Teachers speak out against school reform
Claiborne teachers join thousands in
MICHELLE BATES, Editor
Claiborne teachers joined thousands in Baton Rouge last week in protest of Gov.
Bobby Jindal’s education reform package.
fact, Claiborne Schools Superintendent Dr. Janice Williams said that 87 of more
than 100 certified employees took personal days to travel to Baton Rouge, which
pretty much meant schools all over Claiborne Parish were shut down for the day.
teachers from across the state went to Baton Rouge to have their say, Claiborne
Parish School Board Member Linda Knox said the demonstration was very peaceful.
a very peaceful demonstration,” Knox said. “I thought they (teachers) did a
good job stating the reasons they’re against it. The thing we didn’t understand
is why the big rush when it [reform package] hasn’t been proven. We’re also
disappointed in our legislators because they voted yes for the reform package.”
to published reports from The Shreveport Times, the Louisiana House Education
Committee “approved a major portion of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed education
overhaul, voting 12-6 to expand a voucher program that could let students from
low- to moderate-income families attend private schools at taxpayer expense.”
Bond, elementary/middle school supervisor for Claiborne Parish, said the
atmosphere started out exciting, but tense. However, as time wore on, he said,
it went downhill.
very tense but it was a good atmosphere,” he said. “People were excited about
getting a chance to be heard, but it ended up poorly because they were treated
badly, disrespected and ignored, especially from the Senate. The House was
somewhat the same, but the Senate had an air about them that said ‘we don’t
want to listen to it.’ The senators and legislators disappointed many of us.”
Mozeke, a teacher at Homer High School, said she too felt disrespected and
educator, I was very disappointed to find out that two of the legislators from
our area did not listen to the many concerns that educators throughout their
districts have about Gov. Jindal’s education package,” she said. “I am outraged
that the members of the House Education Committee and the Senate Education
Committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of the governor’s education package.”
Bond did say that while the House Education Committee ultimately voted in favor
of the education reform measures, he was impressed by the fact that House
Education Committee spent so much time discussing the bills before voting to
move it to the House floor.
were some from the House Education Committee that asked us some very good
questions and stuck with us,” Bond said.
legislators defended their positions saying that it’s not about tenure, it’s
ultimately about giving Louisiana’s children opportunities for the best
end of the day it’s not about anger, it’s about our children,” District 11
House Rep. Patrick Jefferson, D-Arcadia, said.
clarified one thing that might be taken as a misconception. What the House and
Senate Education Committees voted to do was not to send it to Gov. Jindal’s
desk this week, but to move them out of committee to the House and Senate
floors for debate and discussion.
not vote for the bill,” Jefferson said, “but I voted that the bills be moved
out of committee to the floor for discussion and debate. The bills have not
passed yet. The process has not been completed.”
33 Senator Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe, conceded that the content of the
bills could have been explained better, saying that if everyone fully
understood what’s in the package, then maybe there wouldn’t be so much anger.
are our partners,” he said. “It’s
frustrating because I am so pro-teacher, it’s unbelievable. Maybe we’ve done a
poor job of making them understand what’s in the bill.”
he said, there are parts of the bills that he does not agree with, and that’s
what will be discussed when Senate Bill 603 hits the floor for discussion. He
talked about teacher pay and tenure as well, saying that teachers have nothing
to be worried about when it comes to their pay. He said he’s not sure that
teachers know everything that’s in the bill.
teachers are guaranteed the same pay next year as they are getting this year,”
Walsworth said. “Most of the teachers I talked to said they aren’t worried
about tenure. I haven’t found many that are.”
minimum pay is $26,000 for a beginning teacher, he said.
have nothing to worry about in this bill,” Walsworth continued. “However, I do
have some problems with other parts of the bill, like if teachers want a raise,
then that means they have to go to central office. Why should they have to do
that? Why not give it to them right there while they’re in the classroom?”
concerns include the teacher evaluation system -- and many an educator has
voiced their opinions about the voucher system.
stand to lose due process rights if they receive just one ‘ineffective’
rating,” Mozeke said.
explained in last week’s edition of The Guardian-Journal, value added
evaluation is where teachers must be evaluated, and these teachers must meet
certain criteria, Dr. Williams said. If they don’t meet these criteria after
three years of not being rated effective, they will be dismissed. They are
given a three year probationary period to be deemed effective, and if they are
not, they are dismissed.
example, a teacher is evaluated during the first school year and is rated
ineffective. They have three years, and if at the end of year three, they are
deemed ineffective, they are terminated.
does away with tenure, in which after three years, a teacher has a better
chance of holding on to their jobs.
that does not mean that a teacher can’t be terminated for just cause.
concern, Mozeke said in a statement to The Guardian-Journal, “this legislation
will exempt private, parochial and charter schools from the same accountability
measures that other schools receiving ‘public’ dollars must follow.
is the justice in that?” Mozeke asked. “If these bills pass in the full house
and senate, Gov. Jindal and all of the legislators who support his education
package will leave behind a legacy of ‘destroying public education in the state
of Louisiana.’ What a legacy!”
said there was some major concern from those he’d spoken with about
accountability, but there is accountability in the legislation.
just want to make sure that every kid in this state has a chance to succeed,”
Walsworth said. “I want to do everything I can to make Claiborne Parish schools
a better school system. The education reform is truly about our children.”
Jefferson tried to set minds at ease, saying this reform package wouldn’t affect
Claiborne Parish all that much just for the simple fact it is still under a
desegregation court order.
bills will have a minimal effect on Claiborne Parish because they are still
under a court order,” Jefferson said. However, at the end of the day, it’s
about choice, and parents already have choices, he said.
question that the stakeholders should be asking is what effects will this have
on Claiborne Parish?” he asked. “How many are exercising choice because they
aren’t going to Homer or Haynesville? Parents should have that choice.”
while he does not agree with everything in the bills, he does agree that
parents need choice.
when it comes to private schools, tuition costs may not be that much different
than a public school. Public schools get the majority of their funds from the
Minimum Foundation Program, which is allocated to school systems based on the
number of students they have. How much each student gets is calculated based on
education needs, physical needs or otherwise. For instance, a child under the
504 classification (Americans with Disabilities Act), would receive more than a
student who is not under 504.
School Headmaster Darden Gladney said tuition for one student is around $4,640
per year with a $300 enrollment and testing fee for the first year, and each
year for re-enrollment it’s $250.
if they would accept students from the voucher system, Gladney said they would
have to know more about it.
would consider it after the final guidelines are published,” he said.
press time, The Guardian-Journal was not able to speak with Claiborne Academy
Headmistress Jane Brown. She returned our phone call, and we returned hers
again, but we were not able to speak with her at the time of deadline.
Times Picayune of New Orleans gave a rundown of how House Education Committee
members voted. They are as follows: FOR: Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge; Patrick
Jefferson (vice chairman) D-Homer; Chris Broadwater, R-Hammond, Henry Burns, R-Haughton;
Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport; Simone Champagne, R-Jeanerette; Cameron Henry,
R-Metairie; Paul Hollis, R-Covington; Nancy Landry, R-Lafayette; John Schroder,
R-Covington; Robert Shadoin, R-Ruston and Jeff Thompson, R-Bossier City.
votes on both bills came from Democrats: Wesley Bishop, D-New Orleans; John Bel
Edwards, D-Amite; Ed Price, D-Gonzales; Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge and
Alfred Williams, D-Baton Rouge.
according to reports from The Shreveport Times, the Senate Education Committee
voted in favor as well. Their votes are as follows.
SB603: Chairman Conrad Appel, R-Metairie; Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge; Jack
Donahue, R-Metairie; Elbert Guillory, D-Opelousas; Mike Walsworth, R-West
Monroe; and Sen. Bodi White, R-Central.
Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte.
Education Committee voted 5-1 to send SB597, which deals with school choice, to
the full Senate for consideration after several hours of debate. Sen. Eric
LaFleur, D-Ville Platte, cast the only dissenting vote.
Conrad Appel, R-Metairie; Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville; Dan Claitor, R-Baton
Rouge; Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe; and Bodi White, R-Central
Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte
Elbert Guillory, D-Opelousas
Mark Your Calendars!
Lots of activities for annual Relay for
way money is being raised for the American Cancer Society is through a drawing
for several prizes. A six-gallon cajun fryer from R&V Works will be raffled
off for $5 per donation per ticket. A four-gallon cajun fryer, also by R&V
Works will be raffled off for a $2 donation per ticket. For a $5 donation per
ticket, a smokin’ cajun grill, by R&V Works will be raffled off.
drawing will be held at the Relay, but winners do not have to be present to
win. Tickets are available at Homer Memorial Hospital. For more information on
the raffle, please call 318-927-1400 or email . the
Relay for Life will be held from noon until midnight on Saturday, April 14, at
the Ronny G. Beard Memorial Stadium at Homer High School. Luminarias are
available for $10 each; just see this week’s edition of The Guardian-Journal to
get a form. Please send your completed form and contribution to your team
member or mail to Luminaria Chair, Ann Burton, P.O. Box 240, Homer, LA 71040.
Don’t forget to vote Saturday!
forget to vote this Saturday!
and Democrats will be making their choices on who should be the next United
remember that only Democrats can vote on a Democratic candidate and Republicans
can only vote on Republican candidates.
the ballot is the one percent sales tax renewal for the Village of Athens to go
towards the village’s general fund.
more information, please contact the Claiborne Registrar of Voters Office at
Haynesville man charged with second
degree attempted murder
Haynesville men were arrested after a car accident led to charges stemming from
T. Meadors, 34, was arrested on Sunday, March 18, and charged with attempted
second degree murder with bond set at $50,000, driving under suspension with
bond set at $500, reckless operation with bond set at $500 and no insurance
with bond set at $500.
Tate, 49, was arrested on the same date and charged with aggravated battery
with bond set at $10,000 and aggravated criminal damage to property with bond
set at $20,000.
to reports, Haynesville Police Officers Trent Crook and Danny Mills were
dispatched to the 200 block of Zion Drive in reference to a car accident and
the two officers arrived on scene, they learned that Tate and Meadors had been
involved in an altercation. The two officers conducted a preliminary
investigation which revealed that Tate had hit Meadors with a shovel, causing
injury to his hand. Reports say Tate also hit Meadors’ car and damaged it. It
was also reported that Tate was hit by Meadors’ car.
was taken to Homer Memorial Hospital where he was treated and released from
their care. The two were then arrested and booked at the Claiborne Parish
Detention Center on the above charges.
Haynesville man turns himself in
Thursday, March 15, the Claiborne Narcotic Enforcement Team (CNET) attempted to
serve five arrest warrants in Haynesville, according to a statement released by
Task Force Coordinator James Spillers.
arrest warrants were the result of a six-month undercover operation during
which purchases of the Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) cocaine
were made from Andre D. Anderson.
6 a.m. that day, CNET and Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Office personnel initiated
surveillance of Anderson’s residence, located at 2063 Gary Street in
Haynesville. Shortly before 8 a.m., an individual exited the residence and left
in Anderson’s 2005 Dodge truck. Contact was made with this subject several
blocks away from the residence in an attempt to determine if Anderson was at
subject advised that Anderson had not been at the residence for the past two
nights and his location was unknown. Agent Spillers and Deputy Randy Pugh
escorted this subject back to the Gary Street address and conducted a
consensual search for Anderson. Unable to locate Anderson here, law enforcement
broadened their search within the neighborhood and started receiving additional
information from anonymous sources. Having no success after following up on all
information, the operation was terminated for the day.
then contacted the U.S. Marshal’s Service Fugitive Task Force in Shreveport for
assistance. On Monday, March 19, a five-man team arrived in Claiborne Parish to
assist CNET in locating Anderson. After the Marshal’s task force officers and
CNET personnel made contact with several individuals in Haynesville, Anderson
contacted the Haynesville Police Department by phone and advised that he was in
Shreveport. He said he would be turning himself in, because he did not want any
of his family getting in trouble because of him.
in the evening on March 19, Andre D. Anderson turned himself in at the
Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Office in Homer. Anderson was placed under arrest by
Deputy J.T. Williams on five counts of distribution of Schedule II CDS cocaine
and transported to the Claiborne Parish Detention Center and booked. Anderson’s
bond was set at $50,000 per count for a total of $250,000.
should understand that if someone is wanted and you knowingly assist them in
avoiding arrest by providing false information to authorities, that is a
federal violation of which the U.S. Marshal’s Service can
and will arrest someone,” Agent Spillers stated.
“Additionally, this could lead to charges of obstruction of justice on a state
particular case, the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force will continue its
investigation of subjects in the Haynesville area that assisted Anderson in
avoiding arrest and expect to make arrests in the future.
can run and you can hide, but eventually, you will get caught,” Agent Spillers
report suspicious or illegal activity, concerned citizens may call CNET at
318-927-9800, the Louisiana State Police/Drug Enforcement Agency at
318-676-4080, the Homer Police Department at 318-927-4000, the Haynesville
Police Department at 318-624-1355 or the Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Office at
all information is considered confidential and is greatly appreciated.
Summerfield raises $5,000 for St. Jude
These Summerfield students participated
in the annual Math-A-Thon to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research
Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. They raised approximately $5,000. Congratulations!
– Students at Summerfield High School recently participated in the St. Jude
Children’s Research Hospital® Math-A-Thon program and raised $5,610 to help
kids battling cancer and other deadly diseases.
so proud of our students for embracing Math-A-Thon and raising critical funds
for St. Jude,” said Monica Morrow, coordinator of the event. “Every dollar
raised with help support the St. Jude mission of finding cures and saving
children in communities worldwide.”
its inception more than 30 years ago, Math-A-Thon has become one of America’s
largest education-based fundraisers. More than 10,000 schools across the country
participate in the program every year. Math-A-Thon is also one of the most
successful fundraising campaigns for St. Jude, having raised nearly $400
million since its inception.
allows students to build and practice essential math skills while they raise
funds for kids battling cancer at St. Jude. The program works in the following
way: Teachers serve as volunteer coordinators for Math-A-Thon at their school.
Participating students solve math problems in a printed or online Funbook.
Students ask family and friends for donations in support of their participation
in the Math-A-Thon. All donations are sent to St. Jude, where no child is ever
turned away because of the family’s inability to pay.
Jude has teamed up with Scholastic Inc. to make Math-A-Thon a more valuable
resource for teachers as they prepare students for standardized testing. The
print and online versions of Math-A-Thon Funbooks contain colorful activities
developed by Scholastic. The activities support National Standards and are
aligned to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) focal points
for each grade level from K–8. The online version of the Funbook allows
students to complete grade-specific activities like those offered in the print
version but in an engaging game format that tracks points for the student.
more information on how to host your own Math-A-Thon event, call 1-800-FUNBOOK
(386-2665) or visit www.mathathon.org.
Jude Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering
work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic
diseases. St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be
designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.
Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude
freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around
the world. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families
never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied
treatment because of the family’s inability to pay. St. Jude is financially
supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization. For more information, go to www.stjude.org.
Bell teaches kids football basics
The Guardian-Journal photos/Michelle
Buffalo Bills Player Demetrius Bell
worked with children during a spring football camp held at Mayfield Park on
Saturday. Pictured top, Bell teaches this possible up and coming football
player the fundamentals of footwork, agility and balance. Above, while coaches
from around the area and Bell work with the boys, the girls got to learn some
cheers for the Buffalo Bills team. As they worked with the girls, they learned
a few cheers and some moves to help them motivate the fans.