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Right here… Hello, I'm Robert Collins, and I'd like to welcome you to Education Update, a new weekly news magazine created for teachers. In a moment, I'll recap some of the educational policies which have made headlines recently in Louisiana, but first, I'd like to describe the format of our program and explain what
we hope it will do for you. An update is a joint effort of the Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the State Department of Education. Its aim is to keep teachers abreast of changing trends in the field. Each program will feature a new segment highlighting current events, recent acts of the legislature, policy changes made by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and opinions by the State Attorney General, which affect education. We hope the interview segment of our show will provide teachers with a better understanding of the changes in education which affect them, their jobs, and the children they teach. By bringing educational newsmakers into the studio each week, we hope to probe into recent policy changes to learn why they were made and how they were implemented. If the subject on the discussion is controversial, we hope the dialogue will be also.
If there are people you would like us to interview or specific subjects you would like to be discussed, just right to education update and care of Louisiana Public Broadcasting, 2618 Wooddale Boulevard, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70805. The final portion of our show will be devoted to a videotaped segment done on location, which will feature innovative programs, exemplary projects, and outstanding teachers from across the state. We'll focus on ideas in education that work, and we will show you how you can incorporate them into your classroom plan. If you have a model program you'd like to share with others just contact this station, and we'll see about making arrangements to send a camera crew to your area. Every third week of our series, we'll be having a film from one of three in-service film series. These will cover many areas like teaching in the integrated classroom and helping students learn to read. These films are being considered for possible use as credit courses that will be offered
or may be offered through a state university. By giving you a sampling of these series, you can tell us which might be best for you. And that will be our usual format for education update, now for the news. The 1980 legislative session included action on all phases of education, perhaps the most controversial bill created the Louisiana Teaching Professions Practices Commission, better known as the PPC. In 1981, this 15-member commission will begin hearing and investigating complaints against educators. It will also recommend actions to local school boards or to the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Bessie Board. Only Bessie will be authorized to revoke or suspend the teaching certificate, and this can only happen in five instances. First, a fraudulently obtained certificate, second in competency, third dishonesty, fourth willful neglect of duties, or fifth immorality as a school employee or in activities that
affect a student. We'll be discussing the PPC in more detail on our program next week. In a related act, teachers will be given salary increases if they take part in a five-year program. In that program, the Louisiana Educational Employees Professional Improvement Program will be voluntary and it will consist of academic and in-service activities. Local and state committees will monitor that program, and program guidelines will be set by the State Superintendent of Education. Prayer in the schools came up again this year at the State Capitol with different results than before. For the first time since 1962, local school boards are now authorized to allow voluntary prayer not to exceed five minutes a day. No student will be required to participate if a student or his guardian objects. The best news for teachers to come out of this session was the 9.67% pay raise.
That increase is effective for the 1980 school year. Funding was provided in the general appropriations bill. A final bit of support for teachers passed and amendment to the Tuition Reimbursement Act. Now, teachers who take interim courses between semesters can be reimbursed provided they go to an accredited college or university. Another amendment to the Act includes parish and state supervisors. From the Attorney General's office come three especially interesting opinions of late. The first involves sales taxes that are used for teacher compensation. The opinion states that where a sales tax was dedicated to teacher compensation the school board can pro-rate any surplus at the end of the year. Another opinion concerns medical insurance for students who participate in intra-school athletics. The Attorney General is of the opinion that schools cannot require special football premiums and school time insurance or even medical insurance.
That's because some families cannot afford such premiums and they might keep students from intra-school athletics. However, the students parents may be asked to sign hold harmless agreements which would limit the school board's liability. The most recent opinion states that sense nepotism is specifically prohibited by state law. The son of a school board member cannot be employed by the same board. That would apply to any member of the immediate family. This summer the state board of elementary and secondary education continued its monthly meetings. At its August meeting the board designed a mechanism whereby the two million dollars appropriated by the legislature for reducing the teacher pupil ratio in the first grade could be divided. That money should reduce the teacher pupil ratio or the pupil teacher ratio to is near to twenty to one as possible. The Department of Education will be responsible for monitoring the implementation. And those are the summer's news highlights.
Since this is only the third week of school in most parishes we thought it would be interesting to know what some people who determine education policy foresee for the 1980-81 school year. Niva? Thank you Robert. Today's discussion promises to be most interesting. Education Louisiana has expanded to a multi-million dollar operation. We now have almost 60,000 teachers serving about 950,000 students. Our panel discussion today is designed to talk about the problems, status, and future plans for education. With me today, Dr. William Baker of the Louisiana Association of Educators, he is director of the Center for Instruction and Professional Services, the Director of Special Services, and the Chief Lobbius for the LAE. Next is Dr. James Swallow, the Executive Director of Bessie, the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Principal Policymaking Board for Education in Louisiana. And next is Mrs. Imaging Planner of PAR, the Public Affairs Research Council.
Mrs. Planner is the Research Director of that organization. These panelists are extremely sensitive and knowledgeable about what's going on in education in the state of Louisiana. They spend hours at legislative meetings and committee meetings and at state board meetings. And since the topic for today seems to be the priorities and future plans for the 1981 school year, I'd like to begin this discussion with Dr. Swallow. Dr. Swallow being the Executive Director of the Bessie Board sets and approves our policy for our state school board. And the biggest issue that seems to be in the limelight right now is teacher certification. And I'd like to ask you if you see any changes coming up for the 80, 81 school year so far as teacher certification is concerned. First of all, I'd like to thank you for having me here. And then as we address this particular question, I think that you have to understand that it's not the Board per se, which develops the policy, what the Board does is it looks to the State Department of Education and the staff members there to make recommendations
to the Board and we consider those in committee and after a due input by professional organizations as well as the staff from the State Department of Education, the Board members listen and then vote accordingly. I think that we have seen in the past some strengthening of areas in teacher certification and that will be the trend for the future. In particular in the area of special education, we have strengthened that program, we have one of the best programs in the nation because of that and as for what we will term the regular education teacher, I think you're going to see some things happening there as well. And it's also important to remember that if we don't do that, these things become legislative mandates. Well, considering teacher certification is really an issue that is propped up because of the controversy over quality of teachers, Mrs. Plano, I'd like to ask you, one of the proposals that the P.A.R. made last year was the proposal against the changing our
tenure policy. Now, is this supposed to be something that's going to be coming up in your future, something you're going to be doing research on concerning any change in your policy and how do you think this is going to affect our upgrading the educational system? Yes, it is definitely under consideration and very, very much in the forefront as far as research is concerned at this point. As far as tenure itself, naturally we stand for our tenure, we found that it has served as far as protecting the teacher from political harassment and putting the teacher in the position that would be unfavorable as far as education is concerned in our state. And as far as upgrading our educational system, we feel that tenure allows our teachers the freedom to go out and get further education and further knowledge in their specialized field.
Well, this seemed to be a big debate question between P.A.R. and LE last year on the issue of tenure, Dr. Baker, does the LE plan to continue its fight against the changing tenure? We think that the tenure statutes as a president stand are quite adequate, as a matter of fact, the imposition of the PPC and some other legislation this year, we think, are redundant. In our need this, as a consequence, we have further eroded the confidence of the public and teachers in education. We have destroyed the will of the teachers to try to do the best job that they can. With regards to both the question of tenure and with regards to the question of certification, I think you have to consider the fact that until we can remove the obstacles to good teaching, we can't really address ourselves in any really adequate kind of way to these two questions. First of all, you have to consider the economic factors. Our teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation, especially the senior teachers, the teachers who have the maturity, the experience.
On the lower levels, the teachers compare fairly well in the region, but we are concerned about people who can stay in the system for five, six, eight, ten years and who can give us the benefit of their experience and their maturity. These teachers on this end of the level, as you notice, then the teacher pay scale. In most of the systems that you don't get any raises beyond the seventh or seventh times as much as the tenth year. Now, let's take a look at it from the male perspective. Most of our male teachers are forced to seek outside employment in order to just exist to make a living. In addition to that, they have three months of unemployment for the summer, and until we can pay our teachers a living wage, then we aren't going to be able to demand to insist on having the kind of teachers that we want to have in the system. Another factor is in addition to economics, we have overcrowded classrooms. We have an inconsistent program in the state universities with regards to teacher education programs. Now, if you're going to have a single standard for admission to the profession, then you have to have a single standard for preparation for admission to the program.
Until the many state universities and other universities in the state can develop a consistent program for teacher preparation, I don't see how it can impose a single standard for admission to the system. Well, the big concern over a teacher certification has been the cause of the lowering of the quality of education, and so what I'd like to do now is maybe switch the discussion rather than to certifying teachers, but rather how about the quality of our students who are coming from the public school system. Dr. Swallow, the board sets policy also for high school graduation requirements. Do you see any changes in these requirements for the upcoming year because of the, again, the controversy over our students are coming out of the schools unadequately educated or so far as the public believes? Well, I think that you're going to see that those requirements are going to be strengthened. I think that you have to look at the elements that are involved. They are the elements of teacher competency. They are the elements of parent involvement within the school system, and then there are the elements of the local board decisions about what kind of quality of education are they
going to demand on a local level. The state board policy is a policy which reacts to a legislative mandate and which also looks at what we can do in an administrative sense with the State Department of Education to maintain the best quality of education for all the citizens of Louisiana. And I would tend to think that, as you look at the big picture, you have to look at all the components that go into making better education and a quality education in Louisiana. And that does deal with, first of all, the instructor in the classroom, it deals with the administrator and it deals with the management level at the superintendent's level. It also deals with the colleges and universities assuming their responsibilities to be important in the pre-service or pre-education aspect of teacher education. I see that as we move maybe to solidify what our demands are on a board and state level from the department, working with the colleges and universities to cooperate with what
our needs are after they get out of college. Well, it seems like one of the biggest issues also. The hit teachers last year was the reading and writing minimum standards. Dr. Baker, I'd like to ask you, what does the LAEC as some of the biggest problems they're going to face teachers this year? Well, there are basically no essential changes the problems remain the same. For the past several years we've had the problems of all the credit classrooms. We have had the problem as was pointed out by Dr. Swallow, the parents not being as much involved as they have been in New York State. The American Federation of Teachers has been done a problem called parents as partners in reading and what we have learned there is that in a span of less than a year we have been able to raise the reading levels of kids by as much as three years in terms of the reading grade level. What we're seeing then is that we can begin to reduce class sizes in terms of the number of students that a teacher has in the classroom. Part of the misconception of the whole thing though and teachers are getting a very bad slam.
We find that our population is aging as a consequence older people don't have children in school. We find that on the other hand we have a much younger population who have kids who are too young to be in school as a consequence what they know about schools and what they read in the press and it's very simple then to take a national reading exam, give it to all the kids, they all flock the exam and then to condemn all teachers in all schools because the kids can't read and that's not really what's going on. Now since these people pay the taxes then they come back now to Dr. Swallow's legislative mandate and say you must make these kids read at a certain level. But what has really happened is and we've noticed over the past 20-25 years is that parents don't want to go to school, talk to the teachers, they go to the school board, they go to the courts, they go to the legislature. Okay well doesn't that mean one of your biggest breakthroughs last year was the collective bargaining which should be said into action this year. Do you think you're going to get better results from this? So Dr. Swallow talked about management and I think more and more teachers realize that they are in fact workers, we work for a living, we are selling professionals, I grant you, but salaried and as a consequence we've got to manage the school boards, the various
levels of management they are in and until teachers can begin to organize themselves into unions and to bargain collectively for their own professional self-interest I think we're going to be in serious trouble in this state and others. Mrs. Steiner let me ask you do you, the P.A.R.'s purpose is to let the general public know about exactly what is going on in the school system according you know and with their local and state governments. Do you think collective bargaining is going to help you and your organization with your research, researchings and to letting them know more about what's going on with the teachers. You know we don't think so because I find that in our research that collective bargaining is not to the advantage of the classroom teacher, it does away with professionalism and the classroom teacher is as professional as a medical doctor, the classroom teacher is as specialist in human beings and in teaching and growth and the nurture that's necessary for those, for the children in our state and it is our position that collective bargaining
will not be beneficial. Dr. Sweller did you have a comment that you wanted to add? Yes I think that we have to look at the administration, the administrator is important also in terms of his public relation role and so if parents don't know about what schools are doing then that's an item that they have to address from the superintendent from the mid-level management to the principal that is a grave part, it's a part that we hear with the board and with the State Department address very actively this program is a fine example of that, but there are other methods as well and this is one of the ways it's been recommended by National Consultants. Well we certainly hope that our program is doing just that, I want to thank all of you for being here, I've enjoyed the opinions I'm sure that our public did too, for seeing a very bright and exciting future for the 1980-81 school year and we hope that you have enjoyed our panel and it's been interesting and informative, we want you to tune in next week when Senator Cecil Picard, David Hamilton, the Department of Education's Legal Council
and a teachers representative, join us to discuss the PPC and its implications and now that to you Robert. Thank you Niva, since this is the beginning of a new school year we thought it might be appropriate to do a piece on the opening of school, the opening of school means many things to many people and with that in mind we talk with some school people to find out what they've been doing to prepare for the day when all the students come back to school. To most people the phrase back to school sparked romantic images of polished apples, new clothes and the sound of school bells mingled with children's laughter, for the professional educator though it's not only back to school but also back to work and the return process can be as much psychological as it is physical. To get some idea of what is involved in getting ready for a new year we talked to three educators before the term began, each at a different level and each with a unique perspective. Willie may wash them, a first grade teacher starting her 25th year as a teacher, an at true acts, a former teacher beginning her first year as a principal and Raymond Arveson
who is beginning his first year as the superintendent of East Baton Rouge Parish schools. Dr. Arveson first talked about the opening of school in general, this year in particular and the importance of preparation. I'm always excited about the opening of school, I have to tell you, I don't like the endings, I don't like the end of it, I wish sometime we could just say this is the last day of school and announce it as a surprise, I think we all kind of build up to the ending of school and sometimes the learning activities are not as productive in those last week, but I get always very very excited about the opening of a school year. My background is you noted has been in small schools, almost rural schools and in small city schools in North Dakota to start out with and then in a suburban urban kind of situation in California and then in Minneapolis, strictly in urban situation. We have all of those facets here in East Baton Rouge Parish schools and it's fascinating for me to combine all of the elements of my own experience in utilizing them in this
prairie system and it's a very exciting thing, the opening of this school year I think has been as smooth, as good an opening as I've ever experienced in any school system. So I'm very pleased about that. It's obviously important to be prepared for the first of the year. How would you describe its importance though for teachers, administrators, for everyone to really be sort of psychologically and physically prepared for school, but what kind of a crucial difference can that make? I think the crucial difference particularly talking about teachers and as I said, that's the one that's important is that if they really feel ready and if they really have the right frame of mind, the right attitudinal set about going back into the classroom that they're looking forward to it that they're eager and enthusiastic, that is such a contagious kind of thing that the students pick up on it immediately and I think it sets a tone of teachers as I'm really glad to see you back to the students.
In a unique attempt to reach all of the school employees in his parish, Dr. Oversen spoke to them over open circuit television the day before school began. In the talk, he outlined his goals and objectives. He told us what he hoped the speech would accomplish. I decided that the way to communicate with all of them was to do a television program at the beginning of the year and I've used a variety of different kinds of programs over the years, had some people participate with me. This time I decided that I would simply have a message that I wanted to communicate to all the staff members since this was kind of their introduction to me. They needed to know what I was thinking and the kinds of things that I had in mind that we ought to be working on and emphasizing giving priority to. So I chose this way to just speak directly to them. One of those in the audience listening with extra attention was a Net True Acts, a young
woman beginning her first year as a school principal. Miss True Acts was a teacher until June of this year when she was named to head the staff of North Highlands Elementary, located in Baton Rouge's inner city. She talked about her initial reaction to the appointment and what's ahead for the new term. I was scared to death and I started really was, I almost wondered, what in the world have I done. But I'm enjoying it. It's all that we haven't gotten into a full week of school, just working with the people that I've worked with so far, I've enjoyed it, I can see where I'm growing and I can see some things around the school that have changed hopefully for the better. I think it's going to be an exciting and an interesting job once I really get the handle on it. Is there any special psychological preparation you had to do for yourself to get ready to come into the school? Yeah. I'm coming in as a fairly young principal, working with people that some cases are older and people that have more experience than I do, people that I have to be willing to listen
to them and to respect their experience. I certainly don't want to come in and initiate change completely. I realize that that's not the thing to do, hopefully I can rely on their expertise and their experience to pull me through and I think that you're saying something psychological, it's just the fear of being all things to all people and in a lot of time in a lot of positions, a principle almost has to be bad and knowing that I don't have an answer for every problem and that I'm going to have to rely on a lot of people to help me answer some things and knowing that I am going to have to make decisions and just being a self-confident enough that I can make those decisions wisely, psychologically that can be frightening. After spending the last few months getting to know parents or teachers and the physical layout of her school, Mr. Ux has some definite goals for this session. I'd like to see a year where I've got a lot of parent involvement, I want parents in more than they have been, I'd like a year that's really concentrated on the good of the
child. Improving just the environment, let's make this a child environment, let's center everything we do around the child, let's brighten it up, let's make the classrooms, places where kids like to come, where the rapport is good, where there's a good rapport between me, a good rapport between the teachers and also the community, that's where I'd like to be made to be made to 30. The good of the child might best describe the philosophy of Mrs. Willy Mae Waskam, a first grade teacher at North Highlands who is beginning her 25th year of instruction. As school begins, her thoughts are the same as in all the previous years. Well, we all think about the children that'll be coming up into my classroom and I think of it as a great responsibility and I plan to try to meet each one's individual need in whatever way I possibly can, but I really start planning from the last day of school in May and go to the workshop during the summer and I went to Southern for a workshop
and each time I see a nine-year, I clip it out and put it in a box and when I'm watching television or something, I have time to work on it. So I get ready, you're right. What about preparing your room? Well, I hope that during the first grade that I can let children enjoy first grade and that it'll be just something that they'll want to do, they'll want to go to school and complete school to the 12th grade. So each thing that I do, I enjoy it in hoping that they'll enjoy it and everything is a teaching aid, I've told you that my bulletin boards are half completed now, so you said it was more like a canvas and each bulletin board is a teaching object and they will complete it as the time goes by and I use each item as a teaching device with all the
dreams that we have for them and the hopes, I just try to plant that in first grade so that it'll be a happy experience. In a couple of sentences, how would you sum up teaching? What is teaching you to you? Just a joy. I enjoy teaching, I enjoy getting ready to teach, I enjoy each minute of it. And that's our first edition of Education Update. We'd like to hear from you, to hear your reactions about the program, you can do that by contacting LPB here in Baton Rouge. We'd also like to invite you to join us next week when we discussed the PPC and also in our on-location segment, study the open school concept and how it's working in some Louisiana schools. Thank you, this is Robert Collins for Niva Kineshni, hoping we never stop learning.
Thank you.
Education Update
Pilot Show
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Education Update is a weekly magazine featuring segments specifically meant to keep Louisiana's teachers up to date on education-related news. The show is a joint production between Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the State Department of Education.
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