By US Daily Review Staff.
In an anticipated move, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers filed lawsuits against the state’s recently passed education reform laws, prompting a swift response from a group of statewide reform organizations and concerned parents who fought the legislative battle to pass the reforms that will benefit thousands of families.
The lawsuits take aim at Acts 1 and 2 of the 2012 legislative session. The goals of the threatened reforms include expanding school choice to children in low-performing schools, reforming teacher tenure standards, empowering educators, and removing barriers to entry for charter schools, among others.
A broad cross-section of statewide reform organizations decried the lawsuits and the adverse effect it stands to have on Louisiana families and students. Among the groups standing together against the lawsuits are the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Black Alliance for Educational Options, Council for A Better Louisiana, Louisiana Federation for Children, Louisiana Association of Business & Industry, Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, Pelican Institute for Public Policy, and Stand for Children Louisiana.
Parents, like Steve Cook of Baton Rouge, recognize the potential negative impact this will have on children across the state.
“What concerns me is what the suits will entail,” Cook said. “To enter into court will damage education seriously in Louisiana and while the process is being argued, children will suffer.”
The filing of the lawsuits aims to slow down important improvements to the state’s public school system, which have given hope to many parents throughout the Bayou State whose children are trapped in schools that are poorly performing and not serving their academic needs. In addition, it risks the ability for school superintendents and leaders to be empowered to make critical decisions that ensure all students have access to a great teacher and principal.
“These new laws have given me faith that my child will have a brighter future and chance at success—something that hasn’t ever been a reality,” said Catina Dunn, a parent in Baker, La. “To be denied the right to a quality education is unfair for my child and all other children who deserve an opportunity to achieve their dreams.”
Supporters of the education reforms noted the legislative reforms were fiercely debated, but, parents and taxpayers prevailed, and these reforms reflect the will of the people of Louisiana. Any effort to slow down or stop these measures flies in the face of educational equality.
“The futures of so many children, as well as our great state, are depending on these much-needed reforms to public education,” said Eric Lewis, state director of the Louisiana chapter of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. “We urge the Louisiana Federation of Teachers to reconsider these lawsuits and instead focus on the more important goal of increasing student achievement and school improvement.”