In a stunning development that has Louisiana teachers “shocked” and “floored,” Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards abruptly reversed course on a promised teacher pay raise when he unveiled his budget proposal. After “campaigning on raising pay for public school teachers,” Edwards – reelection in hand – abandoned his pledge to the shock and anger of advocates like the Louisiana Federation of Teachers.
Reporters covering the unveiling of the governor’s proposed budget detailed the outraged reaction. Cynthia Posey, legislative and political director for the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, stated “I am floored. I am really floored,” according to The Advocate’s Will Sentell, who also wrote that teachers were expecting “at least $1,000.”
Edwards joins many of his fellow Democratic governors in talking the talk on teacher pay while failing to walk the walk. 67 percent of states that raised teacher salaries in 2019 were led by Republican governors, and over half of Republican chief executives raised teacher pay compared to less than a third of Democrats. Numerous Republican governors have also made teacher compensation a priority for 2020.
“John Bel Edwards’ decision to break his promise to Louisiana teachers puts to rest any lingering doubts that he is just another politician willing to say or do anything to get elected,” said RGA Communications Director Amelia Chassé Alcivar. “It is now abundantly clear that John Bel Edwards saw hardworking teachers as just another tool to further his political career.”