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UPDATE: St. Education Superintendent weighs in on ruling

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BATON ROUGE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - The Louisiana State Superintendent of Education, John White, has now added his reaction to yesterday's court ruling on the governor's education revamp legislation.

Referring to Judge Michael Caldwell's ruling, which terms the part which would have lessened the power of school boards over teacher hiring and firing, and called for state education review of local school's superintendent contracts, but upheld that portion which would change teacher tenure and salary laws, White had this to say:

"This ruling upholds an important step taken by our state's legislature to protect every child's right to a great teacher.  As a result of this landmark legislation, school boards statewide have made bold changes to their layoff and compensation policies that will keep good teachers in the classroom.  We await the specifics of the ruling, and we encourage all districts to maintain the reforms they have put in place."

 

ORIGINAL STORIES: A judge in Baton Rouge has now ruled on the governor's education revamp in what could be viewed as a split decision.

Judge Michael Caldwell tossed out part of the revamp as unconstitutional, but upheld the centerpiece provisions to change teacher tenure and salary laws.

Caldwell's ruling does away with changes that lessened the power of local school boards over hiring and firing and that required the state education superintendent's review of local school superintendent contracts, holding that this part of the legislation is unconstitutional because it doesn't fit into the state objective of the bill.

The part the judge held as constitutional were provisions eliminating statewide teacher pay scales and making it tougher for teachers to reach the job protection status of tenure.

Both the Governor and the LAE are claiming victory in the ruling.

The Governor said, "We appreciate the judge's ruling. Today's ruling is a victory for students and teachers. This ruling upholds the core purpose of the law – rewarding effective teachers and supporting ineffective teachers who want to improve." At the same time, the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) congratulated the Louisiana Federation of Teachers (LFT) on Judge Caldwell's ruling.

ORIGINAL STORY:

A Baton Rouge judge is deciding whether he agrees with a statewide teachers union that Gov. Bobby Jindal's changes to teacher tenure and salary laws violated the state constitution.

Judge Michael Caldwell may rule as early as this afternoon (Tuesday) in the lawsuit filed by the Louisiana Federation of Teachers.

The LFT says the bill bundled too many objectives and the changes should have been spread out among multiple measures. The union claims Jindal loaded up one bill to railroad it through the Legislature.

Act 1 made changes to the powers of school boards, teacher hiring and firing rules, teacher pay scales, the duties of principals and the job protection called tenure.

The Jindal administration says all parts of the bill related to teacher employment and could be included together under the constitution.

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