Teachers give governor's education reform proposals mixed reviews
There's been no comprehensive survey of how Louisiana's 50,000 teachers view the controversial set of education reform bills proposed by Gov. Bobby Jindal, and images of the hundreds who recently picketed at the State Capitol in red T-shirts to oppose administration-backed bills left little room for distinctions or shades of opinion. But even though few teachers are ready to offer a wholesale endorsement of Jindal's proposals, interviews with about a dozen educators by The Times-Picayune reveal generational and philosophical divisions over core issues such as teacher evaluations and tenure. Take, for example, Stephanie Webster, a pre-kindergarten teacher at Craig Elementary School in Treme, who has mixed feelings about the legislative package. Topping her concerns is a set of proposals regarding tenure, a status that affords job protection for teachers who make it past their third year. To Webster, tenure carries both symbolic and practical weight. It's a sign "that you made it," she says. "Tenure can be good and bad, but it's job security. It would make me feel like I'm secure in the position I'm in." Asked about new rules regarding seniority, though, and Webster pivoted sharply in support of the changes. The same bill that would shake up tenure rules would do away with hiring, firing and setting salaries based on years in the classroom. "There's ageism in education," she says. "It doesn't matter how long you've been teaching. It doesn't make you an expert. You have to continuously master your craft." Read the full article here.
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