Gov. John Bel Edwards spelled out his public school legislative priorities Tuesday, including tighter rules on vouchers, changes in annual teacher evaluations and a ban on corporal punishment for students with disabilities.
All of the bills have sponsors for the two-month legislative session, which begins April 10.
With several bills already on life support, Gov. John Bel Edwards has pulled the plug on his…
One of the governor's proposals, Senate Bill 13, would ban kindergarten students from being eligible for vouchers if they attend school in a district rated "A" or 'B."
Vouchers are state aid for low-income students who attend troubled public schools to move to private schools at state expense.
Edwards noted other students are only eligible for vouchers if they would otherwise attend a public school rated "C," "D" or "F."
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The governor called the current rule a loophole.
Backers contend families of young students should have the option of picking the schools best for them.
In another area, the governor will back a bill that would change the way public school teachers are evaluated.
Under current rules, 35 percent of student academic growth in factored into the job assessment of teachers.
The legislation would give local educators more flexibility on how to use that data.
State Rep. Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe, sponsor of the bill, said in a statement he is offering the bill because "several concerns" have been raised about the validity of today's evaluations.
Teacher evaluations have come under fire from teachers unions for years.
Supporters of the current policy contend annual student growth should be a key part in evaluating teacher performance.
The governor said he will also support House Bill 79, which would prohibit the use of corporal punishment for public school students with disabilities.
More than 500 students with a disability received some form of corporal punishment for the 2015-16 school year, according to the state Department of Education.
"That is unacceptable, and I agree with Governor Edwards that this option should be taken off the table," Rep. Franklin Foil, R-Baton Rouge and sponsor of the bill, said in a statement.