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January Update

The Jefferson Parish School Board recently implemented a Biometrics finger-swipe sign-in/sign-out process for employees to monitor employee attendance. Several JFT members have asked whether this is legal and have raised questions concerning privacy rights and possible data breaches.

Only four states that have passed laws governing use of biometrics in employment: Illinois, Texas and Washington. One additional state (New Hampshire) has passed a law governing biometrics used by their Department of Motor Vehicles. Louisiana has passed a law but it only applies to biometric data gathered from students, not employees.

IEP Data Entry Deadline Extended

Due to the outcry from hundreds of special education teachers, administrators, and parents the deadline to enter IEP data into the eSER system will be extended until the third week of January. This was announced by State Superintendent Cade Brumley during this morning's Senate Education Committee meeting. This is the second time that this deadline has been extended due to issues with the eSER system.

End of the Year Update

As the end of year draws near, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the JFT members for your ongoing support during this trying year. The success of JFT is based on the relationships we have built with our members over the years. Over this past year we have added new staff, Karen Riggleman (karen@jft.org) to represent our PSRPs. We have received overwhelming, positive feedback from our PSRPs in terms of having their own representative on staff at the office. JFT Staff is grateful for the opportunity to work with all members.

The Special Education Reporting System was Down Today

In September, LDOE extended the deadline for inputing data into the eSER system until December 16th because of glitches in the rollout of the new system. It has been over two months since these issues were raised with LDOE, BESE, and the Senate Education Committee, but the problems have only gotten worse. Three days before the deadline to enter data, the entire system went down.

Don't let LDOE cover this up. Let the Senate Education Committee and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education know about your experience with the system.

Happy Holidays from your LFT Family!

As we approach the end of the year, with winter break right around the corner, we want to take a moment to thank you for your tireless devotion to your students. Louisiana’s teachers and school employees, our members, are some of the most hard working and selfless people on the planet, but you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your well-being to be an effective educator. That is why we come together to fight for dignity and professionalism for teachers and support staff in schools. We want to make sure that your love for your students isn’t overshadowed by the day-to-day minutia of tiresome meetings, paperwork, and uninspiring curriculum. You are a creative and dynamic educator and you should be treated as such. Thank you for coming together with your colleagues so that together we can fight for this profession and our students.

Whether you are counting down the days until break, or you can’t believe how much you still need to do before the end of the year (or both), now is a time to look back at some of our collective highlights.

Voting for democracy and a better life

In the leadup to the midterm elections, pundits predicted a red wave, even a tsunami, based on polls, historical precedent, and steep gas and grocery prices. But I had my doubts. I spent the weeks before the elections talking to voters and traveling on the AFT Votes bus, rolling through a dozen states with more than 50 stops. In a year when kitchen table issues, democracy and our freedoms were on the ballot, many people told me that the elections came down to a choice between, on the one side, election deniers and extremists stoking fear, and on the other, problem-solvers working to help the country move forward. Many races were close, but Americans turned the tide from a red wave to a swell of support for progress and problem-solvers. Read the full column here.

November 2022: Flawed Accountability Proposal Fails to Pass!

On Thursday, November 10th the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education held a special meeting to finally vote on the long-debated changes to the high school accountability model. The proposed changes were adamantly opposed by superintendents, principals, teachers, school board members and other educational stakeholders, but supported by non-education special interest groups like the Pelican Institute, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), and the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools.

LDOE Blames Teachers for the Issues with eSER Rollout

On October 10, 2022, two representatives from the Louisiana Department of Education testified before the Louisiana Senate Education Committee. They were questioned about the issues teachers and districts faced with the rollout of the new electronic Special Education Reporting (eSER) system.

Thomas Lambert, Assistant Superintendent Office of Assessments, Accountability, & Analytics and Meredith Jordan, Executive Director of Diverse Learners largely focused on issues of human error and "the deep learning curve." They said the issue was teachers who couldn't figure out the new system, even though it was "more intuitive and looks like a modern web solution."

JFT Update: October 24th

JP Schools Employee Townhall
JP Schools is hosting an Employee Townhall Meeting at Boudreaux Elementary School, 950 Behrman Hwy in Terrytown from 6:00 PM-7:30 PM on Tuesday, October 25, 2022. The Superintendent will be taking questions from employees. We know one of the greatest concerns is working conditions (overworked, redundant paperwork, 30-page lesson plans, AIM Pathways, subbing, Paraeducators teaching classes). If you are able to attend, please wear your JFT shirt in solidarity with our Union. It’s the U and I in UNION that makes us STRONG.

BESE Update: October 2022

Tuesday’s committee meetings began with a public hearing to receive public recommendations regarding the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP), which is the funding formula for Louisiana public schools. As expected, advocates from the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, the Louisiana School Boards Association, and the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools testified in favor of increasing funding in level one of the MFP – which is the part of the formula that gives school districts the greatest flexibility in how they can use the additional funding.

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers (LFT) has continued to advocate for additional funding to be directed into level four of the MFP, which is the portion of the formula that funds teacher and school employee salaries. The only way to ensure that teachers and school employees receive a raise next year is for additional funding to go into level four.