Why do we say that?
Well, tomorrow all the public schools are closed in East Baton Rouge Parish, or at least the parts not covered by the independent school districts in Zachary, Baker and Central.
Why? So that teachers and bus drivers can go to the Capitol and protest education reform.
They’d rather play at politics than do their jobs.
Bear in mind, East Baton Rouge Parish spends better than $12,000 per student per year on public schools, and yet the vast majority of the schools in the system are failures as rated by the state’s new grading system.
The school system is such a disaster and so poorly governed that it can’t find anybody qualified to be its superintendent who will take the job – or cobble together enough votes on the school board to get offered the job. The previous superintendent tried to quit with more than a year left on his contract, and ultimately blew town early by using accrued sick time and vacation time to walk with paychecks in tow.
In a parish with a population that’s essentially 50-50 between blacks and whites population-wise, the student population is 89 percent black – indicating that the white middle class has opted to scrimp and save in order to send its children to private schools, or otherwise to decamp to Ascension, Livingston and West Feliciana where the school system hasn’t assumed failed-state status.
And amid these bleak circumstances, in which petty politicians and entitled educrats have engaged in industrial-scale waste of taxpayer dollars in order to generate the 14th-worst school system in the state, the powers that be have chosen to inconvenience public school parents with less than 24 hours’ notice in order to bring Alinsky/Wisconsin-style street theater to the Capitol in protest of changes the voters overwhelmingly chose last fall.
Let’s remember this when these people ask for more tax dollars to prop up their failed system. And when they attempt to pose as caring about children, let’s remember how they left those kids home alone in order to act like jackasses at the Capitol.
UPDATE: The decision in East Baton Rouge Parish wasn’t made so much out of support for the planned protest but a recognition of the reality – or so says EBRPS spokesman Chris Trahan.
“We are not doing this to promote anything,” says Trahan. “We are just doing this in reaction to the situation.” Calls started trickling in yesterday morning, Trahan says. So far, 942 out of the 3,290 teachers in the district—about 28%—have called in to say they’ll be absent Wednesday, and more calls are likely as the day goes on. The decision means that bus service will also be canceled to the private and parochial schools that contract with the parish for this service. “Anytime we cancel school, we also cancel bus service,” Trahan says.
Which sounds reasonable. Except the suits in the school system didn’t get the memo from Trahan about how they’re just doing what they’ve got to do.
School Board Vice President Tarvald Smith says he agrees with the decision. “I wish we didn’t have to do it but I understand a teacher’s right to voice their concerns about the Governor’s education proposal because it directly affects them and their jobs,” Smith says.
Smith says Jindal’s plan would possibly affect the tenure of some teachers. “And, possibly their employment to the extent that some of the governor’s plan has to do with replacing some teachers based on their evaluation system,” Smith said.
And as you can imagine, this is driven by the unions. The first school board to capitulate/Go Wisconsin, or at least one of the first, was the Vermilion Parish School Board, a sewer of lefty establishment activism, which turned its teachers loose on the Capitol yesterday – which led to this LAE-driven memo going out to the teachers in that parish…
To All Teachers and staff of Vermilion Parish,
At last night’s school board meeting, the board approved a professional development day for the personnel of Vermilion Parish on Thursday, March 15th. This day was granted so that those of us who would like to attend the Education Committee meetings in Baton Rouge on Thursday may do so. You will have the choice to go to Baton Rouge to rally and speak with our representatives about the bills that will be presented this spring in the legislature. If you choose not to go to Baton Rouge, you will need to report to your school for professional development. The children will not be at school on that day. There is a chance that the senate committee will cancel the meetings, therefore, this will not be official until Monday. Parents will be notified by robocall on Monday night if this is to proceed. However, if we are released for that day and it is not canceled until the last minute, we still need to be there to show our presence and speak with as many legislators as possible.
If you go to Baton Rouge, we are asking that you Wear Red for Ed. However, our superintendent has asked us not to wear clothing that will identify us as Vermilion Parish Teachers (anything with a school or parish name on it). We will be representing the teachers of the state as a whole and would like to be seen as any teacher, not just Vermilion Parish teachers. However, when speaking with your legislators, please let them know that you are one of their constituents and where you stand on the issues. One of our legislators has told us that he has spoken with teachers that are in agreement with the reform plan being proposed by Governor Jindal. We want them to know that we do not agree with the plan as it is being presented and that we would like them to vote against any bills that would adversely affect public schools and teachers.
You will be required to sign in at your school, or with a representative in Baton Rouge to show that you attended. If you are not planning on being at either location, you should put yourself in the computer as a sick or personal day.
This day is not just for VAE/LAE members, this is for ALL teachers across our state. Many other parishes will have teachers there, and we are hearing that at least one other parish has released their teachers for the day. Please come out and represent the public school teachers of Lousiana and future of your students.
Please see the attached poster explaining “Stand up for Students” on Thursday, March 15.
See you in Baton Rouge…WEAR RED FOR ED!!!!!
The school board in St. Martin Parish did the same thing, and teachers from St. Martin will be at the Capitol protesting on Thursday. Apparently, neither Vermilion, St. Martin or East Baton Rouge union teachers seem to care that the LEAP and GEE tests, which are in no small part used to rate the performance of the institutions which pay them, are next week. Taking a whole day off in advance of that shows an ironclad commitment to excellence, without doubt.
The Baton Rouge Business Report’s Rolfe McCollister took to the web to firebomb the teachers’ unions in terms we fully agree with this morning. A few choice highlights…
Almost as shocking, we, the taxpayers, will pay these teachers not to teach. We will be paying them to fight against improved public education. And many parents will have to take an actual day off from work to watch the children these teachers won’t be teaching. How does that make sense?
And there’s this…
Jindal’s education plan provides more equal opportunities and more choice to parents and students. After 50 years of doing it the same old way—and getting failing results—it is time to change things in a bold fashion.
But the teacher unions and Democrats are opposed to real public education reform. Despite 50 years of failure, their only mantra is “more money and more time.” Many people in Louisiana are forced not only to pay taxes for public schools but also, in the quest for a quality education for their children, to pay private school tuition. That’s not how it should be.
But the best part of McCollister’s fire-and-brimstone is when he tears into state senator Pat Smith, a Baton Rouge Democrat who helped deliver her party’s response to Jindal’s speech yesterday (which was nothing but griping and grousing about the governor’s reform plans)…
Yet Rep. Pat Smith has no problem with what effectively is a double taxation. She blasts Jindal’s plan, saying, “Under the sham of reform, he is taking hard-earned money you pay in taxes away from public school classrooms and giving it to private schools that do not have to prove they offer a better education.”
The truth is that our money should be dedicated to the education of our children, not to a public teacher employment guarantee. Education is not another jobs program. Why shouldn’t the money follow children to whatever provider their parents choose for them? For the last 50 years, it has only gone to the “government-run school monopoly,” which has failed hundreds of thousands of children.
That, in fact, is the sham, Representative Smith, and you are a thief, having stolen the future of multiple generations of children during your tenure on the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board and now in the Legislature. Smith should be ashamed of her long record of fighting against a better education for all children, regardless of their background. She panders for votes while children suffer.