Louisiana school chief: Unions willing to sacrifice quality education options

December 3, 2012

Victor Skinner Victor Skinner

Victor is a communications specialist for EAG and joined in 2009. Previously, he was a newspaper journalist.
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By Victor Skinner
EAGnews.org

BATON ROUGE, La. – Teachers unions are willing to sacrifice quality instruction for Louisiana students to preserve their own self interests.

Louisiana state Superintendent John White highlighted that reality last week in an interview about the state’s recent education reforms. His comments came just days before a district court judge ruled that the state’s expanded private school voucher program -  which is supported by White and Gov. Bobby Jindal – is unconstitutional, the Advocate reports.

The state’s major teachers unions were plaintiffs in the lawsuit that led to the ruling.

“The decision that their leadership has made to try to get in the way of parents choosing what is best for their kids is I think a regrettable one,” White said. “So I would say that, by definition, at this moment in time those organizations have chosen to get in the way of student achievement.”

White said the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and Louisiana Association of Educators – the teachers unions suing to halt the voucher program – are focused on job protections and working conditions for their members, and not the best interests of students, the Advocate reports.

“But when those objectives become so politicized that you start to contradict the rights of others in the name of the rights of your members, that seems to me to cross the line,” White said.

We believe union greed is especially egregious when it has a negative consequence for the students and taxpayers that union members are paid to serve.

The LFT and LAE argued in court last week that it’s wrong to use tax dollars to pay for the education of students at non-government schools, even if it means those students would receive a much better education.

Last Friday, 19th District Judge Tim Kelley, agreed with the unions that the state’s voucher program is unconstitutional.

State officials, of course, plan to appeal Kelley’s decision, but there’s no doubt the unions will fight until the end. That’s because they want to preserve public school jobs  and dues revenue from their members.

If kids are forced to settle for a second-class education as a result, so be it.

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