Law & Courts

La. Union Challenges School Waiver Bill

By The Associated Press — July 02, 2010 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A teachers union Thursday challenged a new law pushed by Gov. Bobby Jindal that will let public schools waive certain state education regulations.

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers, along with the East Baton Rouge and Jefferson parish chapters of the union, filed a lawsuit in state district court one day after Jindal signed the bill into law. It claims the waiver law is unconstitutional because it delegates legislative authority to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and because it carves out special exemptions for individual public schools.

The union seeks to throw out the law and immediately prohibit education board from using the waiver authority.

“We believe there is adequate, settled case law proving that the Legislature does not have the constitutional authority to delegate its responsibilities to an administrative body,” said union lawyer Larry Samuel.

A spokesman for Jindal, Kyle Plotkin, has said the lawsuit is without merit and attempts to stop reform.

Under the measure sponsored by Rep. Jane Smith, R-Bossier City, public schools and school districts will be able to apply for four-year waivers of state laws or policies that superintendents believe restrict their ability to improve performance. They can set aside things like curriculum standards, length of school day, budget restrictions and student-to-teacher ratios.

The education board will decide whether to grant the waivers.

Jindal said the waivers can help troubled schools improve by giving them the flexibility allowed in charter schools, which are publicly financed but run without many of the requirements governing traditional public schools.

“For too long, we’ve bogged down our schools with regulations and red tape, and this new law will provide our schools with another tool they need to give our children a quality education,” Jindal said in a statement announcing the bill signing Wednesday.

Teachers unions opposed the measure throughout the legislative session, fearful the waivers could be used to sidestep teacher salary and job protections. A requirement was added that any waiver application must receive the backing of a majority of teachers in a secret ballot at the school before it can be filed.

Superintendents also must get the backing of their local school boards to get a waiver, and low-performing schools have to agree to overhaul their school leadership. If they don’t improve students’ standardized test scores, they face state takeover.

Waivers can’t apply to student safety, accountability standards, graduation requirements, teacher evaluation procedures or student nutrition.

Related Tags:

Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Law & Courts Opinion What the Law Says About Parents' Rights Over Schooling
The rallying cry of “parental freedom” perpetuated racial segregation, writes a legal scholar. So why would we let it dictate curriculum?
Joshua Weishart
5 min read
People hold signs and chant during a meeting of the North Allegheny School District school board regarding the district's mask policy, at at North Allegheny Senior High School in McCandless, Pa., on Aug. 25, 2021. A growing number of school board members across the U.S. are resigning or questioning their willingness to serve as meetings have devolved into shouting contests over contentious issues including masks in schools.
People at a school board meeting in late August protest the mask policy set by the North Allegheny school district in Western Pennsylvania.
Alexandra Wimley/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP
Law & Courts Justice Dept. to Pay $127.5M to Parkland Massacre Victims' Families
Attorneys for 16 of the 17 killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland said they had reached a confidential monetary settlement.
Terry Spencer, Miami Herald
2 min read
In this Feb. 15, 2018, file photo, law enforcement officers block off the entrance to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., following a deadly shooting at the school.
In this Feb. 15, 2018, file photo, law enforcement officers block off the entrance to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., following a deadly shooting at the school.
Wilfredo Lee/AP Photo
Law & Courts Can Public Money Go to Religious Schools? A Divisive Supreme Court Case Awaits
The justices will weigh Maine's exclusion of religious schools from its "tuitioning" program for students from towns without high schools.
13 min read
The Carson family pictured outside Bangor Christian School in Bangor, Maine on Nov. 5, 2021.
Institute for Justice senior attorney Michael E. Bindas, left, accompanies Amy and David Carson who flank their daughter, Olivia, outside Bangor Christian Schools in Maine in early November. The Carsons are one of two families seeking to make religious schools eligible for Maine's tuition program for students from towns without high schools.
Linda Coan O’Kresik for Education Week
Law & Courts Students Expelled, Suspended for 'Slavery' Petition Sue District
The lawsuit claims the officials violated the students’ First Amendment, due process, and equal protection rights.
3 min read
Image of a gavel.
Marilyn Nieves/E+