The Louisiana Teacher Union Paradox

The Pelican Post

Recent legislative sessions have not been kind to Louisiana’s two teacher unions, the Louisiana Association of Educators (“LAE”) and the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and School Employees (“LFT”).  (The LAE is the state affiliate of the National Education Association and the LFT is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO.)  In spite of tremendous organized opposition from these two unions, historic education reforms have been passed in Louisiana.

Successive electoral, legislative and local district collective bargaining contract losses, along with a more engaged citizenry that is beginning to demand more from schools, have fostered the teacher unions’ defeats.  Old-fashioned “butt kickings” at the Capitol, unsuccessful recall attempts by the unions for the governor and pro-reform legislators, and anemic membership representation in school districts could lead many to conclude that teacher unions are weak in Louisiana.

Indeed, in a just released report issued by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute entitled How Strong Are U.S. Teacher Unions?, Louisiana ranked 42nd in the nation for teacher union strength, and was rated as a Tier 5 state, which are the states with the weakest teacher unions.

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