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Report should spur reduced LA teacher leave

As bad as teacher absences are in Louisiana traditional public schools, it could be worse, data from a recent report show, yet it can become better with enlightened leadership.

It never hurts to state the obvious, and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute did just that by comparing absenteeism of Louisiana teachers in traditional compared to charter schools: teachers in traditional schools have a rate almost three times that of those in charter schools. Duh; considering that traditional public school teachers have had a fairly malleable evaluation system where fewer that one in a hundred draw remediation for incompetent performance (although evaluations become more rigorous starting this year), and school districts give off at least ten sick/emergency including two personal days a year, they have every incentive to take all of those days, leaving classrooms in the hands of substitutes largely often without college degrees with districts footing additional costs as a result.

A dozen days are average among the 35 states with significant numbers of charter schools. In Louisiana, the law mandates at least ten sick days with the two days but sick, not personal, days may accumulate. Teachers absent more than five days consecutively must provide documentation of the illness, but days taken here or there they can take one with impunity, up to their banked days.


Cassidy receives reminder of left's agenda

If Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy hadn’t realized it after a decade in politics, he knows it now: these people aren’t your allies, much less your friends.

Some months ago, Cassidy remarked that he would like to see health care insurance reform pass a “Jimmy Kimmel test.” This referred to a sometimes humorous but politically vapid late-night television talk show host whose son was born with a heart problem. Having Cassidy on his show, Kimmel ventured the eponymous test should be “no family should be denied medical care, emergency or otherwise, because they can’t afford it.”

If so, the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) fails. It doesn’t provide such a guarantee because it leaves over 28 million uninsured, with more on the way as it continues to drive premium prices higher – up on average 60 percent since full Obamacare implementation in 2013. Further, the related Medicaid expansion does not increase the amount of medical care delivered because insurance and actual delivery are two different things.


Treasurer's choice illustrates Democrats' atrophy

So, it’s come to this: in a treasurer’s field containing one of their own, Louisiana Democrats may vote for a Republican because he seems to them least likely to use that office as a springboard for something more exalted.

That seems like the plan for at least some high-profile New Orleans elected Democrats who back state Sen. Neil Riser in the race to fill out the term of now-Sen. John Kennedy. The Columbia Republican faces off against, among others, fellow GOP former state Rep. John Schroder and past Secretary of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism Secretary as well as former Commissioner of Administration Angéle Davis. Also, he competes against a Libertarian, another Republican, and a Democrat.

But the Democrat, Derrick Edwards, has failed to gain the backing of the state party and any of its influential elected officials, even though polling puts him in a runoff. He would seem to have potential: for a party that takes great store in finding “victims” supposedly needing redress for the oppression/discrimination they face, Edwards ticks off the two boxes of racial minority and disability. Additionally, he has an inspirational story of suffering quadriplegia yet persevering to earn advanced college degrees, most recently law in which he currently practices.


All-GOP lineup challenges in LA PSC contest

For Louisiana Public Service Commission District 2, what’s a Democrat or Republican voter to do? 

They face different challenges in the election next month to replace the vacated seat. For Democrats, they not only don’t have a horse in the race, but solely Republicans entered the starting gate. For Republicans, they must figure out how to choose among the three.

Lining up are former state Rep. Damon Baldone, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Craig Greene, and former state Rep. Lenar Whitney. Each has different charms and warts depending upon the partisan leanings of a voter.