Jindal's sweeping education package passes despite opposition

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wwltv.com

Posted on April 5, 2012 at 10:16 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 5 at 10:22 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Historic changes are coming to Louisiana's education system after state lawmakers passed Gov. Bobby Jindal's education package on Thursday. But some educators are unhappy.

"Happy Easter to the governor, but to the education system it's almost like rotten egg in their basket," said teacher Thai Browder.

After teachers swarmed the state capitol for weeks to protest Jindal's education reform package, their cries fell on deaf ears. On Thursday, state lawmakers approved a complex string of bills that will dramatically change education.

Some of the controversial measures include: making it harder for teachers to gain tenure; establishing a statewide voucher program for private school tuition; increasing the number of charter schools and expanding online schools.

"I made no apologies for emphasizing that we need to have a sense of urgency for telling the public and the legislature these have to be our top priorities this is about our children's education. And I was very clear with the voters of Louisiana that I was elected to help lead our state. I didn't get elected just to hold office or a position. This was about improving our state," said Jindal shortly after the bills passed.

"It's too much at one time. It's an overhaul. I can't even describe it. Its more like a storm," said Judy McShan, president of the St. Bernard Association of Educators.

McShan believes the governor's newly passed education plan will take money away from local classrooms.

"It's all of the money going. Not only the vouchers, the virtual schools. It's the for-profit charter schools. And what's really not fair: If he was really worried about those kids like they said this morning: 'no child left behind.' We've got 99 percent behind for the 1 percent that all this is for," added McShan.

However, supporters of the governor's education package say it will give parents more choices for their children and improve education in Louisiana where 44 percent of public schools are graded with a "D" or "F."

With change on its way, teachers, students, and parents can only wait to see how the governor's massive education overhaul plan will be put to work.

"We're going to pick the pieces up and do the best we can, and the Louisiana Association of Educators, we're going to try and pass other bills to try and help us," said McShan.

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers has also gone on the record saying it will look into possible legal options. The education package is now headed to the Governor's desk for his signature.

 

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