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What unions do

In AFT President Randi Weingarten’s latest New York Times  column, she describes what it is exactly that unions do. Though unions are the most popular they have been in decades, anti-union sentiment still thrives in red states and across the nation. “Several years ago, The Atlantic ran a story whose headline made even me, a labor leader, scratch my head: ‘Union Membership: Very Sexy,’” Weingarten writes in the column. “The gist was that higher wages, health benefits and job security—all associated with union membership—boost one’s chances of getting married. Belonging to a union doesn’t actually guarantee happily ever after, but it does help working people have a better life in the here and now.” Click through to read the full column.

Recruitment & Retention Survey

In school districts across the state there are vacancies. Teacher vacancies, para vacancies, food staff, custodians, bus drivers, nurses – schools across the state can’t find the staff that they need. Educators are leaving the profession or moving to other districts that offer better pay and working conditions. Louisiana needs to do more to keep these valuable teachers and staff in our schools. Policy makers at all levels of government are trying to find solutions, but they are missing the most obvious piece: ask the teachers and school employees.

We want to hear from you about what you think would help end Louisiana's school staffing shortages. Have you ever considered leaving? What makes you think about quitting? What makes you stay?

School Safety Survey

The second survey in LFT’s Six Weeks Six Surveys campaign asks teachers and school employees about their experience with School Safety.

Unfortunately, in many schools, safety for staff and students is a serious concern. Dilapidated and moldy buildings can cause long term health problems. Teachers and support staff face regular violence. For some, body armor is a normal part of their daily uniform. Students who need increased emotional support aren't getting the help they need and teachers are spending valuable educational time dealing with student behavior issues.

LFT is fighting for policies that keep students and staff safe. We need to hear from you about the solutions you want to see.

BESE Finalizes MFP Proposal: Raises vs. Stipends

Today, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education finalized their MFP Proposal – the funding formula for Louisiana Public Schools. LFT president Larry Carter testified before the board, highlighting the concerns of thousands of educators across the state who often consider leaving their job because of low pay and substandard working conditions. He asked the Board to improve upon what was recommended by the MFP Task Force and the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) and boost funding for teacher and school employee raises. He asked the board to pass a raise of at least $4,000 for teachers and $2,000 for school support staff.

With little discussion and no debate, the Board passed the MFP proposal recommended by LDOE. This MFP proposal would give teachers a $2,000 raise as well as certain teachers a $1,000 stipend (the stipend would apply to teachers who are in a critical shortage area, rated highly effective, working in high needs schools and/or those working as part of the teacher leadership team). Despite some media reports, this is not a $3,000 pay hike. A stipend isn’t guaranteed from one year to the next and it could be taken away for any number of reasons.

Compensation Survey

Last year, Louisiana passed a $1,500 raise for teachers and $750 for school support staff. It was an historic raise by Louisiana standards, but still significantly lower than increases passed in neighboring states. At the same time, LDOE passed a bill that forces teachers to pay a fee for a duplicate background check and the Office of Group Benefits increased premium costs, again.

LFT is already working to pass another pay increase. One that will actually make a difference in the lives of our teachers and school employees, but we want to hear from you!

Low pay is not the only thing driving teachers and school employees away from our classrooms, but it is an important factor. We want to hear about your experience. How have recent increases to insurance costs impacted your take home pay? How has inflation and increased costs of living impacted your ability to stay in this job?

A torrent of censorship

Nearly 250 years since our country’s founding, some Americans are still attempting to restrict others’ basic freedoms. In Florida and elsewhere, censoring books is part of larger efforts to exert greater control over and undermine education.

LFT Reacts to the Governor's Budget

Today, Governor Edwards released his proposed budget for the upcoming year. This outlines his spending priorities for the state, but it is only the first step. The budget will now go through the legislative process, where legislators will make adjustments to reflect their own priorities. We are pleased to see that the Governor did include pay raises for teachers and school employees in his proposal, but ultimately this amount still falls short of what is needed.

IEP Data Entry Deadline Extended

Due to the outcry from hundreds of special education teachers, administrators, and parents the deadline to enter IEP data into the eSER system will be extended until the third week of January. This was announced by State Superintendent Cade Brumley during this morning's Senate Education Committee meeting. This is the second time that this deadline has been extended due to issues with the eSER system.

The Special Education Reporting System was Down Today

In September, LDOE extended the deadline for inputing data into the eSER system until December 16th because of glitches in the rollout of the new system. It has been over two months since these issues were raised with LDOE, BESE, and the Senate Education Committee, but the problems have only gotten worse. Three days before the deadline to enter data, the entire system went down.

Don't let LDOE cover this up. Let the Senate Education Committee and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education know about your experience with the system.

Happy Holidays from your LFT Family!

As we approach the end of the year, with winter break right around the corner, we want to take a moment to thank you for your tireless devotion to your students. Louisiana’s teachers and school employees, our members, are some of the most hard working and selfless people on the planet, but you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your well-being to be an effective educator. That is why we come together to fight for dignity and professionalism for teachers and support staff in schools. We want to make sure that your love for your students isn’t overshadowed by the day-to-day minutia of tiresome meetings, paperwork, and uninspiring curriculum. You are a creative and dynamic educator and you should be treated as such. Thank you for coming together with your colleagues so that together we can fight for this profession and our students.

Whether you are counting down the days until break, or you can’t believe how much you still need to do before the end of the year (or both), now is a time to look back at some of our collective highlights.