Battle of the Bayou: Teachers Union vs. Parents

Battle of the Bayou

In Louisiana, the state’s teachers union, Louisiana Educators Association, is suing the state to shut down funding for 33 privately run charter schools that serve over 13,000 students.

The schools, run by a boards of director, not school boards, apply performance-based criteria to teachers and evaluate performance regularly.

Charter Schools are known to fire teachers who fail to perform to standards. One such school in Massachusetts fired 43 teachers at the end of one school year.

Actionable performance metrics do not mix well with teachers unions nationwide who look to lock in tenure, high salaries and extraordinary benefits for public employees who teach.

The preferred employment securities of unions lead to nearly guaranteed employment for teachers regardless of performance or even outrageous actions.

In 2010, an educator in New Jersey was caught on hidden camera admitting, “It’s really hard to fire a tenured teacher . . . It’s really hard — like you seriously have to be in the hallway [blank-ing] somebody.”

The teacher of the candid statement was suspended for nine days.

In the event that funding is pulled for charter schools in the state, the public teachers benefit by larger school budgets and a lack of competition in the education arena.

While public teachers and their union are optimistic about piling on to their job security, parents of students are outraged.

Jennette Franklin and Christin Kaiser, both mothers of charter school students took the step of petitioning the court to allow them to join the lawsuit to represent the interests of their children.

In response to the legal filing, both the Louisiana Educators Association and the Iberville School District argued against the parents’ petition saying parents should not “be allowed to be heard as a party” in the case.

At stake in the legal battle is $3.8 million that is scheduled to be sent to the charter schools from state funds.

The school district’s and union’s objection to parents and taxpayers join the suit that is directly related to the allocation of $3.8 million in tax dollars was met with fury from charter school parents.

Parent Christin Kaiser stated, “The union and Iberville district wants to deny parents a voice in the fight for their children’s schools…the same parents who’s tax dollars fund these schools and the union members’ salaries. The fact that they’re trying to shut the school down was a shock to me. Now, the fact that they don’t even want us to have a say in the matter makes it even worse.”

In the event the district and union wins the legal battle, 13,000 children may be faced with enrolling in the Louisiana public school system which was ranked as the 49th worst state for public education by U.S. News and World Report in 2014.

Morgan is a freelance writer for a variety of publications covering popular culture, societal behavior and the political influences of each.