Legislators are currently working to find any excuse to avoid funding a permanent raise for teachers and school employees this session. The truth is simple: the funding is available! The only question is whether or not legislators are willing to make teachers and school employees a priority.
In an election year, lawmakers like to brag about the increases to teacher and school employee pay passed in recent years. Still these marginal increases haven’t kept up with neighboring states. Louisiana has continued to fall further behind the Southern Regional Average for teacher pay. Moreover, Office of Group Benefits (OGB) premium increases have outpaced raises passed by the legislature. Last year, teacher and support staff pay was increased by an average of 3%, but OGB increased rates by 4.5%. This is on top of the rising cost of living which impacts educators every time they buy groceries for their families or pay for a tank of gas.
Two weeks down: seven to go!
This week, LFT President Larry Carter testified before the House Appropriations Committee about the importance of passing a significant raise during this session.
His remarks focused on the experiences of Louisiana’s teachers and school employees. Our latest survey results revealed ninety-seven percent of teachers and ninety-eight percent of staff felt that they did not make enough to raise a family. Ninety-one percent of teachers said that the statewide pay raises they received in recent years were less than increases in cost of living and almost eighty percent said they’ve been completely absorbed by the rise in insurance premiums. Eighty-four percent of teachers and two-thirds of staff said they have considered leaving their current position. Thirty-seven percent of teachers and staff are working at least one other job.
Teachers and school employees have to speak out for their students. Often, you are their only voice. In this week’s survey we are asking teachers and school employees to tell us about their student’s learning environment. Are your students getting the individualized attention they deserve? Are the standardized tests helping them succeed? Do they have access to safe buildings and the latest technology?
We want to hear from you! You are with your students in school everyday. You know what they need. Help us explain to policy makers what they're missing about student learning.
Are you getting the professional treatment you deserve? Too often, teachers and school employees feel disrespected in their jobs. They're treated like babysitters or expected to sit through numerous meetings where they are lectured on things they’ve already studied extensively, often by people who haven’t worked in a classroom in decades.
Sometimes educators feel respected by their principal and local administration, but disrespected by the school board or politicians in Baton Rouge. Sometimes the respect is missing at all levels. Tell us about your experience.
Teachers' working conditions are students' learning conditions. When teachers and staff are under-resourced, over-worked and over-stressed, it impacts their students. Policymakers have an obligation to support teachers and school support staff because they are the ones who ensure our children get a quality education. Too often, the working conditions of teachers and support staff are not conducive to learning.
Do you get the time you need to prepare for class and tend to your own needs? Are you getting the professional autonomy you deserve? Does the PD at your school help you become a better educator?
We want to hear from you! Tell us about the working conditions in your school. Your responses on this survey are anonymous and will inform our legislative agenda, policy positions, and political endorsements.
What unions do
In AFT President Randi Weingarten’s latest New York Times column, she describes what it is exactly that unions do. Though unions are the most popular they have been in decades, anti-union sentiment still thrives in red states and across the nation. “Several years ago, The Atlantic ran a story whose headline made even me, a labor leader, scratch my head: ‘Union Membership: Very Sexy,’” Weingarten writes in the column. “The gist was that higher wages, health benefits and job security—all associated with union membership—boost one’s chances of getting married. Belonging to a union doesn’t actually guarantee happily ever after, but it does help working people have a better life in the here and now.” Click through to read the full column.
In school districts across the state there are vacancies. Teacher vacancies, para vacancies, food staff, custodians, bus drivers, nurses – schools across the state can’t find the staff that they need. Educators are leaving the profession or moving to other districts that offer better pay and working conditions. Louisiana needs to do more to keep these valuable teachers and staff in our schools. Policy makers at all levels of government are trying to find solutions, but they are missing the most obvious piece: ask the teachers and school employees.
We want to hear from you about what you think would help end Louisiana's school staffing shortages. Have you ever considered leaving? What makes you think about quitting? What makes you stay?
The second survey in LFT’s Six Weeks Six Surveys campaign asks teachers and school employees about their experience with School Safety.
Unfortunately, in many schools, safety for staff and students is a serious concern. Dilapidated and moldy buildings can cause long term health problems. Teachers and support staff face regular violence. For some, body armor is a normal part of their daily uniform. Students who need increased emotional support aren't getting the help they need and teachers are spending valuable educational time dealing with student behavior issues.
LFT is fighting for policies that keep students and staff safe. We need to hear from you about the solutions you want to see.
Today, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education finalized their MFP Proposal – the funding formula for Louisiana Public Schools. LFT president Larry Carter testified before the board, highlighting the concerns of thousands of educators across the state who often consider leaving their job because of low pay and substandard working conditions. He asked the Board to improve upon what was recommended by the MFP Task Force and the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) and boost funding for teacher and school employee raises. He asked the board to pass a raise of at least $4,000 for teachers and $2,000 for school support staff.
With little discussion and no debate, the Board passed the MFP proposal recommended by LDOE. This MFP proposal would give teachers a $2,000 raise as well as certain teachers a $1,000 stipend (the stipend would apply to teachers who are in a critical shortage area, rated highly effective, working in high needs schools and/or those working as part of the teacher leadership team). Despite some media reports, this is not a $3,000 pay hike. A stipend isn’t guaranteed from one year to the next and it could be taken away for any number of reasons.
Last year, Louisiana passed a $1,500 raise for teachers and $750 for school support staff. It was an historic raise by Louisiana standards, but still significantly lower than increases passed in neighboring states. At the same time, LDOE passed a bill that forces teachers to pay a fee for a duplicate background check and the Office of Group Benefits increased premium costs, again.
LFT is already working to pass another pay increase. One that will actually make a difference in the lives of our teachers and school employees, but we want to hear from you!
Low pay is not the only thing driving teachers and school employees away from our classrooms, but it is an important factor. We want to hear about your experience. How have recent increases to insurance costs impacted your take home pay? How has inflation and increased costs of living impacted your ability to stay in this job?