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I returned to school at age 42 to earn my teaching certification at age 45 after raising my own three children. I went on to earn my Masters Degree and National Board Certification. I recently retired after 17 years in the classroom and have been advocating and lobbying full time on behalf of public education.
Our Governor Bobby Jindal has embraced the "reform" movement in order to enhance his political career and to pander to the ultra conservative contributors to his campaign for higher office. He has sliced the budgets of K-12 and higher education in this state and is determined to fully comply with all the legislative recommendations of ALEC. Shortly after I retired, our legislature passed a bill that prevents retired teachers from even substituting for one day, returning to the classroom to fill temporary needs or to serve as adjunct instructors at public institutions of higher learning without forfeiting their entire retirement benefit while employed. Our Governor recently announced his aggressive agenda for the legislature this spring which includes full vouchers, "transforming" all failing schools throughout the state (based on seriously flawed high stakes standardized tests), a teacher evaluation system using 50% quantative measure using student test scores, removing the right of local school districts to deny charters. . . the full gamut of destructive measures.
Governor Jindal sold his reform initially as a necessity to achieve Race to the Top Federal Funding. After three failed applications, he has finally succeeded with a meager award of funds that now justifies his requirement for these measures. The carrot and stick mentality of our U.S. Dept. of Education is now reaching out to destroy our public institutions of higher learning which have also had their budgets squeezed. I do not understand how the public cannot see how ludicrous this methodology is to "improve" education outcomes. "I'll stop twisting your arm when you agree to do my will."
As hopeless as it seems in this fight against corporate takeover of our schools, we have to keep our voices in the forefront.