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Contested Tenure, Pay Law in Louisiana Upheld on Appeal

By guest blogger Andrew Ujifusa

This item first appeared on the State EdWatch blog.

The Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled that the state law changing teacher tenure and evaluations approved in 2012 is constitutional, reversing a lower court decision from earlier this year. 

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers challenged the law, which ties teacher pay to new evaluations, requires decisions about layoffs to be based on performance on those evaluations rather than seniority, and only grants tenure to teachers if they achieve adequate performance ratings in a certain number of years. Some of the original provisions in the 2012 law were tweaked this year. 

"This is good news," Gov. Bobby Jindal, Republican, said in an emailed statement to the Associated Press. "We appreciate the court's unanimous ruling. Act 1 was created to help ensure we have a great teacher in every classroom, and we're pleased that it will continue improving Louisiana schools for children and families across our state."

State Superintendent John White also praised the high court's decisions upholding Act 1, saying it continued to give school leaders "freedom from politics."

As my colleague Stephen Sawchuk has reported, the LFT argued in its suit that the law violated the state constitution because it dealt with too many policy reforms to be appropriate for the scope of a single piece of legislation. District Court Judge Michael Caldwell agreed, and struck down the law twice in two separate rulings. 

But the state supreme court said in its ruling that the various components of the law "all have a natural connection" to improving public schools.

In reaction to the state supreme court's ruling, the Louisiana union indicated that it would shift its focus from the judicial to the legislative branch:


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