This month’s meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education raised some important questions.
A very reasonable proposal by a BESE member to protect pregnant teachers and active military personnel from potentially unfair evaluations was unnecessarily delayed last Wednesday. Superintendent of Education John White diverted the measure to two different committees and his own staff rather than allow a vote by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
A VERY QUESTIONABLE AND PROBLEMATIC SOLUTION:
PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PENSION FORFEITURE
a Louisiana Federation of Teachers Statement of Concerns
During the 2008 First Special Session of the Louisiana Legislature, a number of pension forfeiture bills were introduced. During this Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature, at least six more instruments are being considered. Therefore, what follows is a broad overview of the Federation’s concerns with diminishing or removing constitutional protections of public employee pensions.
School buildings cannot open for in-person instruction until the below conditions are met:
- Community transmission of COVID-19 is under control in the region;
- There is a public health infrastructure to support effective disease surveillance, tracing and isolation in schools;
- Staff who are at high risk have access to special accommodations;
- The district and school have funded safeguards and implemented protocols, including physical distancing, face coverings, access to hand-washing facilities, cleaning supplies, and updates to ventilation and;
- AFT members and leaders, families and community partners are included in the reopening planning process.
LFT has conducted a comprehensive survey to evaluate the concerns of educators and community members with regards to schools reopening later this summer. LFT received responses from nearly 15,000 teachers, support staff, parents, students and concerned community members regarding the reopening of schools. The survey was conducted electronically between June 30-July 10, 2020 and distributed widely through various online platforms.
Until a vaccine is developed for COVID-19, each community is going to need support in charting a path to safely and responsibly reopen school buildings and other institutions crucial to the well-being and economic vitality of our communities.
The AFT’s detailed, science-based “Plan to Safely Reopen America’s Schools and Communities” features five core pillars based on the science as well as educator and healthcare expertise—not on politics or wishful thinking.
"Even more tragically, many people are impacted by both the WEP and the GPO. This can be incredibly devastating for many teachers and support staff who rely on the income of a spouse. Your social security benefits will be reduced if your spouse passes before you. Too many retired teachers have had to say goodbye to their spouses and in the midst of that trauma find out that they’re also losing a huge portion of their household income."