Two weeks into the legislative session and, so far, the legislature has yet to tackle the most controversial bills of the session. Committee meetings have focused on more mundane bills but an obvious elephant-in-the-room as tinged discussions. Legislators are finally waking up to the reality that our schools are in freefall. They are finally, beginning to see the teacher shortage for the crisis that it is. Next week several of the most crucial bills will be heard in committee and on the House floor. Find out what happened this week and what we can expect next week:
On Thursday, the House Education Committee heard a presentation from Dr. Kim Hunter Reed, Commissioner of Higher Education, and Representative Buddy Mincey on the Teacher Recruitment, Recovery and Retention Task Force.
The 2022 Legislative Session began Monday, March 14th at noon. LFT is already monitoring hundreds of bills this session, and legislation will continue to be filed until April 5th. Things can change quickly with little notice, whether it’s the agenda of a committee meeting or an amendment to a bill. Please follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our updates and follow along at la.aft.org/legislation so that you can stay up to date with everything happening at the Capitol.
Here are a few of the most important bills we are tracking this year:
Teachers go to school for years so that they can understand how to help students learn. Student learning is the bedrock of everything they do in the classroom. The experience of seeing a student work to understand a concept and then finally ‘get it’ is one of the most rewarding experiences a teacher can have, and that is what drives educators to continue to do the work they do.
Unfortunately, over the last decade the teaching profession has changed significantly. Teachers don’t have the autonomy to individualize their lessons in the way their students might need. They don’t have the flexibility to utilize new techniques or materials that can inspire an unengaged student. Instead, they must stick to a strict curriculum designed to help students perform well on a very specific test.
In their March meeting, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) will determine their Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) proposal to present to the legislature. The MFP makes up the state’s investment in K-12 education including teacher and school employee pay. If teachers and school employees are to receive a statewide pay raise this year, BESE must propose the raise next week.
In their Committee Meetings on Tuesday (3/8) and their Board meeting on Wednesday (3/9), BESE will consider the recommendation from the MFP Task Force, to increase pay by $1,500 for teachers and $750 for
Why Do Educators in Louisiana Get Paid So Little?
The Minimum Foundation Program is the funding formula for Louisiana public schools. It was established in order to determine the minimum cost of education in all public elementary and secondary schools. However, given the current state of our schools, one must ask: how much does it cost to educate a child in Louisiana?
Every day, teachers find new and creative ways to keep their students learning. Still, a lot of work goes into preparing an excellent lesson. Teachers need adequate planning time to assess student work, review relevant curriculum, prepare their lesson, draft lesson plans, make copies, find resources for their students to use, and more. For many teachers, their planning time is the only point in the day where they have time to drink some water, eat, or use the restroom.
Given the ongoing teacher shortage, many teachers and support staff are being pulled out of their planning time or lunch to cover classes. Not only does this leave them without any time during the day to attend to their own needs and prepare for their own class, but the unpredictability also makes it impossible to effectively create an instructional plan.
Is Louisiana's System for Teacher Evaluations Accurate?
There are many components that go into being a truly effective teacher. In Louisiana, policy dictates that two observations and an assessment score should narrowly judge the entirety of a teacher's work; every component and nuance of teaching for multiple students. Once a score is issued, there is almost no opportunity for teachers to redress any inaccuracies or inconsistencies in their evaluation.
On June 1st, Governor John Bel Edwards issued his line item vetoes of HB 1, the budget bill. He shifted appropriations to provide further pay increases for higher education faculty. It has been a long time since our college and university faculty got the raises they deserve, so this is a great re-appropriation. Unfortunately, the Governor did not have the political support or funding to increase the raise for K-12 school personnel beyond $1,500/$750.
On Tuesday, September 28th the Senate Education Committee met to discuss the ongoing impact of storms on Louisiana K-12 schools. Much of the meeting was spent speaking with Superintendent Karl Bruchhaus of the Calcasieu Parish Public School System to gauge the ongoing impact of last year’s Hurricanes and mass freezing event on that school system. Calcasieu has recently had to freeze ongoing construction due to funding issues and the Committee was determined to help speed up allocation of additional FEMA monies and figure out how to avoid long wait times from the Governor's Office of Homeland