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.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
When SEL Curriculum Is Not Enough: Integrating Social-Emotional Behavior Supports in MTSS
Help ensure the success of your SEL program with guidance for building capacity to support implementation at every tier of your MTSS.
Content provided by Illuminate Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Profession Webinar
Professional Wellness Strategies to Enhance Student Learning and Live Your Best Life
Reduce educator burnout with research-affirmed daily routines and strategies that enhance achievement of educators and students alike. 
Content provided by Solution Tree
English-Language Learners Webinar The Science of Reading and Multilingual Learners: What Educators Need to Know
Join experts in reading science and multilingual literacy to discuss what the latest research means for multilingual learners in classrooms adopting a science of reading-based approach.

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 In a Chat, Two U.S. Supreme Court Justices Talk Civics, Media Literacy
Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Amy Coney Barrett discussed civics education in a recorded interview presented by the Ronald Reagan Institute.
3 min read
Civics Justices 07292022 172183035
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Law & Courts Conservative Parent Group Sues School District Over Curriculum That Discusses Race and Gender
The lawsuit, among the first to cite a state law curbing discussions of those topics, could have broad implications for school districts.
9 min read
Image of a pending lawsuit.
gesrey/iStock/Getty
Law & Courts Appeals Court Revives Student's Free Speech Suit Over Antisemitic Social Media Post
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit reinstated a case involving an off-campus post referring to the extermination of Jews.
3 min read
Image of a gavel
iStock/Getty
Law & Courts The Supreme Court and Education: Key Rulings That Impact Schools
A recap of the court's decisions that are relevant to schools and educators.
4 min read
Paul D. Clement at the lectern for the petitioner.
A sketch by Art Lien, who just retired after a long career as a courtroom artist, shows U.S. Supreme Court arguments in April in <i>Kennedy</i> v. <i>Bremerton School District</i>, a case about a high school football coach's post-game prayers and one of several cases of interest to educators during the court's 2021-22 term.
Art Lien