Monday, December 24, 2012

Four Courageous Teachers in Louisiana

Last spring, four teachers in Calcasieu Parish in Louisiana decided “enough is enough” when Governor Bobby Jindal rushed through his legislation targeting teachers and attacking public education.

They decided they would launch a campaign to recall Jindal and House Speaker Chuck Kleckley. None had ever been politically active before.

You have to understand that Bobby Jindal–at this moment in time–owns Louisiana politics, lock, stock, and barrel. The teachers’ campaign was akin to a petition drive against the emperor of Rome.

Their campaign didn’t get very far. They didn’t have an organization or money, and they didn’t collect enough signatures to get on the ballot.

“The petitions required signatures from at least one-third of the registered voters in an election district. In the case of Jindal, it would have been about 965,000 signatures statewide. For Kleckley, it was roughly 9,000 signatures.

In each case the required reports were filed 56 days late. When they were filed, the reports reflected little financial activity.

The Jindal recall campaign showed $525 in receipts and no disbursement.

The Kleckley effort showed $1,600 in receipts and no disbursements.”

The Republican party spent $100,000 to quash the recall effort, and it filed a complaint with the state Ethics Board because the teachers did not file their campaign disclosure documents in the required 45 day period; they were 11 days late.

The two teachers who led the effort, such as it was, were fined $1,000 each.

I had planned to ask readers of this blog to raise the money to pay their fines, but an anonymous donor in Louisiana has already stepped up and done it.

The teachers were acting on their own, as citizens in a democracy. I would have gladly shown my support for them.

This is the same Ethics Board that ruled a few weeks ago that it was no conflict of interest for a member of the State Board of Education to award a contract to a business that had given him or her a campaign contribution.


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