Letter: Education is not a business

I am a longtime vocational educator in Louisiana. My career started with the technical college system in 1978. Therefore, I have seen the changes that have occurred both in voc-ed and secondary education. The simple stupidity of both our secondary and post-secondary systems never ceases to amaze me. This initiative comes,the next one goes. The bottom line is: administration has grown and classroom/facility funding cut. It’s that simple.

I am presently teaching in the secondary system in one of the highest-performing districts in the state. We are dealing with Compass and all of its teacher evaluation. Compass has removed tenure and placed part of my personal evaluation on the performance of my employees (students). Herein lies the problem: We teach “mama’s babies,” not employees, of which I would control the greatest motivator — their paycheck.

It seems to me the voters of this state are not aware of what tenure for a secondary teacher is. It is not job security, it is personal teaching integrity protection. Tenure allows me to teach and grade all students (even the superintendent’s children) without fear of reprisal. It was, indeed, possible for a low-performing teacher to be dismissed with tenure, as long as the proper procedures were implemented.

Compass evaluates teachers according to a business model. Education will never be administered like private enterprise. Compass has placed teachers in a business manager’s position of which we really have very little control. If the voters of this state don’t believe what I’m saying about “Louisiana Believes,” they should spend a day with a teacher.

Bobby Clark


St. Francisville