Louisiana: The State We're In; 261
Production funding for this program was provided in part through contributions to friends of the following program is an LBB public affairs production. Louisiana state with Beth George and Ron Bloom. Good evening. A brewing controversy over the qualifications of classroom teachers was in the news this week. We'll give you some background on the issues and personalities involved in that controversy. We'll hear the concerns of the state's chief consumer officer and profile retiring fourth district congressman Jody Wagner. But first this week's capital highlights a little
Association of Business and Industry held its annual meeting this week. And while the emphasis was on the energy future of the state the underlying concern remains the issue that brought them together three years ago. A right to work law. If it were not for the clout. In the world I know of to use that business can exert at election time. In all one hundred forty four seats in the legislature. We would be a paper tiger less than a year from today. Business a successful venture into politics will face the greatest challenge it has ever had in this state or maybe will ever have. And those legislate cars who voted for right to work. And for much of our other legislation have been marked for defeat in October 1979 election. That's less than a year from now if
those legislators fall so Program. Please don't let that happen. It takes big money to get people elected and it takes more each year. This is a 20 million dollar legislative campaign. Coming up next year. Figure it out. You don't believe it. That's what we're talking about. It's a fact of political life and somebody is going to put up that money. Candidates cannot afford to and candidates should not be asked to. They're giving up to run. And we shall all of us and the more the merrier so that nobody owns anybody. I had better get involved. In this. In the recent elections representative buddy Leach pulled out a narrow victory over his opponent former representative in the race for the Fourth Congressional District seat.
Wellstone is leveled charges of vote buying in that election. But the challenge I feel quite certain when the committee re examined the election results of the results certified the election official today. He. Started out again and I will serve as a congressman from my fourth district. I absolutely know that I have not done anything wrong nor any member of my staff. I know that Jimmy is disappointed to a close election. I respect his right to pursue this course of action but I'm not the least bit concerned about the end result in order to get massive amounts of oil into long term storage in a Louisiana salt domes the federal government is constructing an oil pipeline across the basin. It's a project that's created a lot of tension between state and federal officials. And this week that dispute once again boiled to the surface. State and local officials have been growing with the federal government over the massive oil storage project since it began taking shape in 1976. This week the House Natural
Resources Committee heard complaints from the HFA Lyall levee board complaints that the government had cut the basin levies without notifying them cutting through those levees instead of crossing over them is a departure from other pipeline crossings or levee board attorney Joe Cole said it could bring a disaster if it broke in a serious flood. A levee failure in the reach of levee only got 73 flood completely. Morgan City works around here flooding. In all probability and Far East eastward from you know everything south of that latitude. However Levee Board officials said their concern was not that the crossing would fail but that the government would leave the cost to future maintenance and modification to the boy Grab tree representing the Federal Energy Department defended the plan and said they plan to maintain the crossing.
It is not a treatment. It was tried and computations on what could be done. But despite the assurances made by Crabtree the committee still voted to ask for federal guarantees in writing. In 1977 as part of a teacher pay raise package the Louisiana legislature decided that when public school teachers go back to college the state would pay the bill. That program has run into trouble in the form of widely differing fees charged by state universities terms. Dr. William Arsenault director of the State Board of Regents told the Joint Committee on Education that the cost of sending teachers back to school can vary by as much as 100 percent depending on the
State University selected. The act was doing for some what it wasn't doing for others. And that's that situation is going to stay that way as long as universities have different ways of collecting tuition or as long as the legislature doesn't give a clear interpretation of what its intent is. The answer to the problem according to Arsenault is for the legislature to spell out the difference between mandatory expenses for education than items required by university rules. The the problem here is to define what is tuition and then what is support for the situation. Support for this in that it is not necessary to it's necessary to run the university but it's not necessary for instruction. A good example would be a parking fee obviously that's not necessary for instruction but it's necessary to help run the university quality education is a priority for most educators and citizens in Louisiana. But how to accomplish that goal is a subject of increasing controversy. A recent bone of contention involves the testing and certification of classroom teachers.
These are very very hard and it is not even you that I could not hear because I'm only trying to because I wanted to learn to teach my children. But you can't because I think. That I. Am not going to cheer because you know. And I. Guess and it is why are you going to think I'm sorry. Teachers that are going to teach in the classrooms ought to at least know as much of the material that they're taking as they require their students to know when they're when they're when they test before they will place them to the next. And if you use the third percentile or lower you're only talking about maybe 50 percent of the material on a test or certainly no classroom teacher would pass a child that only 50 percent on the
test. So I just didn't feel that we ought to let a teacher be certified in Louisiana did not know more than 50 percent of the actual material. Using the national teacher's exam to certify teachers has been a controversial proposals and some legislature mandated testing in the 77 session. Superintendent of Education Kelly Nix has recommended passing scores. But some teachers feel are unreasonable. This week the board of Elementary and Secondary Education gave final approval to those scores over strong opposition from teacher groups. It has to happen at a school or to the level of 31. Would you like to go to school and she cannot come here and say we think this examination is satisfactorily completed. They do not do that. And no study was done to say one school to pass and another doesn't.
In recent weeks superintendent Nix has been at odds with some teachers after suggesting the standard for awarding pay raises. He further suggested an injured 10 year protection for a literate teachers. Those proposals called the Louisiana Association of educators to withdraw speaking invitation given to NICS for their convention next week. Nix has been keeping a low profile since the dispute heated up but he did issue a press release expressing his disappointment. He also said it simply does not make sense to completely ignore the problem of weak teachers already locked into the system. Opposition to Superintendent Nick surfaced on another level this week. The former president of the Louisiana Teachers Association William Steve Stevens announced his candidacy for Superintendent of Education. Stevens who is principal of Baker Junior High School said he did not feel there were any illiterate teachers in the state and he opposed using national teacher's exam as a requirement for those already teaching. Manner I think Mr. next has tried to approach but I don't think some of these things will
work I think it will lead to complete. Morale breakdown among teachers. I just don't think it's fair to tell a person that you've gone four years to school now we're going to set a real high standard for you and you've got to pass it or you'll be kicked out not that started in the beginning where a person knows that we're going to do this then this will be a horse of a different color. But we have to attract good people for the college of education before we can graduate good people out of the College of Education and the only way you can do this is to make the classroom attractive to somehow raise adequate How many of you really would like to have a son or daughter and send him to four years of school and they come out and make 83 hundred I mean in 20 dollars a year once before in 1977 you fit in where the teacher is going to the pay raise banner whether he can attract public support for a standard issue rests on the Louisianians perception of just what ingredients constitute a quality
education. But the Federation of Teachers hold their annual conventions next week and what comes out of those meetings has a bearing on the future of education in the state education superintendent Kelly next touched off his recent troubles when he spoke out before a recent luncheon in Baton Rouge. Now state consumer protection CHARLES TAPP may be heading in the same direction as he spoke out on a number of controversial subjects before the Baton Rouge Press Club earlier this week. From business reply to a threatened environment Charlie tab spoke his mind touching on so many important issues that reporters were left with at least five items worthy of a story by themselves. For instance in preparation for hearings next week on dance studio ripoffs staff had some revealing details. I talk about dance studio I'm talking primarily primarily about the franchise operations in the state of big chain operations. I'm not talking about Joanne's of Marianne's good or bad for the best of my knowledge those operations present no
problem. What are the problems as we see them. One of the questions we hope to have answered is whether or not dance studios use a form of selling call relay selling and that is whether or not they will take up a student pupil if you will and move that student from one instructor to another instructor to a salesman and a manager etc etc.. And relate an attempt to exact psychological pressure to in effect force those people to sign contracts. We have reason to believe that that may very well be taking place. Students after him is a concern to us. We have an indication that what they try to do at least in our opinion right now is to concentrate our attention on that is ladies whose husbands have died and who have been left considerable insurance money or considerable property or at least are of considerable means.
It may surprise you if I tell you we have in our possession some form statements from people who have at least want to us of the amount of money that they have invested in dance lessons in some cases. One of the affidavit or one of the a sworn statement is in the range of 50 to $60000. We have other forms statements in a range of. Twenty twenty five thousand dollars is a considerable sums of money. Someone suggested to me a while back why do you worry about this when are so many other problems taking place. Let the little old ladies take care of themselves they got money anyways I want to just let it alone let the lawyers have it and my answer to that is a sign of my ass it will be about any other problem in the state and that is what out of state has to offer whether it's protection or whatever it may be this is a class of citizens in the state that I think deserve some protection. At least we need to look into the problem and see if it's real. Tampa also warned against Get Rich Quick business schemes that are preying on retired people as
well as cautioning the state Agriculture Department for taking action to break up the milk industry from chain stores. An action that would force up milk prices on environmental issues tap said he was very concerned about the future of the HFA liable to be a serious problem and I think it's a problem that those of us in state government have simply not paid any attention to that the problems long involved big landowners and are going to fight tooth and nail to keep it and I'll tell you why in my opinion they want to keep it they want to keep it because it locked into soybean land and it's as simple as that. Because if they can do that then the land of rhetoric will suddenly escalate from industry and bad. I got action whether or not the federal government was encouraging the conversion of that land to be found out yes they are on the one hand you've got to got to drawing this line all the way out and flush it down to Morgan City and you've got a part of entier trying somehow to find a way to protect it. One of
the Farm Credit administration which in the past five years has made loans of between 17 and 22 million dollars in the floodway for farm purposes. And I suggest that at least its purpose in that respect is inconsistent with the purposes of certain of the part of the interior. It is a tricky touchy explosive political question. And I have no reason to believe that the people will win this one. Consumer protection chief also surprised reporters when he became the first state official in a long time to criticize the petrochemical industry chemical plants we have had enough of you and we don't want anymore in the state. Let's call the construction. Any further chemical plants in Louisiana. Now that's bound to affect a lot of folks but I think the price we're playing is much too heavy a price for what we're getting in return for getting our water and in some cases at least partially a bottom we getting our air ruined partially about them and we're getting our food
contaminated partially and that's too big a price for me to play and I think well to stop it and I think it's time somebody stands up a responsible political figure not myself a responsible elected official fandom at least takes a position on this matter. One of the things we kind of sweep under the clause it's not a good time to get out the open talk about it. CHARLES TAPP said he would not seek elective office because it's too expensive to make a rates. But the fourth district Congressman the decision to retire from office was prompted by laws passed in the wake of Watergate. Wagner was honored this week at a banquet held by the business and industry. Banquets are a staple of American political life. Potential candidates hold them to raise money. Office holders attend them to stay in office. Retiring politicians are honored at them a farewell banquet for retiring 4th District Congressman Joe brought out an impressive and powerful politicians and aspiring gubernatorial candidates half of Louisiana's congressional delegation in Washington showed up to pay
tribute to their colleague who is retiring after 17 years in the House of Representatives. Governor Edwin Edwards told those assembled that the greatest tribute paid for all the candidates tried to pattern themselves in His image. Most of the candidates. Practically yes. And Much
respect to the public. He or she represented. A great privilege to the body. Body actually describe it. People. Take exception members
of the secret session. People get. Placed with regard to campaign and election reform legislation to try to make sure campaigns are conducted on some ethical basis.
Kate. Public scrutiny election reform legislation with these proposals proposals what do you have there. Not only are they stripped of their privacy but members of their family. It's a problem. Privacy. Privacy.
Concern question. And a question come back. Are you different from some of the changes in the praise.
And I. Think harder now the question of. What. People expect.
Every. Country. It's just what's going on in the copter.
That you give. Did he give you any advise on how to handle your retirement. Well we both talked about it neither one of us were really yet retired buddies riding and doing similar things and vote for Congressman Jody Wagner leaving political office may not mean retirement from politics because as nearly everyone on the campaign trail knows a former congressman can certainly be an asset in elections. And with all the candidates in evidence at Wagner's farewell banquet there are sure to be some more political banquets in Wagner's future. We hope you'll join us next week on state we're in for our monthly discussion with capital reporters until then I'm Beth George. Good evening.
- Episode Number
- Producing Organization
- Louisiana Public Broadcasting
- Contributing Organization
- Louisiana Public Broadcasting (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
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Copyright Holder: Louisiana Educational Television Authority
Producing Organization: Louisiana Public Broadcasting
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Louisiana Public Broadcasting
Identifier: LSWI-19781117 (Louisiana Public Broadcasting Archives)
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- Chicago: “Louisiana: The State We're In; 261,” 1978-11-17, Louisiana Public Broadcasting, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 30, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-17-278sg53f.
- MLA: “Louisiana: The State We're In; 261.” 1978-11-17. Louisiana Public Broadcasting, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 30, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-17-278sg53f>.
- APA: Louisiana: The State We're In; 261. Boston, MA: Louisiana Public Broadcasting, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-17-278sg53f