He told the opening day of the annual legislative session on Monday that shifting taxpayer money into a program that would pay for private school tuition, doing away with the seniority-based system of teacher pay and making it tougher for teachers to reach tenure has to be done.
The Jindal plan is on a fast-track, scheduled for committee hearings this week, hearings expected to draw attendance by many teachers given the day off by their school systems to take their case to the capitol.
The governor is also pushing a number of changes to state employees’ pension programs.
He calls opposition the education and pension proposals guardians of the status quo.
“The challenges I put in front of you today are not about the next polls. They’re not even about the next elections. They’re really about the next generation. We have a chance to shape the kind of future we leave behind to our children and grandchildren,” the governor said.
His opponents argue Jindal is trying to dismantle public education and could leave the most at-risk children stuck in failing programs.
“He truly is basically declaring war on public education,” said Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite, leader of the House’s Democratic caucus.
The pension proposals, heartily opposed by employee groups, would shrink benefits for some workers, increase payments for thousands and push back their retirement age. It would create a cheaper, 401(k)-type of investment account for new state employees, instead of giving them a monthly retirement payment based on their salaries.