districts make those courses available.• Make it easier for high quality charter operators to expand by fast tracking operators with proven track records, streamlining the application process, and giving charter schools the same rights to facilities.Allow charter operators who want to open schools in districts with grades of D and F the opportunity to apply directly to the state.• Create a rebate for donations made to nonprofit organizations that offer scholarships to low-income students to attend private school.• Give a scholarship to students who graduate early from high school equal to one-half of the dollars the state would have spent had they prolonged their time in high school. Students will be able to use these dollars as a scholarship—above and beyond any other scholarships—at the postsecondary school of their choice. 
Gov. Jindal’s Reform Plan Will Give Parents More Levers To Effect Change:• Allow community organizations, nonprofits, universities, and other local entities to apply directly to the state to become charter authorizers to maintain local control of charter schools in their communities.• Give parents whose children are at a failing school a parent trigger to effect change more quickly. Rather than waiting until a school has been failing for four years, parents can vote to have their school eligible to be a Recovery School District charter after three years.• Hold school boards in failing school districts accountable for the performance of their superintendents by requiring state review of their superintendent contracts to make sure there are performance targets for improvement.Call on the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to change how the state funds students so that dollars follow the child to whatever educational option meets their needs. 
Gov. Jindal’s Reform Plan Will Get Parents More Engaged In Their Child’s Education:• Let superintendents and principals reward teachers for engaging parents.• Give districts more ways to engage parents with federal dollars for tutoring and after school programs and be rewarded for it, which also saves parents money for after school care. 
Gov. Jindal’s Reform Plan Will Empower School Leaders By Giving Them More Flexibility To Innovate:• Allow districts to recruit the best and brightest personnel, retain them by rewarding them, and make smart decisions about who to employ so as to maximize their investment in human capital.• Give districts more flexibility over their federal dollars through applying to waive burdensome federal regulations and let schools spend their federal dollars in the ways that work for them.• Reduce federal reporting requirements and more strategically align interventions in failing schools, including those required by federal law, to meet the unique needs of students. 
Gov. Jindal’s Reform Plan Will Empower Early Childhood Service Providers & Preschools:• Reduce red tape, align conflicting standards, and streamline data to reduce the administrative burden for early childhood providers and better leverage dollars.• Create an accountability system for early childhood programs focused on outcomes and based on Kindergarten Readiness that gives parents clear actionable information in a letter grade on which to base their decisions about where to send their child.• Protect taxpayers by cutting off public funding to low performing early childhood programs, even pulling licensing from low-performing programs, and aligning incentive structure through the School Readiness Tax Credits to reward Kindergarten Readiness.
My first response is to the Tenure point which necessarily addresses the teacher evaluation/effectiveness plan: 

FACT SHEET provided by Gov. Jindal's Office says: "Reserve tenure status for teachers that have been rated highly effective for five years in a row."

MORE FACTS: Act 54 passed by the legislature in 2010 gave provisional status to a proposed teacher evaluation system that:

  1) had not been fully formulated yet, so our legislature signed on to something on behalf of their constituency that they knew little about

  2) was required to be piloted voluntarily by a few school districts which pilot has not been properly completed as per stated provisions

  3) was promised to be "optional" for school districts who chose to use it but has morphed into a statewide initiative

  4) was to be revisited upon completion and review of the pilot before determining if the evaluation system would be enacted into law hence it will be on the agenda for this legislative session

  5) was hastily presented to the legislature in 2010 because it was a requirement for application to the Federal Race to the Top grant competition which Louisiana failed to receive after two attempts

  6) by admission of LDOE to the Joint Senate and House Education Committees last month it is still not complete yet the committee (ACEE) charged with completing and studying the system has been virtually disbanded

  7) was included again in the latest application for Race to the Top which Louisiana did win this time and which application had not been publicly revealed until it was deemed successful

  8) requires that 50% of a teacher's evaluation be predicated on student standardized test scores after being manipulated and distorted by a complex mathematical value added equation

  9) in reality the 50% weight is actually 100% based on the student test score component because the current iteration of the law states that the score for student performance (50%/quantitative component) and the score for teacher performance (50%/qualitative component) will be combined and divided by 2 for a final score BUT with the caveat that regardless of how high the teacher scores on the qualitative measure, he/she will fail if the score on the quantitative component falls below a specified threshold. On the other hand, the teacher could score high enough on the quantitative measure and bottom out on the qualitative measure and still be deemed "effective."

  10) There are only three rating levels - "highly effective" RESERVED FOR THE TOP 10% of evaluated teachers, "not effective" RESERVED FOR THE BOTTOM 10% of evaluated teachers, and "effective" assigned to all teachers in between.
Simply given the fact that a teacher's quantitative score is based on a different set of students every year and the elements over which she has no control outside the classroom and the 100 days she has to prepare them for the standardized test, it is statistically impossible for a teacher to attain a "highly effective" rating five years, four years, or even three years in a row.

Bobby Jindal is misleading the public into believing that he has any intention whatsoever of maintaining tenure in any form.

Gov. Jindal has no intention of engaging in "debate" or meaningful discussion whatsoever with highly qualified educators on this or any other "reform" issue.

The Louisiana Coalition for Public Education will continue to offer to engage in discussion with Gov. Jindal and our legislators to show both the flaws in the reform being offered and to present truly innovative and meaningful reform initiatives that can actually bring improvement in true learning and not limited to raising the ubiquitous and singular standardized test score.

Gov. Jindal and his cronies on the BESE board along with his self-anointed new Superintendent continue to develop the culture of failure presented as a "model to the nation" - a failing model rather than using the highly successful schools and school districts and teachers as successful models to build on. LDOE should be discussing ways to support and improve our public schools as they are constitutionally mandated to do but instead are pursuing every avenue to close schools and fire teachers to be replaced with start-up unproven charters and inexperienced unqualified college grads.

How much of this will the public continue to believe is in the best interests of our children?


  1. As a public school teacher in Louisiana for the
    past 25 years I really need clarity on so much
    of this plan. My first question is
    at this point "Why would any one allow their
    children to go into education as a future
    career. Teachers have spent so much of their
    own money going to college to become a teacher.
    How can Jindal take away a certificate from any
    teacher? If a teacher is ineffective then our
    state universities have let them down. They
    should have been made more accountable on
    their programs. Most principals already
    hire friends children, friends, etc. in a
    number of schools. This is going to provide
    them with their own personal businesses.
    Some principals have been given a job based
    on who they knew. Teachers who are ineffective
    are just going to be ineffective until it is
    time to test, then some of them will just
    choose to cheat on the four day test. The
    state does not have enough money to pay teachers
    their regular salaries now, much less to pay
    for classroom monitors. What is he thinking?
    Perhaps he needs to have his mind checked for
    the onset of something. Who does he think will
    teach in our private schools? The master teachers that he is causing to leave this
    system because they are sick of his plan.
    Teachers are 98 percent of the time very
    good people, on the other hand most of our
    government officials are not always. He is
    going to use this plan as a platform to get
    his greedy little self in the Presidential
    election in a few years. He is about to cause
    a hurricane 5 in the lives of our beautiful
    children in this wonderful state. He and his
    pimples are on the wrong side of what is
    morally right. How does he know that all
    private schools are A schools? The public
    needs to wake up. They do not realize that
    the only children that will be left in our
    public schools will be the ones that no body
    cares about. I do believe that we need new
    accountability, but to take away peoples
    dreams of working in classrooms and replacing
    us with young college adults that never wanted
    to be a teacher to begin with is inappropriate.
    They will never have had educational courses
    or classroom behavior management classes. The
    same people that taught us in our colleges
    that apparently failed some of us will be the
    very ones teaching them in "Teach America".
    what about principals that have not been
    teaching in a classroom setting in a while.
    They should be made to return to the class
    for one nine weeks every other year, so that
    they will know what kind of challenge teachers
    may be up against. This man needs to find his
    heart again as well as our Lord Jesus. He is
    wrong in how he is going to handle this. My
    daughter will never go to school to be a teacher
    in this state that I so dearly love.
    A concerned Teacher!
    The news needs to be having real teachers
    to appear on TV. They have a right.

    1. Are you planning to look for another career or a job in private school. This is what I am planning to do because I am sick of the threats. I am an excellent teacher.

  2. I have taught for 30 years and I will not have my certificate taken away because of a mathematical formula. I'm not sure that is even legal. I plan to start sending out my resume to private schools where I am allowed to teach without constant threats. I feel so bad that I have been soured on education. I will see what my scores are for the next 2 years and then I will resign before my certificate is taken from me.

  3. Good then resign - that is exactly what the intent of this plan is - welcome to the real world folks. In reality performance is linked retention, period. In the monster that has been created under teacher unions (and all unions for that matter) once you are in the club you are in for life and have the backing of a Chicago-style political machine to back you up. Kudos to Governor Jindal for taking on the issue - the bottom line is that someone has to have the courage to make the changes and get Louisiana out of the sewer-level rank it holds nationally. I really am sick and tired of teachers whining about how they are being treated unfairly. These are taxpayer dollars - you are not "entitled" to anything above and beyond your paycheck. Yes your job is tough - so are thousands of other jobs - you are not special. I respect you teachers, but you are not special and in real life everyone will not get a trophy - there are performers you want on your team and non-performers that you want fired. So get off your butt and perform and you will have NOTHING TO WORRY OR PROTEST ABOUT AT ALL!! Rant off.

    1. Let's get this straight - anonymous - teachers are not opposed to evaluation. We are evaluated every hour of every day by our students, parents and administration. We evaluate ourselves AND OUR STUDENTS every day as we analyze and reflect on student written and oral responses in class and on regular assessments aligned with the curriculum we are required to present.

      The incomplete, un-tested and unreliable value-added design for evaluation put forth by LDOE will not identify either EFFECTIVE or INEFFECTIVE teachers with any degree of accuracy. That is the basis for our opposition to this particular part of the reform package.

      Even a non-educator could review the evaluation system THAT IS IF IT WERE ACCESSIBLE as it should be on the LDOE web site. I suggest you look at the details of the plan and actually read the content of the legislation proposed before you throw your support - and your credibility - their way!!! Thanks for following my blog.


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