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School Takeover Protest

A teachers group is up in arms about the state taking over schools in Baton Rouge.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 - 8:22pm

A teachers group is up in arms about the state taking over schools in Baton Rouge. They're calling it the death of public education. The Louisiana Association of Educators will officially announce their position Saturday. Today, the group's leader is speaking out, saying the Board of Secondary and Elementary Education isn't thinking about students at all.

Eight public schools in Baton Rouge are on the state's chopping block. Five elementary schools: Banks, Capitol, Dalton, Lanier, Park, and three middle schools: Capitol, Crestworth, and Kenilworth are all now part of the Recovery School District. In other words, these schools are no longer part of the EBR School System, and starting next year, they’ll be run by the state.

LA Association of Educators President, Joyce Haynes, says, “We don’t think the change they’re trying to make is the best change because right now, no one knows where they’re going to be come July.”

State Superintendent Paul Pastorek and the BESE Board voted to take the school over. The Louisiana Association of Educators calls their move the “Death of Public Education.”

Haynes says, “He’s using us as a pawn. When you look at our teachers and our students, they’re not getting the best deal when he has not proved in anyway that the RSD is doing anything better than our public schools here are doing.” She says BESE needs to take a hard look at its performance standards. “If you put forth an accountability plan that’s only going to allow you to fail, and you don’t change anything, we’re all doomed for failure.” She says it could be a political ploy to force the issue of giving “vouchers” to parents so they can remove their children from public schools.

Haynes also says BESE hasn’t done anything to show what’s “right” in schools. She has this message for the board: “You have not taken any good and told the public, and you haven’t told the public the truth about what’s going on.” She says teachers, students, and parents are all confused about where they’re going to end up as a result of the state takeover.

Tuesday afternoon LAE and more than a hundred protestors are taking their message directly to the State Department of Education.