Landry, state superintendent push for classroom changes

Published 6:55 am Tuesday, May 28, 2024

By Emily Burleigh

The Vernon Parish School Board has announced their support for the recommendations created by the Let Teachers Teach workgroup.

A group of 29 Louisiana teachers began meeting at the beginning of the year to determine best practices for improving the teachers’ work life and prioritizing instruction in the classroom. They identified 18 recommendations related to professional learning and training, student behavior and discipline, non-academic responsibilities, planning and curriculum and instruction.

These recommendations were announced by State Superintendent Cade Brumley and Gov. Jeff Landry last Wednesday.

In the statement released by VPSB, Superintendent James Williams said the district is “excited” for the state to acknowledge the “challenges and cumbersome burdens” that have been recognized in Vernon Parish before.

“The Vernon Parish School Board works continually to remove some of these hurdles and we always try to allow our dedicated teachers to do what they do best, teach the children.”

Some of the recommendations can be addressed at the district level, but some will require state action to institute. Williams said the district hopes there will be funding available to implement the recommendations.

“Our teachers need to be respected and to be allowed autonomy in the classroom and should not be required to follow a script that is manipulated by test scores.”

VPSB has a few suggestions of its own, stating it is vital the Louisiana Department of Education, the state and school systems don’t lose their “focus on other crucial situations that affect our teachers and school system.”

VPSB is in support of fully funding the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) — the formula that determines annual state funding for public schools. The district believes that the per-student MFP funding should be increased to match the rising costs of education, he said.

The district would also like the state to give teachers a “permanent, substantial pay raise.”

Williams said the state should “strive to have an equitable accountability system” that measures the performance and outcomes in public, private and charter schools, and home school programs.

“We will support and continue to work with the forefront, the legislature, BESE and LDOE to help our teachers and enhance high student achievement,” he said.