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Week 12: Sine Die: Your Unions, Your Voice

Sine Die: Your Unions, Your Voice

Thanks to the efforts of LFT, our members who took action, and legislators who prioritized education, we were able to pass several bills that protect your rights and voice. In the coming weeks, LFT will provide a full breakdown of education and other legislation affecting educators.

Fair Compensation

While it is not the permanent pay raise fought and advocated for, you will not receive less compensation next year than this year. Teachers will once again receive a $2,000 stipend and support staff will receive a $1,000 stipend to be distributed by December 15 in time for the holiday season. Legislators said that they were unable to provide a permanent pay raise because of the looming fiscal cliff. LFT will continue to fight to make the stipend permanent next session.

Workload, Discipline, & Safety

Meanwhile, the recent “Let Teachers Teach” report released by Supt. Brumley tells us what we already know–the same things that you’ve told us matter most and that LFT has advocated for on your behalf for years–teachers need fair workload, discipline, and safety in the classrooms. What it doesn’t include is the permanent pay raise you deserve. 

Through the work of your unions, bills that protect your right to a fair workload, discipline, and safety have now become law. These bills are a direct response to the challenges teachers told LFT they face in the classrooms that impact your ability to teach and student's ability to learn.

  • ✅SB 205 safeguards a teacher’s right to a reasonable workload and fair compensation.
  • ✅SB 213 provides adequate time for support personnel to heal from injury while helping students. 
  • ✅HB 322 protects a teacher’s right to teach free from distraction. This bill serves as a proactive measure to help children receive the help they need while maintaining a productive classroom environment.
governor signing HB322 into law

Support during session & beyond

On the other hand, several controversial bills have also been passed into law which will impact your work. We remain steadfast in supporting you and the children of our state.

If teachers are a priority…

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) have also been passed into law allowing parents to use state funding to send their children to private schools, funneling taxpayer dollars and resources away from students that need it most.

ESA’s have been estimated to eventually cost taxpayers $300 million to $500 million a year, begging the question where the state will find the money.

A scaled-back version of the bill passed which will delay the plan’s implementation. There are few details as to how the voucher plan will be implemented with legislators giving BESE the power and responsibility of promulgating the policy and guidelines for the program.

BESE was also given the authority to study existing educational resources to determine the need for a voucher plan and then work with lawmakers on funding levels. Lawmakers chose to strip off amendments which would have provided a clear understanding of the educational outcomes of students receiving the new vouchers. This lack of transparency will leave the parents and taxpayers in the dark as to whether this new voucher program lives up to the hype. Louisiana’s current voucher plan has received national attention because the reading and math scores of voucher students were far below their public school peers.  

Again we ask, if teachers are really a priority, where is the support? Providing public dollars to ESAs without requiring the same state accountability and content standards imposed on public school students is dangerous and further destabilizes our education system. We will keep you updated as we hear more on these programs.

High Dosage Tutoring

In addition, high-dosage tutoring was a priority for legislators this session. While LFT acknowledges the value of tutoring as supplementary support, it should not be prioritized over the teachers who are actually responsible for the post-pandemic academic gains.

The reality is that only 2,000 students participated in the pilot programs, while the majority of the 500,000 students benefited from the extraordinary efforts of dedicated educators.

However, it's crucial to note that this funding, as per LDOE testimony in the Senate Finance Committee, will be distributed to districts in block grants. It's not mandated to be USED ON THOSE STUDENTS WHO ARE IDENTIFIED AS IN NEED OF HIGH DOSAGE TUTORING. 

And here we are again–if highly effective teachers are considered the equal of high dosage tutoring, why are we not prioritizing teacher pay to attract and retain the best and the brightest instead of increasing teacher workload or online tutoring options?  

Constitutional Convention: It’s not over until it's over

Under House Bill 800, the Legislature would have held joint committee meetings throughout June and July and then convened for a two-week-long convention in August. While opposition in the Senate made that timetable impossible, Landry and convention supporters have indicated that they still intend to have changes to the constitution on the ballot later this year. This could be achieved by calling another special session to legislate a constitutional convention or to pass constitutional amendments that would have much of the same effect.

Your unions are continuing to watch and prepare for what comes next this year and in next year’s legislative session to ensure that your rights are secured and your voice is heard. We invite leaders to join us in the fight.

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