Friday, March 16, 2012

Lousyana Teachers Protest Reform

My favorite governor, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, has been cleaning up his state for several years now, cutting costs and making the entire government more efficient. His early training as a management consultant has served the public well as he applied his methods to the government. He brought Louisiana out of the dark ages in medical coverage and instituted severe ethical reforms.

Now, Governor Jindal is being attacked by union and public school teachers who fear his education reforms.

Today, the state’s education committee will act on Jindal’s proposed reforms. He has taken on all the public school teachers’ favorite perks and privileges. The unions don’t like that. His proposal includes a complete revamping of the tenure program (a redundancy in union schools), enhanced monetary compensation based on performance rather than longevity, and expansion of school choice and voucher programs. He also included some tinkering around the edges of pensions, having already made a substantial change in them through an omnibus reform bill which encompassed all government employees, teachers included.

Jindal's own extensive educational accomplishments aside, the teachers cannot validly claim that he “doesn’t understand education and teachers.” One of his major reform positions in government was in the field of education. At age 28, he was appointed president of the University of Louisiana system, the sixteenth largest such system in the United States. During his tenure, formerly skyrocketing tuition fees were stabilized, duplication of effort was cut back, topheavy administration was slashed, instructor hiring was modified in order to include objective standards beyond mere diplomas, and academic standing increased dramatically.

He now proposes to institute the same reforms for elementary and secondary education. Louisiana resembles a great many other states in that huge numbers of teachers are overpaid, underworked, and often unqualified to teach much of anything. But since they are being paid for their terrible performance, the least they could do is show up for school and make a half-hearted attempt at pretending to teach.

Instead, teachers throughout the state, and particularly union members have convinced weak-spined school administrations to cancel classes so that the “teachers” can go to Baton Rouge to protest the proposed changes. This essentially means that public employees are being converted into temporary lobbyists to advance their own miserable cause while stealing time from the students and taxpayers.

How well have they done their jobs as teachers? On national standards, one-third of Louisiana public schools scored below grade-level. Nearly half of public schools in Louisiana scored a D or F even using National Education Association standards. 4th and 8th graders were in the bottom 15% of American students in math and English. Still, these space-wasters are unable to comprehend that they are lucky to have any job at all, let alone one with a near-guarantee of a job for life and disproportionately high pay and benefits for no discernible accomplishment.

Jindal’s education spokesman Aaron Baer said the following: “When one-third of all students are below grade level, the last thing public school employees should be doing is using class time to lobby the state legislature to prevent much-needed reforms. But instead they are joining the education unions who are descending upon Baton Rouge in full force.”

Although I agree with Baer, I also have the horrible thought that the only thing worse than these useless public school teachers being away from their classes is their being in their classes, filling those young minds with lots of nonsense and very little education. I will add that I do indeed know there are some very fine public school teachers, perhaps even many such. But they do not comprise even a strong minority. Jindal’s proposed reforms are being offered precisely to protect and reward those good teachers and to cease rewarding all those bad ones.

38 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

Whether Walker in Wisconsin or Jindal in Louisiana, it has always beeen a tough fight against the school system and teachers unions. At issue, I think, is the problem that the left equates throwing money at schools with "improving the quality" of education. It is the kind of argument that often resonates with uneducated voters: "billions for the war machine in Iraq, but nothing for the kids, blah, blah, blah." Unions are long practiced professional protestors including the art of kicking the crap out of people who oppose them. And there are a lot of people who simply like the notion of getting something for free. If others are doing better, it has to be beause they are screwing you and exploiting you so let's soak the bastards!" Well, you get my drift. I sure hope the public gets it, but our side has to do a better job rallying tea party types to counter the message with facts.

Joel Farnham said...

Oh, why couldn't Jindal see clear to trying for the Republican Nomination? At least say, "Hey if you get tired of these guys, see me."

Unless he gets undermined by the Courts, Jindal will clean up Louisiana schools. I hope Jindal either has a talented backup to send to Washington, he has a replacement for him. He is needed at the national level.

Joel Farnham said...

Jed,

Republicans don't have to do a better job rallying the tea party types. Tea Partiers are already rallied. The Republicans just have to be honest. I know that is calling for too much, but still...

T-Rav said...

Joel, if only. I keep thinking in the back of my mind that maybe, maybe, we could somehow get to a brokered convention and come out of it with Jindal, or Ryan, or Daniels, or....

Joel Farnham said...

T-Rav,

I hear you, T-Rav... but...

Remember when some people went way over-board for Obama? It showed to me that some people can get to the point that it was Obama and NO ONE else. I thought it was peculiar to liberals because liberals are susceptible to a certain amount of derangement. Now, I think it is spreading to some Republicans.

There are actually people out there willing to destroy a fairly decent man like Romney. To me Romney isn't the end all be all. He wasn't my first pick, nor my second, nor even my third. He is just a guy who out-thought everyone and prepared himself and his organization to win this election. He is infinitely better than Obama. Still, we have groups of people now doing their level best to damage or delay him until the convention so that possibly we might get someone better.

That is like throwing a full-house away in a poker game in the hopes of getting a royal flush, when we know going in this hand, our antagonist only has one pair and didn't draw any cards worth having. We will win, but not if we throw away the full-house. There will be time enough later to get a royal flush. This time, it just isn't in the cards to get a royal flush.

Brokered convention or not, Romney deserves our support, unless you are willing to throw the full house out.......Come hell or high water, Romney is going to get the nomination and he beats Obama.

Tennessee Jed said...

I agree, Joel. We do not want a bnrokered convention. One thing that the Republican primary season has reminded me is that all of these guys are politicians. It means they 1) flip flop 2) do things out of political expediency, 3) if not flat out lie, they certainly will spin. I don't think Romney was ever an "establishment" candidate thrust on us. That is merely a campaign slogan for his opponents. He was more "familiar" than many who originally jumped in. Romney looks to me like he is a transactional politician rather than an inspirational candidate. He is ahead of B.O. and should defeat him. If the legislature is in our hands, he will repeal Obamacare. That has to be job one since if it is not repealed will sink us once and for all. Romney may even be one of those presidents that grows in stature once on the job.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: As you may have surmised, I'm a big advocate of education. But that's not the same thing as being in favor of the present situation. For many, many years whenever a school bond would appear on the ballot, I'd vote for it. Then, I started coming to my senses. As you've said, throwing good money after bad is a liberal, Democratic "solution." I remembered the great teachers I had as a kid, but found out that was becoming a thing of the past. Money was being spent on almost everything except actual teaching.

Today, I've converted my old radical antiwar slogan into something different: "Unionized public schools are unhealthy for children and other living things." LOL

AndrewPrice said...

A brokered convention would be bad news, but it ain't happening. It's basically impossible. Santorum would need to win New York, Illinois and either California or New Jersey and sweep everything else at 65% to make that happen. So I wouldn't worry about that.

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: I've finally had to give up on my "run, Bobby, run" mantra. But at 46, he still has most of his good years ahead of him. He knows how to work with smart lawyers, and has already had a couple of dustups in the courts over his reforms, winning every one. He also has many important and influential friends in DC who admire him and remember his successful tenure at HHS. They would be more than willing to help him avoid the rocks and shoals of the current socialist administration and Ambush Eric Holder.

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: I don't see even the remote possibility that the Tea Party folks won't rally around the Republican nominee, whoever he is. The thought of a second Obama administration, openly at war with conservative principles while abandoning all things American, is just too horrible to allow for the thought of sitting on their hands during the campaign.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: The chances of a brokered convention are somewhere between zero and none, though it wouldn't entirely break my heart to see one. As ancient as I am, I barely remember a convention in which the nominee was not already pretty much a foregone conclusion. But because of the lateness of the Republican convention this year, it would be disastrous. Two months to fight the Obama machine and get the upper hand is just not enough time. We need to resolve the "inevitability" factor as soon as possible and get on with rallying around the flag.

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: I agree. I've said pretty much the same thing in the past few months. Just because none of my favorites remain in the race doesn't mean I'm going to pick up my marbles and go home. Romney may not yet be entirely inevitable, but he's getting close. For the good of the country, after the next big round of primaries, it's time for the party to decide on one candidate and unite behind the vital need to defeat Obama.

DCAlleyKat said...

We need NU-Schools. Non Union Schools.

Most Tea Party folks I talk with are busy with their local elections. They know the change must come from the bottom up, and there's not much they can do right now on the national front. The time will come to cast their vote for the next President, until then energy and funds are being spent for local change. This is a good thing!

Romney - all that wealth yet the man appears determined to be President. I can't decide if he actually desires to help restore the Republic or if he's seduced by power. I think time will answer that for me.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: And if Romney is the candidate, his Romneycare can be turned into positive spin. He has already danced around the edges of the issue by stating correctly that the states are the crucibles of experimentation, and if the experiment fails (as it is failing in Massachusetts), get rid of it and move on. That's far more difficult to do on the federal level, and Romney can use the argument that he knows that better than anyone. Repealing Obamacare is a primary goal, but Romney is far from a single-issue candidate. With the ongoing recession on everybody's mind, he has the best shot at doing something about it based on private enterprise rather than public intervention.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: For once, California's vote is meaningful. Romney is 99 44/100 percent sure to win the California primary in June. It is by far the largest bloc of votes, and we have winner-take-all. That's a huge bump for Romney, and unless something entirely unforeseen happens between now and then, I will say, just this once, "listen to California." June is late enough to decide on one candidate and to pressure the remaining candidates to do what's right so we can form a united front for the next four to five months against Obama.

LawHawkRFD said...

DCAlleyKat: I agree on union teachers. Like most civil servants, they already had job security (tenure) and public employee retirement benefits better than those in the private sector. The unions do what they always do, protect the incompetent and useless, bring everything down to the lowest common denominator, push for wages far out of line with comparable jobs in the private sector, support left wing causes, and reward union membership rather than accomplishment. And with teachers, there's the added effect of dumbing America down while instilling socialist propaganda and a disrespect for everything that has made America unique in the world.

As for Romney, I think he is dedicated to public service and restoring the Republic. I may disagree with some of his methods, but I don't doubt his sincerity. And as we've mentioned many times, a strong Republican Congress would draw him further into the conservative camp than he might go under other cirumstances.

tryanmax said...

I’ve nothing add on the teachers’ union topic. They are a serious problem and I am overjoyed to see the political will to finally do something about them. I can only hope it keeps spreading to more and more states. I don’t really believe the DoE can be dismantled until a sizable majority of states can declare to Washington, “We’ve got this.”

On Romney, it seems pretty universal that those who don’t like him are suspicious of him. Among fervent evangelicals, it mainly comes down to his being Mormon, so I get that. (Not really “get,” but I have a place to file it.) But I’m curious where DCAlleyKat is coming from? Of all the candidates, I’d say he represents himself the most straightforwardly and the “flip-flopper” smear just doesn’t hold, if you ask me.

Joel Farnham said...

tryanmax,

It is a legitimate question. Why would Romney, since he does have money, decide to become President?

My first thought is that he sees something that you and I see daily. It could also be that he just wants to be the first Mormon President. Who knows? However, he does not talk about freely changing the nation, except to turn back time four years. He also probably feels that he is the only one who can fix it and he jumped in, like all those Tea Partiers in 2010. So, in a way, Romney was a Tea Partier before Tea Partiers were cool. ;-)

LawHawkRFD said...

tryanmax: It's odd, and sad, that part of my conversion to the Republican Party was the Gingrich-backed Contract With America which pledged to get rid of the Department of Education. Yet it continued to grow like a cancer through Democrat and Republican administrations alike. Your assessment is likely correct. Abolition of this worse-than-useless department is probably going to have to work its way up from the states

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: We have had many presidents who were of modest means before being elected, but wealthy when they left office (or shortly thereafter). Harry Truman was one of the rare exceptions. Although I don't think personal wealth is either a positive or a negative for a candidate, I do worry about any candidate who might have the private agenda of increasing his wealth by virtue of having been elected president. That's one of the reasons I don't question Romney's reasons for running. Being the first Mormon elected president would very likely be something that would please him, but I don't see anything to indicate that it is a major reason for him to be running. Quite frankly, whether he is right or wrong, I think he honestly believes he is the best man for the job, and I don't see that as an ulterior motive. I wouldn't vote for anyone who didn't think he (or she) was the best candidate for the job.

rlaWTX said...

OT (shocking, I know, cuz it never happens 'round here):
this article at PJMedia says some stuff that has been discussed around here. But what I found most telling were the responses. It's like that anti-gossip sermon when you are sure the preacher is talking about Aunt Sue and you can't figure out why she's amen-ing so loudly.
Everyone assumes that the writer is talking about their personal nemesis... amused me.
http://pjmedia.com/blog/how-drama-queens-sabotage-the-tea-party/

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: Gallup tries very hard to appear neutral, but regularly fails. It is heavily skewed toward Democrats and liberals, and its sampling is reflective of that. As you've pointed out, it isn't just the question that matters in a poll, it's how that question is phrased and which group it is being asked of.

LawHawkRFD said...

rlaWTX: Interesting article (and comments). I particularly like your remark about "Aunt Sue." Here's the clickable link: Drama Queens.

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

Holder would still find something racist and possibly illegal about my question.

I also wonder if these "pollsters", ever have any one who objects violently to their baited questions and gives them better ones back?

Still, these "prostitutes"......uh, "pollsters" have a tough, tough job. How would you like to have to polish a turd? I mean, the smell alone.....

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: Holder could find something racist in asking him "how are you today?"

I participate in a regular poll (which shall remain nameless). After it asks a lot of questions that I consider rather neutral, the poll always concludes with "are you a Democrat, Republican or Independent?" Fair enough. Then I click on Republican, and another question pops up. "Do you consider yourself a strong Republican?" That's where the poll always goes off the tracks. I always answer no, which could mean either of two things. Either I don't much like the Republican Party, or I'm wishy-washy about my politics. But at least they have a final box for you to fill in any objections you might have to the questions. I always fill it in, remarking that asking if I'm a "strong" Republican raises more questions than it answers. So I add "I'm a conservative first and a Republican second. There is no place in the Democratic Party for a conservative, and being an Independent would indicate that I eschew party loyalty. Thus, whether I am a "strong" or "weak" Republican depends entirely on how the party is behaving at any given time. But I will consistently vote Republican because the number of "R"s in Congress, moderate, moderate/conservative or conservative, matters a great deal." By one standard, I'm a strong Republican (voting pattern), on the other I'm a weak Republican because I don't feel the party is yet sufficiently conservative.

Joel Farnham said...

I just went to Drama Queens, and I am curious. It seems to me, almost every comment is worthy of a drama queen. How some of these guys think the article applies to Romney, uh...what did I miss?

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: The irony.

tryanmax said...

That's an interesting bit of back-n-forth following the "Drama Queen" article. I especially like the argument that Mitt is the drama queen because Newt and Ricky actually believe their own drama. Makes me think of our ongoing conversation about why most folks can't recognize evil.

Joel, it is a fair question to ask why Romney--or any other candidate--seeks the presidency, but his wealth need not raise it. When the two are tied together, it cannot avoid seeming like an insinuation.

LawHawkRFD said...

tryanmax: When you act a part, you're an actor. When you believe you're the part, you're delusional. LOL

Tehachapi Tom said...

Hawk
I grew up having unionism explained in a manner That I've not heard since. My father was a civil engineer responsible for all of the track,buildings and bridges on over 1000 miles of railroad. His department draftsmen and engineers were considering becoming unionized. He told them that was their right to vote for what ever they thought was right for them.
He did explain that as things were at that time they were considered professionals by railroad executive management. By voting to unionize that would change. Once unionized they would all be considered labor with no professional considerations.
Our teachers were once professionals but have by choice joined the ranks of labor. Little different than hod carriers and ditch diggers.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tehachapi Tom: Except that hod carriers and ditch diggers serve a useful purpose.

rlaWTX said...

Tom, that is a great explanation...

RE: Drama Queens - yeah, that's what I thought...
"Aunt Sue should stop gossippin'. Why just the other day I heard that she was tellin' Miss Smith all about the church meetin' we had on Sunday. Why Mrs. Smith doesn't even go to our church. She's one of those holy roller, hand wavers. Have you ever heard what goes on over there? Why, Sally May told me all about it. Anyway, Aunt Sue is a gossip and she surely needs to listen up to the preacher!"

Joel Farnham said...

I know what "Bless your heart" means. It means, "You effing idiot. How could you be so stupid? Someone not only dropped you on your head when you were baby, but used you as a hammer as well." The southern version is so much nicer and much shorter. :-)

LawHawkRFD said...

rlaWTX: What would we do without mysterious relatives and strange acquaintances to provide us with validation of our fondest beliefs?

Joel Farnham said...

Doesn't this picture seem like Newt is selling cigarettes?

I found it at Breitbart. I am wondering if anyone noticed it at BB?

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: That's funny. What's the brand--Lucky Stokes?

Individualist said...

Lawhawk

The first reform Jindal must make is to trun the curriculum in schools away from indoctirnation and back to education.

LawHawkRFD said...

Indi: I agree, and I suspect so does Jindal. His proposed reforms are the foundation for that very fundamental reform.

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