It was an abrupt reversal of fortune that stirred lingering resentment and fresh tears more than nine years after Hurricane Katrina: Louisiana’s Supreme Court overturned rulings from two lower courts and tossed out a lawsuit that said roughly 7,500 New Orleans public school employees were wrongfully fired after levee failures during the 2005 storm led to inundation of the city.

The jump in public school retirements is easing a bit. But the numbers are still higher than before the passage of Governor Bobby Jindal's education plan.

Almost 3,000 kindergarten through 12th-grade employees in the Teachers' Retirement System of Louisiana retired in the fiscal year ending June 30.

Seventy percent had 20 years or more of service credit.

In the two prior fiscal years, the number reached more than 3,400.

State Superintendent of Education John White tells The Advocate that economics is the driving factor.

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Public school teachers and most new state employees would have to wait longer to retire, under a proposal that received the unanimous backing of the state Senate Wednesday.

Current law generally allows that non-hazardous employees in the Louisiana State Employees' Retirement System, the Teachers' Retirement System of Louisiana and the Louisiana School Employees' Retirement System can retire at age 60 with 5 years of service.

Although they didn’t actually “hold hands and sing Kumbayah”, there was a brief moment of peace and accord between the Jindal administration and teachers unions last week. After more than two years of name-calling, angst and lawsuits, they found common ground around a bill to modify the process for terminating tenured teachers who receive “ineffective” ratings.

A Shreveport elementary school principal was invited to Capitol Hill earlier this month to attend a brainstorming Congressional forum and give closing remarks. The focus was on how the path to becoming a teacher could be modeled after the medical profession. 

Teachers who graduate with four years of college are often thrown into classroom situations they're not totally prepared for, according to Mary Harris, principal of South Highlands Magnet Elementary School.

A union that represents 7,000 New Orleans teachers fired after Hurricane Katrina is expecting a flurry of phone calls. Word is quickly spreading of the state appeals court ruling awarding them back pay for wrongful termination.

A Baton Rouge judge is reconsidering his decision to throw out Gov. Bobby Jindal's revamp of teacher tenure and salary laws.

Judge Michael Caldwell had ruled the legislation was unconstitutional because it bundled together too many items spanning Louisiana's education laws. But the Louisiana Supreme Court vacated Caldwell's decision and asked him to re-evaluate his ruling.

Many teachers are frustrated with the new evaluation system, Compass, which was introduced in public schools across the state this year.

"What we want is a more common-sense approach to this evaluation problem," said Debbie Meaux, new president of the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE), who assumed the role July 15.

She's calling for the state to slow the timeline for the implementation of Compass.

The Walton Family Foundation is announcing today that it’s sending $3 million dollars to Teach for America’s New Orleans region. The grant is part of $20 million being sent to schools in low-income areas across the country.


Investigative journalism site The Lens features a story by Sarah Carr today. Carr looks at a Louisiana program that uses student test scores to evaluate teacher training programs. The education reporter sat down with WWNO's Eve Troeh to talk about her latest work, which Carr says could transform teacher training in Louisiana and across the nation.