Maginnis: Term limits join session's big issues

Maginnis: Term limits join session's big issues




As hard as this legislative session has been on teachers, those taking a worse beating are the school boards. But the issues that have teachers rallying in front of the Capitol are not those that have school board members most concerned. Having tenure hearings—rare as they are—taken from their purview should be the least of their worries. Also well down the woe list, realistically, is the scholarship bill, assuming only 2,000 of 703,000 public school students get available slots in private or parochial schools. A larger threat to school boards is the potentially vast expansion of charter schools and online courses that will tap more local education dollars directly (the voucher bill only does so indirectly). In most parishes, state scholarships would allow a handful of students to move over to the local Catholic school. Charter schools take students by the hundreds and come with their own boards to oversee the spending of millions in state and local dollars. That transfer of money and power is the main reason school boards are loath to approve charter applications. To get around that local barrier—and to relieve the state board from having to deal with so many charter applications—House Bill 976 by Rep. Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, creates charter authorizers, which gets the local university or civic foundation poking into local education business. The news for school boards gets worse. The tenure bill prohibits them from telling superintendents or principals whom they can hire and fire. It also provides for direct review of superintendents' performance by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. What's left for school board members? Their jobs. Read the full column here.

(John Maginnis publishes LaPolitics Weekly, a newsletter on Louisiana politics, at LaPolitics.com.)



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