Education

Jun 7, 2012 7:14 PM by Jenise Fernandez

Louisiana Federation of Teachers Filing Lawsuits Against the State and BESE

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers files two lawsuits against the state and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The agency says the way the legislature handled Governor Jindal's education package was unconstitutional. Governor Jindal signed a series of bills changing public education, which include allowing the state to pay private school tuition for students who want to get out of poorly performing public schools. Other changes include adjusting teacher tenure rules and making it easier to create charter schools.

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers calls the legislative session a travesty.

"We feel as citizens we had no choice but to challenge," said LFT President, Steve Monaghan.

The first lawsuit filed says it's unconstitutional for lawmakers to bundle a series of laws into just two bills. The Louisiana constitution states that "every bill shall be confined to one object."

"It limited the debate we can have on these issues because often a legislator is only looking at one piece of the bill that they like," said Monaghan.

The second suit deals with lawmakers voting to use state dollars to fund the voucher program. The house voted 51-49 after the Speaker of the hHouse ruled the usual majority vote of 53 members wasn't needed.

"That was the symbol of the way the entire session worked out. Changing the rules as you go through," said Monaghan.

Although Jindal's education package was met with controversy. Some think it's the only to improve education in the state.

"If I had a choice to send my son to a better school, of course I would," said Crystal Nixon.

Crystal Nixon is a single mom and full-time student. Her son is at a "D" rated school and she can't afford to put him in a private school.

"I want a better education for my son and this scholarship program is making it available to him," she added.

"If rule of law doesn't matter, than we're all at risk," added Monaghan.

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