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Louisiana educator speaks out against charter schools

Monday, July 4, 2011 - 2:01pm

BATON ROUGE, La (FOX44) — Some Louisiana educators say, it's time folks started hearing them out.

"There are so many things that just aren't getting across and no matter how many times we say them, no one is listening," says Joyce Haynes.

Haynes is the president of the Louisiana Association of Educators. She worries that the school system in Louisiana is moving in the wrong direction.

"They're moving their own agenda," she says of the state's higher-ups. "It's not a good one and I will say to you in two years, you will have to start all over because it will prove itself to be detrimental to this state."

Haynes says her biggest concerns are with the state's charter schools. "You would privatize our public schools, turn them into charter schools run by third-party providers and you would house them with anyone and everyone."

She says the charters schools take away jobs from long-time teachers. It's a decision, she believes, is made to save money. "They have begun using Teach for America. It's admirable that they use those folks and those folks do a great job, but we don't think they can do what the veterans can do, those people who have spent their lives in education."

Governor Bobby Jindal pushed legislation during the 2011 session to help charter schools grow. He says it will increase opportunities for students.

Principal Pamela Mackie agrees. "It's just a long list of opportunities that kids are just not aware of." She believes charter schools will help give those students the opportunities they need to continue helping our state after they graduate.

She spoke with NBC33 News several weeks ago about her new charter school, the Career Academy. "There's a productive way for them to get the things they want out of life," she explains. "I can combat some of the reasons why some of our kids fall by the wayside."

Still, Haynes says privatizing schools just isn't the answer. "If we could just get back to a real classroom situation, collaborate with educators, we think we would come out with a better picture," Haynes says.

Governor Jindal's press secretary, Kyle Plotkin, issued the following statement in response: “The reality is that we have protected funding for K-12 schools. In fact, while the overall state budget has been reduced by 26 percent, K-12 funding has increased by $200 million since we have been in office.”


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