Tag Archives: Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce

From a Teacher in the Trenches


Thank goodness I live in a country that values individual liberty and freedom of speech. I can now see, however, that some entities believe their opinion is and always will be worth more than others.

I don’t tell doctors how to operate or lawyers how to practice law. I find the Chamber’s activities insulting and demeaning to my profession.

I have watched with growing trepidation how the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce thinks it has all the answers and is willing to use its considerable clout and money to impose their solutions on Lafayette. As such, they have raised thousands of dollars and have scoured the city for candidates to run in this school board election.

I have already written how organizations with little or no expertise in educational matters have tried to influence public policy on education. Such organizations are legion these days. I have also firmly expressed that as an educator in the trenches, I will give such organizations the attention they deserve: very little.

I don’t tell doctors how to operate or lawyers how to practice law. I find the Chamber’s activities insulting and demeaning to my profession.

When has the Chamber asked us, the teachers, for our input into possible solutions to improve Lafayette? What has it done to address the growing number of retirees and resignations plaguing the state and our parish?

Instead, the Chamber has bypassed educators and backed seven candidates, all of whom may be decent individuals who care earnestly about our children, and the Advertiser has joined the bandwagon and endorsed all of the Chamber’s nominees.

The Lafayette Chamber of Commerce reminds me of the Federalist Party during the early days of the United States republic. The Federalists steadfastly believed that since they represented the most educated souls in the fledgling republic, they should be obeyed. The mere fact that they existed should have been reason enough to lead. No wonder they died off as a political party.

There are times I wish these present-day organizations would follow the same path.

I am an educator. I work in a noble profession under attack by charter schools, a State Superintendent who yearly manipulates passing scores on standardized tests, and a BESE Board that until only recently appointed Charter Schools in the same manner some parents dole out candy for Halloween. The opinion of educators should be just as important at the voice of the Chamber.

The Lafayette Parish Association of Educators has endorsed a list of candidates. Since it is the largest organization representing souls like myself, I stand by their recommendations way more than the Chamber.

Those recommendations are Redell Comeaux Miller, Tommy Angelle, Elroy Broussard, Tehmi Chassion, Britt Latiolais, Kathleen Schott Espinoza, Dawn Morris, Hunter Beasley, and Brian West.

I’ll be curious to see if anyone attempts to deny me my constitutional right to freedom of speech.




Filed under Education

I’m as Mad as Hell, and I’m Not Going to Take This Anymore!

In the movie Network, Peter Finch said a line that has now become immortal: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.”

Frankly, that’s me right now, and here’s why.

On March 27th, the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce listed its priorities for the legislative session, and among them is its support for Common Core.

I then thought, “Oh great. Another organization is trumpeting its support for Common Core.”

If I were to write a manual telling doctors how to operate, people would laugh and doctors would rightfully ignore me. I have not attended medical school nor received the training a doctor needs.

Yet organization after organization with little or no educational background thinks they are experts on education. The Council for a Better Louisiana, Stand for Children Louisiana, and the Louisiana Association for Business and Industry, just to name a few, have all published their support for Common Core.

Apparently, merely having attended school or college—or simply having a child—affords everyone a seat at the table to determine the future of education. Worse, everyone listens to these organizations and not the teachers themselves.

I am a highly-qualified teacher with two Bachelor’s degrees and a Masters in History. I was chosen the Outstanding Sophomore, Junior, and Senior in UL’s College of Education, not to mention the Outstanding Graduate of its 1992 Spring Commencement. I have experience writing curricula and have taught Algebra I and II for twenty-three years, as well as numerous history and English classes.  I am an expert on education, not these various groups.

To every organization that announces their support of Common Core, I have a right to explore your qualifications and biases. Have you received money from Bill Gates or any of his organizations? Are you teachers who have implemented the Engage New York curricula that was designed to match Common Core? Have you actually read the poorly-written modules we teachers have received or taken one of their confusing tests? Are you experts in the cognitive abilities of young children and adolescents? I suspect the answers to these questions are a resounding NO.

And I have upsetting news for these organizations who don’t even bother to explore what is in Common Core: the people who wrote it weren’t experts either. The twenty-seven authors were mostly test-makers, and none were teachers. Why should I give their handiwork any credibility when they lack the credentials to even be classroom teachers?

So, should any new organization wish to herald the need for Common Core, I have these words of advice: unless you’re qualified to speak on the subject, mind your own business. Otherwise, I will accord your opinion the weight it deserves: little.

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