Down in Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal has offered an education reform package that leaves most other state reform packages in the dust. Eliminate tenure. Overhaul how teachers are paid. Offer families vouchers to send their kids to private and parochial schools.
And like most states that face such reform proposals, Louisiana’s teachers’ unions are none too happy. Unions leaders are standing up to the reform proposal. They are speaking out. They are rallying the troops.
But in a new twist, the unions are also getting local school districts to close their schools so that teachers can go to the state capitol to protest. Officially, these newly decided days off are billed as “professional development” days, as the Advocate reports.
According to Learning Forward, the nation’s premier organization focused on educator effectiveness, the definition of PD is “a comprehensive, sustained, and intensive approach to improving teachers’ and principals’ effectiveness in raising student achievement.”
Now Eduflack is all for everyone having the right to exercise their First Amendment rights and ensuring that their voice is heard during the legislative process. But all this begs an important question. Does protesting pending legislation, waving signs, speaking out to protect your benefits and the like, serve as a “comprehensive, sustained, and intensive approach” to raising student achievement? Does it demand that taxpayers, through their local school boards, cancel school days for students and pay teachers to go exercise their lobbying rights?
And if it does, can one get CEU credits for lobbying state legislatures or marching against the governor?