As the landscape of student debt shifts, and more and more opportunities allow borrowers to have their debt relieved, the AFT is using every avenue to ensure that the word is out. In affiliate meetings, telephone town halls, media coverage and social media, the union is spreading the news, and at a student debt clinic at AFT headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 31, AFT President Randi Weingarten vowed to reach as many people as possible with information that could save them tens—and sometimes hundreds—of thousands of dollars.
This legislative session we saw an onslaught of damaging bills, aimed at weakening public education and undermining teachers’ voices. Many of our elected legislators who praised teachers as heroes at the beginning of the pandemic are now working to defund schools and micromanage teachers’ lesson plans. Thankfully, many of these bills failed to pass, but make no mistake, these attacks will continue.
Under John White’s tenure, LDOE created this problem by not fully understanding the law and passing a series of legislation that contradicted federal standards as late as 2018.
Now, LDOE is working to pass this legislation that would allow them to process background checks for all current teachers and all future teachers at the time of certification or recertification, in addition to the background checks teachers already get when they become student teachers and when they're hired. This means that new teachers would have to get the same background check three times, and they’d have to pay for it out of their own pocket.
As Dr. Brumley said in his letter, “we should listen to classroom teachers” – so use this opportunity to let him know what you and your coworkers really need to be successful educators.
LFT and LAE leadership partnered to host a small delegation of local leaders at the Capitol. Our member leaders had the opportunity to be a part of committee meetings and speak directly to their legislators about the proposed pay increase and the struggles educators are facing in the classroom. Members discussed the importance of the proposed pay increase for teachers and school employees. They urged Senators to follow recommendations from the Governor and BESE to use newly recognized revenue to increase the raise, in order to better match what neighboring states have passed. Overall, it was an opportunity for legislators to hear directly from classroom teachers about how legislation has impacted the teaching and learning experience in our schools. Click here to see more.
On Sunday afternoon, the Senate Finance Committee met to deliberate and approve the budget bill, along with supplementary appropriations legislation. The Minimum Foundation Program, which is the funding formula for Louisiana public schools, is a part of the $39 million budget discussed on Sunday. The current MFP proposal includes a $1,500 raise for teachers and $750 for support staff. The Governor’s office, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education as well as educational stakeholders like LFT have requested that the legislature invest part of the additional revenue recognized at the May REC meeting into additional raises for teachers and school employees.
Despite outcry from thousands of teachers and support staff, the Senate Finance Committee did not vote to increase the educator raise.
Senate Finance Set to Determine Your Raise
On Sunday afternoon, the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to deliberate the budget bill (HB 1) and they will determine how much money to allocate for teacher and school employee raises. If the Senate doesn’t fund raises in the budget, then teachers and school employees aren’t getting raises this year, so this is very important!
Click here to ask the Senate Finance Committee to support additional raises for teachers & school employees.