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Mourn for public education on Black Monday

 

 

Join thousands of educators, students and friends of our schools, colleges and universities in mourning for public education on the first day of the legislative session.

Wear something black to school or work on Monday, April 27.

Please click here and download a Black Monday flyer to share with friends and colleagues.
Please click here to visit the college students' SOS blog.
Please click here to visit ULL Today and sign a petition to save higher education funding.

Joint release from the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, Louisiana Association of Educators and Louisiana School Boards Association:

“Black Monday,” April 27, is time of mourning for public education in Louisiana

If things look somber in schools across Louisiana on Monday, April 27, it’s for a reason. Teachers, school employees and higher education students around the state will spend the day – the opening day of the Louisiana Legislature’s session – in mourning for public education.

Supporters of public education, from pre-kindergarten through college, are being asked to wear something black to school or work to protest proposed $219 million in cuts to higher education, and almost $200 million in cuts to elementary and secondary schools.

A broad coalition of organizations dedicated to our state’s educational future have organized the event, called Black Monday, a day of mourning for public education in Louisiana.

Sponsors of Black Monday, including the Louisiana Association of Educators, Louisiana Federation of Teachers, Louisiana School Boards Association and college students across the state, say the cuts will cause irreparable harm to our schools, colleges and universities.

Even though the state is facing an economic shortfall, education should be the last place to look for budget cuts, sponsors said. Louisiana’s economic recovery depends on a well-educated work force and a public education system that prepares our youth for a future in the state.

What is at stake? A planned $219 million cut to higher education will slash important programs in every college, university, community college and technical school in the state. The permanent damage these cuts will cause to the economic development of the state is incalculable.

In elementary and secondary schools, Governor Bobby Jindal plans deep cuts that will affect teachers, school employees and the students they serve. Money for professional development, instructional programs and some salary supplements will disappear.

On top of that, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted a Minimum Foundation Program that, for the first time, does not include a 2.75% growth factor. Pay raises and programs that depend on growth in the MFP will suffer.

The total loss to school districts across the state approaches $200 million.

Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Steve Monaghan said the cuts will threaten educational progress in the state. “To cut academic programs at the same time that we demand more rigor from our students makes it much harder for struggling students to pass. That is guaranteed to make it look as if our schools are failing, when the truth is that we are failing our schools,” Monaghan said.

Louisiana School Boards Association Executive Director Nolton Senegal said the administration could free up money to replace the cuts by dipping into the economic development megafund. “At stake is the future of Louisiana’s children, and of the administration’s own economic development plan,” Senegal said. “One has to question priorities when a $400 million megafund that may, or may not, be used during the fiscal year holds higher priority than training the workforce that will be used to lure business.”

Louisiana Association of Educators President Joyce Haynes has issued an appeal to the public. “Louisiana is at a crossroads when it comes to public education. It is time for us to show our commitment to our future and support the students of Louisiana, or we callously cut their education. The results of these cuts will hurt our schools and shouldn’t be acceptable to our citizens.”

 

 


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