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Get To Know Your Legislators: An Education Rogues’ Gallery

The 2013 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature is set to convene at noon on April 8th and over the past several weeks, lawmakers from across the state were busy filing bills ahead of the March 30th deadline. Below is a selection of some of the worst education bills prefiled by legislators.


House Bill 115: Provides for parent petitions relative to the transfer of certain schools from the Recovery School District back to the local school system. Prefiled by Rep. Ted James (D -Dist. 101) in East Baton Rouge, this bill would allow the return of a school to local school board control before it has demonstrated a significant improvement in academic performance, if a majority of parents support the measure. [Email Rep. James]


House Bill 160: Delays implementation of certain teacher evaluation program requirements and requires legislative approval of the value-added teacher assessment model prior to implementation of the requirements. This bill, sponsored by Representatives Reynolds (D – Dist. 10), Richard (I – Dist. 55), and Barrow (D – Dist. 29),  would, in effect, nullify the results of this year’s teacher evaluations currently being conducted across the state and would require that the value-added formula used in evaluations be approved by both the Senate and House education committees. [Email Rep. Reynolds]


House Bill 206: Removes geographic limitations on the legislature’s authority to create new school boards and on provisions relative to financing education. Another bill submitted by Rep. Gene Reynolds (D – Dist. 10) would permit the creation of “mini-districts” within a parish opening the door for communities to create districts aimed at keeping poor or minority students out of their schools. [Email Rep. Reynolds]


House Bill 269: Provides relative to the employment contracts and termination of superintendents of public school systems. This bill, submitted by Rep. Gene Reynolds (D – Dist. 10), would weaken the performance criteria established for school district superintendents in Act 1 last year and would not require districts to terminate superintendents who fail to meet their performance objectives. [Email Rep. Reynolds]


House Bill 346: Requires legislative approval of changes made to school performance score ranges. This bill, submitted by Rep. Jerome “Dee” Richard (I – Dist. 55) would require the approval of both the House and Senate education committees before any change can be made to the formula for determining school performance scores. [Email Rep. Richard]


House Bill 467: Subjects charter schools to the same State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education rules and regulations as traditional public schools with respect to employment eligibility requirements for teachers and other school employees. This bill, submitted by Rep. John Bel Edwards (D – Dist. 72) would require charter schools to comply with the certification requirements established for employees of traditional public schools, undercutting their autonomy over personnel decisions. [Email Rep. Edwards]


House Bill 625: Provides relative to the process for discharging, demoting, or disciplining a permanent public school teacher. This bill, submitted by Rep. Randall Gaines (D – Dist. 57) would make it nearly impossible for a school district to terminate the employment of a teacher once s/he has gained tenure. [Email Rep. Gaines]


Senate Bill 41: Constitutional amendment to require the statewide election of the state superintendent of education. LDOE critic Senator Bob Kostelka (R – Dist. 35) has proposed this constitutional amendment to turn the state superintendent of education into an elected position and therefore unnecessarily politicize that critical role. [Email Sen. Kostelka]

Written by Peter Cook

Pete became involved in education reform as a 2002 Teach For America corps member in New Orleans Public Schools and has worked in various capacities at Teach For America, KIPP, TNTP, and the Recovery School District. As a consultant, he developed teacher evaluation systems and served as a strategic advisor to school district leaders in Cleveland, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. He now writes about education policy and politics and lives in New Orleans.


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