A Baton Rouge judge ruled Monday that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s teacher tenure and evaluation reform was unconstitutional. The measure known as Act 1 would reform teacher evaluations and, as the Louisiana Federation of Teachers argued, make tenure more difficult to obtain and maintain.
State Judge Michael Caldwell had previously upheld three of four sections of Act 1 last December, but reversed his ruling after a review of the case, declaring the entire bill unconstitutional because it violated the “single object” section of Louisiana’s Constitution, which says any bill brought before the Legislature must contain only one “aim or purpose of enactment.”
Jindal responded to the judge’s ruling in a written statement that called the decision disappointing, and said he expects to “prevail in the state Supreme Court” later this month. Jindal also blamed “the coalition of the status quo” for blocking reforms that would “reward good teachers and give more choices to families.”
Under Jindal’s proposals, local school boards would have less power over hiring and firing decisions, establish a statewide salary schedule for teachers, toughen the path for teachers to reach tenure status, remove seniority-based protections for teachers during layoffs, and require state superintendents’ review of local school superintendent contracts.
This is not the first time a judge has ruled one of Jindal’s educational reform measures unconstitutional. Last November, Louisiana state Judge Tim Kelley ruled Jindal’s private tuition voucher program unconstitutional because it improperly diverted local tax dollars meant for public schools to private schools instead.