This post came from Mike Deshotel's blog - the link is on this page and his posts will provide more information about the RED CARD INITIATIVE. I am working on a page that will allow you to watch the live cast of the proceedings and to comment for our legislators at the same time. Stay Tuned for Follow The Bill Louisiana.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Jindal Bills on House Floor Thursday

LAE lobbyist Shane Riddle informed me this morning that HB 974 and HB 976 are scheduled for consideration on the House Floor starting at 9:00 a. m. Thursday, March 22. The debate could be extensive.

The following are my suggestions for reaching your Representative in the next 3 days. You may telephone your Representative at the capitol at 225-342-6945. They are expected to be in committee meetings during most of the day Tuesday and Wednesday, so try leaving a message asking your Rep. to return your call. Both of those days, the House floor will be in session starting at 4:00 p. m. Your best chance of reaching them would be from 4:00 p. m. on. If you have your Rep's cell number this is the best way to reach him/her. On Thursday, while they are debating, you can call them at the above number any time during the day. If you can't get through, ask the clerk to take your message to the Representative.

Let me tell you what to expect in a conversation with your Rep. if he/she is looking for an excuse to vote with the Governor. Many legislators will tell teachers that they have studied the bills carefully and they are convinced that no "good teachers" will be harmed. Also they will say that the voucher and charter impact will be minimal and will probably not affect the schools in your area. In any case, the legislator will tell you he intends to monitor the law carefully to make sure none of "his people" are hurt. All of the preceding is just a smokescreen to allow him/her to vote with the Governor.

This is my suggested argument for any educator calling his/her legislator. "Yes, we believe every teacher will be hurt because teachers will be forced to teach even more than ever to the state tests to make sure that their job is not jeopardised. This hurts teachers because teaching this way is unprofessional and demoralizing. It hurts the students because they will not get the education they deserve. Filling out multiple choice tests is not education for life."

As far as not hurting your school, any new charters or voucher schools will attempt to skim the best students away from any and all schools in their area, not just the D or F schools. By the way, it is not always true that low letter grade schools have poor teachers. Some of the most dedicated teachers teach in low letter grade schools. Those schools almost always have low letter grades because they have a high proportion of at-risk, high poverty students, not because they have bad teachers. Even in public schools serving more privileged students, with Act 54, a teacher can get a low performance score if his/her students do not "gain value" according to some formula out of Baton Rouge. So there are plenty of reasons why "good" teachers and "good" schools will be unfairly hurt by this legislation. Do not buy their bull!

It is not too late to do the Red Card Initiative described below. Sharyn Hebert wanted to give credit to teacher Pamela Stelly for designing the Red Card Initiative postcards.
Thanks to both of you!
Posted by Michael Deshotels

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