Don't forget to vote!
The Secretary of State is predicting low turnout in Saturday's general election. That means every vote counts! The successful campaigns will be the ones that motivate supporters and get them to the polls.
There are very important races left to be decided in this runoff election, both for the legislature and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. For teachers and school employees, for parents and their children, and for all supporters of public education, this is a crucial election.
Please click here to see the Louisiana Federation of Teachers' endorsements in tomorrow's race.
You're not paranoid - they really are coming to get you!
Teachers, school employees, parents and supporters of public education have a lot to worry about. Not to sound paranoid, but they really are coming to get us.
In today's Advocate, reporter Will Sentell has a story about the speech that Lane Grigsby gave to Volunteers in Public Schools yesterday. Grigsby is the moneybag tycoon behind the Alliance for Better Classrooms. That's the group that poured tons of money into BESE and legislative races, demanding in return a pledge to oppose teacher tenure.
Grigsby's group is working closely with the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana and others to take the "public" out of public education. As the article puts it, "ABC favors a wide range of steps in the name of school choice, including tax credits and major changes in how public schools are funded."
Grigsby's isn't the only deep-pocketed, corporate-aligned organization to paint a target on the backs of public educators, however. On December 12, the Pelican Institute for Public Policy will hold its "policy orientation" for the Louisiana legislature.
Featured speakers at the conference will be Sen. David Vitter and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, who says he'd like to shrink government small enough to drown it in a bathtub.
Panelists on the agenda include a laundry list of right-wing activists and legislators who are pushing a radical "reform" agenda aimed at privatizing, voucherizing and charterizing our schools.
The upshot of it all is this: Louisiana is now squarely in the middle of a national fight over public policy, with an emphasis on public education. After Saturday's general election, it promises to be a long and perhaps bloody four years.
Reasons to oppose Amendment 1
The Louisiana Budget Project has published the best reasons to vote against Amendment 1 in this Saturday's election: it "would damage the ability of state and local governments to provide revenue needed to support health care, education, and other essential services."
Aside from the simple fact that a constitution should comprise the broad values that define a state, not a laundry list of issues that would be better addressed in law and policy, this amendment is a bad idea.
It would prohibit local governments from assessing a transfer fee when real estate is sold. But there is only one parish where such a fee now exists, and there are no plans elsewhere to establish a transfer fee.
The amendment's proponents want to make sure that there never will be, and are willing to clog up the constitution with more micromanagement to accomplish that end.
Its supporters tend to be the same people who say they want smaller government, yet they are willing to tie the hands of the smallest level of government. Limiting local authority to raise revenues makes local government more dependent on state and federal resources, which sort of defeats the purpose.
One Union, One Mission, One Voice" is theme of 47th annual LFT convention
The 47th annual convention of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers will convene at 2:00 P.M. Sunday, November 20, at Diamond Jacks Resort Hotel in Bossier City, Louisiana, and will adjourn on Tuesday, November 22, 2011.
Please click here for complete details.