The legislative session is in full swing, and the committees are considering important legislation that will impact educators and their families all over the state. One of the most enlightening discussions came on Wednesday during the consideration of House Bill 363.
HB 363 (Bryant) seeks to cement existing BESE policy into law. Unfortunately, the policy often isn’t followed in schools. Under BESE policy, SLTs are supposed to be drafted by teachers at the beginning of each school year, based on the unique needs of their students. Unfortunately, in many districts there is little-to-no discussion. This doesn’t happen everywhere, but it does happen too often, and it deprives our students of the individualized attention they are supposed to get from their educators. HB 363 simply says that if SLTs aren’t “developed collaboratively” with the teacher, those SLT scores shall not be used in the teacher’s evaluation.
It is supported by both teachers' unions and the Louisiana Association of Principals – all the stakeholders involved in this process in the schools. However, it faced significant pushback from the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and the Pelican Institute...
This week brought an unexpected twist. The 2022 Regular Legislative Session was paused and interrupted a Redistricting Veto Override Session. On Monday, the legislature announced that a supermajority of legislators did not return ballots indicating they did not want to hold a veto override session. So, constitutionally a veto override session is called.
At the end of the day on Tuesday, the Regular Legislative Session adjourned, and at noon on Wednesday the Veto Override Session began. While scheduled to go at late as Sunday, the veto ultimately took only a few hours. By the end of the afternoon on Wednesday both the House and the Senate voted to override the Governor’s veto of the new Congressional map.
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:
The MFP proposal reflects what the Governor proposed in his executive budget and was recommended by the LDOE for approval: $1,500 for teachers and $750 for support staff. Also included within the MFP proposal is a letter from BESE to the Legislature. In the letter, BESE urges that any additional funds recognized by the Revenue Estimating Conference in May be allocated for additional salary increases. In the event that the REC recognizes additional funding, BESE requests that the Legislature return the MFP formula to BESE so that they may revise and resubmit the formula to increase the pay raise to a minimum of $2,000 for certificated staff and $1,000 for non-certificated support staff.
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.