Originally posted on February 5, 2012:

A few days ago, The Wall Street Journal compared Governor Bobby Jindal’s plans for education reform to Newt Gingrich’s plans for a moon colony. And they weren’t being facetious or ironic. Quoting from their article “Jindal’s Education Moon Shot“:

Newt Gingrich wants the U.S. to return to the moon, but as challenges go he has nothing on Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s school reform plans.

Mr. Jindal wants to create America’s largest school voucher program, broadest parental choice system, and toughest teacher accountability regime—all in one legislative session. Any one of those would be a big win, but all three could make the state the first to effectively dismantle a public education monopoly.

In an attempt at praising Jindal’s “reform” efforts, The Wall Street Journal unwittingly reinforced something most rational people already understand: Like Gingrich’s pitch for a colony on the moon, Jindal’s plan for education is irrational, untested, grandiose, and absurd. But at least they got one thing right: While Jindal and company attempt to convince us that they’re merely proposing scholarships, the simple and obvious truth is that they are calling for “America’s largest school voucher program.” Let’s get this out of the way: Jindal’s voucher plan is comically infeasible and impractical. From The Times-Picayune:

Under Jindal’s plan, about 380,000 students would qualify to receive state aid for tuition at a private or religious school, (Senator) Landrieu pointed out.

But even if every private elementary school in the state could immediately grow its enrollment by 10 percent to accommodate an influx of voucher recipients, only about 8,000 seats would be available. Include private high schools and that figure rises to about 11,200.

Jindal, by the way, did not dispute these numbers. He didn’t dispute that his voucher plan cannot and will not work, that there is no possible way he could ever deliver on his promise. Instead, his spokesperson said that Senator Landrieu was “missing the point.” No, no, she’s not. She’s speaking precisely on point: Jindal cannot deliver right now.

Thus far, unfortunately, teacher unions and the superintendents are playing right into Jindal’s hands. The teacher unions are harping on teacher pay and benefits; the superintendents, who stand to gain even more discretionary powers, are distancing themselves as quickly as possible, hoping to appear as apolitical as possible. I wonder, though: Are any of these people aware of the end-game here? Because Jindal’s proposals about performance-based pay and tenure are just window-dressing. On their own, they’re radical, to be sure, but not nearly as radical as Jindal’s end-game. Ultimately, Jindal’s goal, as The Wall Street Journal notes, is not merely to create the country’s “largest voucher program;” it’s about using taxpayer dollars to establish an undemocratic, unprotected parallel education system.

Senator Landrieu points out that we simply don’t have enough private-school openings to accommodate even a fraction of the kids to whom Jindal plans to give vouchers. She’s right, and on its surface, this makes Jindal’s plan foolish. Except vouchers aren’t really the issue either. Surely, Jindal is smart enough to know his numbers simply don’t add up, that there is no possible way he could ever deliver vouchers to even 5% of the kids who qualify. It’s a sham. And it’s meant to be a sham. It’s meant to provide the Governor with the ability to establish a threshold of public dollars per student that Louisianans would be willing to contribute toward the development of a parallel charter and for-profit education system and infrastructure. And he’s aiming at $8,500 per student per year. Again, this is precisely why Mr. Jindal unveiled his program in front of the largest group of business lobbyists in the State of Louisiana; there is a ton of money to be made in privatizing public education.

Mr. Jindal’s proponents will likely point to the charter school model created in New Orleans after the storm. There are many good people doing exceptional things in charter schools and in the Recovery School District, but sorry, it’s absolutely absurd to attribute any marginal successes in New Orleans education to a business model. When charters fail and when charters go bankrupt, which is the case more often than proponents would have us believe, it can be abruptly catastrophic for students and their families. And because of the way most charters are structured, there is little to no accountability when they fail.

I, for one, am tired of Bobby Jindal “experimenting” with Louisiana. Despite the fact that his diploma is from one of the finest public high schools in the country, Baton Rouge Magnet, I don’t believe he is an advocate for public education. For months, my buddy Zack Kopplin, a fellow graduate of Baton Rouge Magnet, pestered the public and the media about the Louisiana Science Education Act (the LSEA). If you need any evidence that Mr. Jindal doesn’t care about the quality of public education, then all you need to do is look at the LSEA, a pernicious and likely unconstitutional piece of legislation that allows public schools to substitute science with religion, a piece of legislation that was brought to you and funded through the generous contributions of the radical religious right– groups like the Discovery Institute and the (in my opinion, shady) Louisiana Family Forum. Mr. Jindal, a Biology major from Brown, likely knows better; he was even criticized by his own college biology professor. But while Mr. Jindal doubled-down on the radical right and signed a bill undermining the integrity of science education in our public schools, Zack did something else: He received endorsements from over 71 Noble Prize laureates calling for a repeal of the law. You know how many Nobel laureates have endorsed Governor Jindal? None. Zero.

When he signed the LSEA, Governor Jindal wasn’t guided by any metrics of academic performance; he wasn’t concerned with preserving the integrity of the institution of public education. Mr. Jindal was merely playing politics. And so it is with his proposed overhaul of education.

The inconvenient truth, ironically, is that public schools in Louisiana have improved during the last few years. Our graduation rates have increased by nearly 6% since 2001; we’re closing the so-called “achievement gap;” test scores are up. There’s no reason to suddenly panic, and certainly, there’s no basis for attempting to completely overhaul the entire education system.

Louisiana, we don’t need to be, once again, turned into Bobby Jindal’s experimental laboratory. We tried that once before, when he was Secretary of the DHH, and it didn’t work out well at all.

Mr. Jindal, despite his impressive academic pedigree, is and has always been manifestly and vehemently opposed to a robust and successful public education system. Our charter schools in New Orleans may be performing better than comparable schools were before the storm, but, really, so what? Who is to say that our public schools wouldn’t have rebounded just as well, had they only been given the same resources, priorities, and treatment as our charters? We strip money from public education, give it to private and quasi-private charters, and then, we wonder about why charters are out-performing public schools. We’re being dangerously naive.

Louisiana is still at the bottom of many public education rankings, and without any doubt, there is a lot of work to be done. But think about this: Every single state that is ranked higher than Louisiana is working with the same toolkit. They’re not giving millions and millions of taxpayer dollars to build a parallel system of education more adept at maximizing private-sector profits (no, this is definitely Bobby Jindal’s “moon shot”); they’re beating Louisiana because they’re investing in themselves. We, on the other hand, are being led by a man who seems all too eager and willing to privatize the most important public institution in the United States of America- the right to an education.

If Bobby Jindal wants to reform public education in Louisiana, then he needs to go back to the drawing board. If he is serious, then he needs to begin talking with educators instead of business lobbyists and radical fundamentalists. If anyone should profit from public education, it should be the people who actually invest their own money, not those who use public dollars for the expressed purpose of dismantling public education.

And if not, Jindal will continue to moon all of us, as he flies toward America’s newest extraterrestrial colony, a slab of rock hurling around the earth, a place that appears in phases and adheres to its own cycles, a land called Gingrich.

76 thoughts

    1. This is EXACTLY what people need to hear about Bobby Jindal.
      The sad fact of the matter is, the people who need him the most, poor and undeserved public school students, have become pawns in his political game!

      1. That’s a joke. Bobby Jindal understands a simple truth, and that is that you have to provide an opportunity for those who are ahead of the curve to advance. Present day public schools move along an entire class at the speed of the slowest learner attending.

        His proposition is centralized around everything that has made our country what it is… We have a free environment that is set up to benefit those who are willing to work hard and make wise choices.

        1. Louisiana’s public schools move at the rate that is mandated by the state. We are bound by the comprehensive curriculum which tells us what to teach, when to teach it, and how long to teach it.

        2. Our school actually has leveled learning, whereby students are grouped by ability and taught accordingly. The low students are allowed extra time to gain understanding and our high level classes are given the prescribed curriculum and then bumped up with more higher learning skills!! Each group is challenged to work BEYOND their ability. However, the teachers who work with the lower level students (at least 2 grade levels behind) would lose their jobs under the Jindal plan. Even though those same teachers have pushed these students to improve at least 1 grade level or even ON LEVEL!! These dedicated teachers are being spat upon by the very officials who are supposed to try to aid them in the quest for better education for ALL Louisiana students!!

  1. I heard an intersting bit of information the other day. Because not all States’ Performance Scores are based on the same thing like years in the cohort, exit exam passage rates, dropout rates, etc…Louisiana actually isnt on the bottom. Now that we have moved to the common core standards and will actually now be comparing apples to apples, it is projected that Louisiana will be in the top 10 among states when it comes to educating students. I am sure that will all happen just about the time Governor Jindal is preparing to release publically his bid for whatever it is he is planning for next. If he can turn around a 800+ budget deficit, bring school performance from the very bottoom to the very top….America would just be stupid not to want him to run our country.

    Has anyone ever noticed his projections are large numbers spread over 7-10 years? When you break all of that down it ends up being less than 1,000 of whatever he is “creating”. The people of Louisiana need to stop watching whatever reality show they are caught up in and pay attention. We are in the present day Coliseum and our Rome (LA) is falling around us.

  2. Vouchers have failed in every state that they’ve been implemented, so obviously Jindal hasn’t learned from mistakes. Vouchers that are to be used for religious schools are ILLEGAL. He’ll spend the next four years in lawsuits if he pursues this.
    Then, in 4 years, he’ll run for President and brag about how he ‘reformed” or in other words “Screwed” public education.

  3. Private schools are desired and PAID FOR by people who are dedicated to the best education their children can get! Compare these schools to the public school system, the charter system, the private schools STILL out perform these schools hands down, and NO taxpayer funds are being directed toward them. Jindal is pathetic, and a serious con artist…Our private schools are excelling because they are schools in demand, not schools of convenience. He would also be opening the door to rule out religious beliefs in a school setting if the voucher system goes into effect, and THAT absolutely cannot happen! He should never have been voted in as Governor in the first place!!!! Poor LA and her residents- and he’s not even using KY!!!!

    1. The public school system in Louisiana supports the private schools by providing public school busses for transportation. Most people do not realize this is paid for with tax dollars. So much for separation of church and state. Especially when 95 percent of private schools in Louisiana are owned by some type of religious organization. Namely the Catholic diocese.

      1. yes, and there are tax breaks in la for tuition and other fees and uniforms. tax breaks= public funding.

      2. It is true the kids attending a Catholic school can ride a public school bus BUT ONLY if that bus already passes the private school on its normal route. ( At least that is the ruling in my parish.) Also the parents that pay the tuition, also pay ALL the same taxes that the citizens with children at public school or no children in school. PLUS they SAVE the public system millions as schools are funded by the number of pupils and these kids are in a different setting. Let them ride the bus. It costs almost nothing and like I said, they do not get a reduced tax bill because their children are in a private setting.

    2. They can also be outperforming because they can handpick the students that go there, unlike the public school system. We have to make it work for all our students…not just the wealthy ones who have parents who care about their education. You cannot compare private schools to public in that regard. If private schools had the demographics we in the public school system are working with and the lack of parental support many teachers see every day, you would see very different levels of performance for them.

      1. if only these fools could just realize what you say is the crux of the public education dilemma- and what will happen to all those students rejected by the charters and unable to use their vouchers if and when the public schools all close? it’s a ridiculous paradox we’re getting into, and we’ll never recover from if jindal’s self-serving agenda is accepted. what idiots surround us!

      2. This is the truth. less student to teacher ratio. public schools have too many students per teacher, and a large ratio of parents that aren’t supportive. If you don’t have parents that put an effort to help their children succeed, then you have students with low grades. Then of course teachers are now going to be paid according to how those students perform, even though the teacher has busted her/his tail-end to try to help the student succeed. You can’t force a child to perform if they don’t want to, or don’t have the support to do so.

  4. The educational policy that Jindal is proposing is similar to the attempts in the post Brown v. Board of Education days when Southern legislatures attempted to use public funds for private education.

  5. Well, tell me ANY of you who has walked through the worst ten performing schools in Louisiana! Then come back and say, “Let’s leave those schools exactly as they are.” Governor Jindal has been in them, and so has his staff. I love the ranting–bring it in the schools, to BESE, and to the legislature. Remove your foot from your mouth, walk into schools, and then talk about why we can’t do these initiatives! The Governor is trying to abolish social Darwinism. Let me know if you want to go on a field trip led by a “veteran’ educator who is sick of the status quo!

    1. Social Darwinism! Really? Public education, in your opinion, is tantamount to what went on in Nazi Germany? Give us a break! What Bobby’s policies are heading toward is closer to the realization of such exclusionist theories than is the public school system he’s really trying to destroy. Oh, on the surface it sound so inclusive, but in reality, it’s just another way to exclude the most disenfranchised from their already precipitous existence.

      And what about those “worst performing” schools? Exactly why do they deserve that characterization, and besides just “walking through them”, shouldn’t we be about trying to fix the problems within their contexts instead of just abandoning them and replacing them with corporate interests?

      Looks like someone’s more interested in their political and economic future than he is about really reforming our educational system.

      1. You can’t fix anything until you see it and are ready to dialogue. It makes me sick when people talk about broken homes (well, I guess mine is one) and parents who can’t understand how to choose (I had to get my child’s tonsils out and got the information I needed to choose!)

        Seriously, contact me. I’ll take you to schools where children go in health-condemned businesses. Get involved or shut up.

        1. I had a foster son in several substandard Orleans Parish schools. I visited many classrooms which were in deplorable condition. How do you think they got that way?

          Actually, what difference does it make? The fact that this article points out, which you seem to be missing, is the fact that it would be a tragedy to siphon even more resources from public education, thereby condemning even more public schools to a worse fate than they already have had to endure, and for what purpose? To enrich some private corporation whose sole raison d’être is to make money off our children’s education? This is what Bobby’s initiatives seem to be leading us into: capitalizing our children’s education instead of improving it altruistically. Surely, some students will benefit by the extra attention they receive after many unfortunate “non-standardized” students are weeded out and cast onto the compost heap of trashed public schools, but what will eventually become of those thrown away children? Use your imagination.

          The deplorable public school conditions should and must be reversed, and all public schools must be improved and revitalized, and that’s where our money and our mouths ought to be put. I am, and we all should be involved, and not just yak yak yakking away.

          1. Sources (dollars) now go to a system. Whether it’s vouchers or not, dollars that pay for one child’s education should follow that child. A large system now has the ability to take away dollars from one child to go to another. Essentially, your child may be going to a school in a deplorable condition because the decisions — and the money –go to another school in which the classrooms aren’t so deplorable. So say your child is supposed to get $8,000 to pay for his education (which includes teacher pay, materials for instruction, food services, transportation, and building maintenance–to name a few), he may not get that full amount. He may be getting really on $6,000 if the district (not the schools) decide to direct those dollars to another school. Money should follow the child, and children’s first teachers–parents or appointed caretakers, should get a statement as to how the resources are supporting his or her education directly. Student-based budgeting is going to provide dollars to follow the children so resources are allocated more equitably.

          2. You seem to be making my point: for too long public school monies were either underfunded or misallocated, as with certain “magnet” schools getting the lion’s share of resources. Vouchers and charters are pretty much the state giving funds away to private companies which is depriving the public schools of much needed resources. What we need to do here is follow the money. The money following the child is just business as usual, with many children just getting left out or severely deprived. This isn’t student-based budgeting any more than before. It’s institution-based funding on an even more inequitable scale than before.

        2. @Kristi, please. I’ce worked in a low performing school and currently work in a high performing school that is magnet. My students come from the same neighborhoods as the low performing school, but the difference is their parents place value on education and are actively involved in their child’s education. There are things that need to be worked on, but let’s be real this”reform”has nothing to do with improving education. And If you feel so strongly that tax dollars should follow the child, why is it based on income? If this is passed every parent in this state has a lawsuit. If I can’t use the tax dollars I pay to send my child to a private school, why does anyone else?

    2. You have got to be kidding me! Bobby Jindal would not know a good educator versus a bad educator if they had it written across their foreheads. He is hellbent on privatizing every aspect of Louisiana so that he can appease his suitors and secure his bid for a presidential run.

      I am a public school teacher in Louisiana. By removing funding as Bobby proposes, it will eliminate technical based job programs. The voucher system is proven not to work. Children in Louisiana are succeeding and improving. Is it the garden of Eden, no (hope Bobby appreciates the reference)…

      If Jindal would sit with students and ask them what they need, I think he would be rather surprised at their response. Substitute for a day (even in a high achieving school) and let me know how that works out for the honorable Bobby.

      I challenge him to try to live the state curriculum. His TAP and merit based teacher pay program will only result in less success and more cheating on standardized testing. In his new, more “rigorous” program, there is no time to reteach and no way to expand. It is hit on a key point and move on. How are students supposed to reteach this?

      My school is only behind the governor’s children’s “public” (only teaches select politician and other high end family) school… LSU Lab by a few points, yet we accept all students in our district. Guess we are one of the few schools actually doing something right.

      Mr. Jindal has been invited by me many times to my school to speak with students (not teacher, parents, or administrators). Each time, I am told I will be contacted by someone within 48 hours; yet, in five attempts, I have yet to ever hear back from the governor’s office. He must be too busy endorsing Rick Perry and raising funds for BESE board members.

      1. Bet you are a tenured teacher who knows you will be in danger of losing your job. Good riddance to teachers just there for a check!

        1. Please provide a cogent response, instead of an ad hominem attack against a school teacher who claims he has repeatedly reached out to the Governor to no avail. And with all due respect, it’s difficult to take your criticism seriously when you’re writing under the name “LaDOE emp” and with a taxpayer-funded e-mail account.

        2. To “LaDoe emp” – Do you work? I am assuming you do with a user name like that. Let’s say tomorrow morning your employer announces that you will no longer receive payment for your work. I am curious as to how long you would continue working for him, without pay that is. I am sick and tired of people,like yourself, who appear to believe that because teachers “love the children” they should work for free. I am an elementary school teacher. Yes, I do love the children. As a matter of fact, I have five of my own. However, if I did not receive a paycheck, I would have to seek another job. Teachers have utility bills, car notes, mortgages, medical bills, and all of the other expenses everyone else has. We have children to feed, clothe, and provide for just like most people of other professions. Would your dentist provide a root canal free of charge only because he loves and cares about you? I doubt it. Why is it that only teachers are there “just for a check?”. I am an experienced educator with a masters degree. I should not be expected to volunteer my time.

          1. Thank you!!! I too am so tired of the public thinking that I should be happy to neglect my own family and own bills simply because I earn my living as an educator. Yes, I want my doctor to care about me, but I know he/she has obligations to meet and I do not expect to get the service for free. Every educator I know cares, but as you stated, we have the same pressing needs as everyone else.

    3. The existence of 10 worst performing schools means we should change ALL Louisiana schools? Logically, this is unsound. Change is necessary, but 1+1 still equals 2. Do the math ms. “veteran teacher”! If your brakes are bad, you fix the brakes–you don’t go and get a new car.

        1. Look, it’s apparent to me, as a Louisiana educator of 19 years, that those of you spouting off in support of Governor Jindal need a wakeup call. When looking at who’s to be accountable in the education of a child, the correct order should be 1) the parents, 2) the student, and 3) the educator.

          Parents should be primarily accountable since they are the providers of 3-4 years of life experiences prior to the child entering any educational institution, as well as ongoing life experiences throughout their child’s upbringing. The information we are asked to teach assumes and requires children to have had certain life experiences with which to draw on and make connections. Those connections are impossible to make when children are plopped in front of a television during their pre-school years. I am reminded of a past student who didn’t understand that buying two or more items requires you to add to get the total expense (regular education 4th grader). Am I to schedule field trips to stores for this child and other children so they can witness actually buying something? My own children may not be handling their own money yet, but they sure know when they don’t have enough to buy a candy or toy.

          Secondly, the student is responsible for DECIDING to learn. That’s right, it is the child’s decision to give their full attention and respect to lessons, activities, and assignments. If they aren’t tuned in, they aren’t learning. Reasons shared have included “lack of sleep”, being “hungry”, and “couldn’t complete homework with all the noise/fighting” between family members. This is just a few of the real life experiences children are bringing to the classroom. Please note, since parents are the primary disciplinarians, shaping a child’s desire/effort through positive and negative consequences falls on them – and thus we are back to parents.

          Finally, we come to the educator. Yes, the educator is third in this hierarchy of accountability/responsibility for student learning. As an educator, I have had to simultaneously assume the roles of counselor, nurse, provider (snacks, meals, or supplies), friend (to socially awkward youth), mentor, disciplinarian, and father-figure. I have been taught proper legal procedure to feed, catheterize, diaper, and toilet children incapable of independence. I am trained to accurately identify, administer, inject, and/or dispose of prescribed medications should the need arise (as in field trips or if a student drops medication). I have been trained in preventative measures in handling crisis situations and in the proper restraint of children in danger of hurting themselves or others. Notice that I have yet to mention ‘teacher.’ This is because children are incapable of tuning out their life experiences when they are trying to learn. Considering what teachers deal with on a daily basis and you would undoubtedly understand that I wouldn’t be teaching if I didn’t feel a “calling” to do so. Many children need positive role models in their lives, as they have none at home. All this culminates in a complaint – when do I have time to adequately plan engaging lessons for my students? Every moment of the instructional day is to be utilized for student learning. Therefore, NO planning time, NO collaboration with peers, and NO personal secretary!

          Governor Jindal wants MY pay to be connected to the performance of students who come to school tired, hungry, or stressed over situations in their home life. It is inappropriate and even cruel to expect me, and teachers in general, to acquiesce to this kind of injustice. HERE’S A QUESTION – Let’s determine Governor Jindal’s and the legislators’ pay on THEIR performance. Are Louisianians better off now than we were before these governmental tyrants were hired? Real problems require real solutions people. If you, Governor Jindal, are expecting our children to improve, then doggone it,

          LET ME TEACH.

          1. EXACTLY! I am a Kindergarten Teacher and I adore my job, but I have a family to raise and bills to pay just like everyone else. Why does the STATE OF LOUISIANA get to choose WHEN I RETIRE and HOW MUCH of my hard earned money I get? Everyone else who has a retirement plan gets to choose their financial future. People who are on a rampage must not be aware of all the details.

          2. You speak the truth. It’s time the hot potato of accountability that the government keeps throwing at us teachers, gets thrown back to where it belongs: students and parents. The single biggest difference between a failing school and a successful one is parental involvement.

          3. To Bruski III,

            I might actually be inclined to lean toward your way of thinking if you would agree to let parents vote on whether or not to allow you to continue teaching, based on your classroom productivity. See, there is the difference. If the Gov doesn’t meet the expectations of those who vote, then he gets voted out. If you don’t meet the voter’s expectations, you want a raise AND protection via tenure.

  6. An independent study (all states against the same standards) found Louisiana to be ranked 48th. It isn’t a matter of looking at other states and saying they are doing this so we should be able to do the same. It is about finding a way to raise the abysmal production of education in Louisiana.

    I am a fan of any and all routes available at the state’s disposal to education our kids effectively.

  7. O.K., the voucher goes to a private or parochial school for a child who has a parent that takes the initiative to put him there…2-3 months later,(maybe less) the charter school decides this child has to go b/c of non-performance/behavior, whatever. Does that money come back to the state? No. Tuition to such schools is non-refundable, unless the exceptions are spelled out clearly by the legislature. Additionally, these schools need to be held accountable to the high-stakes testing that public schools in LA now undergo. Also, is transportation to charter schools provided by the parent, the school? Lower income, inner city parents don’t have the luxury of transportation to schools miles away from their communities. A lot of unanswered questions still persist & concerned citizens need to look at this entire issue very carefully.

  8. This is what happens when people do not care and parents are not informed. Black kids are the ones that are suffering when people just use our kids for money. Pull the retired teachers and place them back in the classrooms. This is just another money making venture.

  9. Any school with selective enrollment can make great scores. (private, magnet, charter) The public schools are required to enroll and educate all students, including those with academic disabilities, poor attendance, and emotional problems. Selective enrollment schools don’t have to keep students enrolled. If the voucher is accepted, will the students and teachers have to follow the same rules and guidelines for promotion and evaluation as public schools. This seems like another example of the privileged few enjoying their privileges.

  10. Jindal is supposed to be smarter than this but follow the money. Who has Jindal’s attention within Louisiana and outside Louisiana. Follow the money and the campaign donations coming from out of state. Big money $$$Millions) helped elect nine Louisiana Board of Education members to a non-paying jobs. No Governor has ever been involved in controlling this education board before in the history of Louisiana but along comes Jindal to tear down a public system by trying to divide Louisiana in warring camps. Superintendents against School Boards,
    Parents vs. Teachers, Public Schools vs. Private Schools, Business vs. Public Education, and telling students they are not making the grades for success. Why is it Louisiana is losing population due to the fact that public schools graduates are moving to other states to find good jobs with good pay. Why is it that Louisiana the only state losing population? I contend that it is business and industry not public eduction that is at fault. Instead of promoting business growth and good jobs, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry is attempting to control education by tearing down public education. I am quite sure that public school educators can tell them how to create jobs and move more people from mininmum wage pay. Business should get out of the way and let professional educators provide continuous reform for making public schools better! Business leaders should concentrate on keeping our brightest students within the state by creating more and better paying job and by partnering with public schools by providing resources to help students in the teaching-learning process. Students will lose when chaos prevails by tearing down public education in Louisiana. Together we can fix the parts broken and enhance fuctional success for all students. The Governor’s approach is wrong-headed and can set the stated back for decades to come. Let us all use logic and reason to find a better approach for the sake of our children and grandchildren.

    Hugh Craft

  11. I want to challenge the religious worship of public education that emanates from most of the commenters here. Why is it better for a child to be largely uneducated in a failing public school than to get a great education from a private school? If vouchers don’t improve the education of the kids who use them, won’t parents figure that out and decide to keep their kids in public schools? Or are you just repeating the union argument that parents are too dumb to know what’s best for their children? Bruski argued above that parents have the first order of responsibility for their children’s education, yet he wants government to control that education and deprive the parents of any right to choose.

    It’s amusing to see all this hand-wringing about how the private schools won’t be able to accomodate everyone who wants to go. The unstated assumption, of course, is that private schools are so much better that most parents will want to send their kids. It particularly amuses me to see the raging against the supposed corporatism in Governor Jindal’s plan, because almost all private and charter schools are run by non-profits. The business community is supporting Gov. Jindal’s plan because it’s hard to compete globally (even nationally) when your employees are less educated than the competition. It’s hard to attract businesses to a state that ranks 48th in the quality of its educational system.

    But this is about money, to be sure. The educational establishment doesn’t want to give up the money and power that they have right now. When I taught in the EBR system six years ago, there was a program that would give teachers free PDAs (personal digital assistants, for those of you who don’t remember the days before the i-Phone) simply for taking a course in using them. Did the money that EBR spent on free personal electronics for teachers do anything to improve the education of kids in the EBR system? No. It was (from a taxpayer’s and parent’s viewpoint) wasted, just like so much money gets wasted in the public system. And why not? There are no consequences for wasting public money instead of actually using it to educate children. Bureaucracies grow and grow, because there’s no accountability in a monopoly. That’s about to change.

    1. For your edification, the so-called ‘non-profits’ which run charters, etc., rake in thousands to use at their discretion. Whether the lion’s share goes into ‘administrative costs’ or ‘capital expenditures’ is entirely their decision. Whether they enroll 100 students and then subsequently ‘weed out’ 80 for whatever reason is also their call. Whether they hire TFAers or career professionals is again something for which they do not have to answer to anyone.

      The comparisons to public education are obvious. Public schools are left with a huge disadvantage in these and other areas. So I guess in the opinion of people like you, we should just scrap public education, instead of dedicating our time and allocating our resources to improving it.

      Oh, but what about those 80 students who were dismissed? I guess you want them out wandering the streets, contributing to the growing homeless population as they mature. No? Then how will we deal with that phenomenon which is one result of what your governor is proposing to increase exponentially?

      Not that public education was ever perfect, but this attempt to scrap the system entirely and put in its place a completely experimental one is ludicrous at best. It’s not about ‘worshipping’ public education; it’s about improving the very system which for many years produced many of the best minds in the U.S. And, it’s about not throwing the baby out with the bath water, but cleaning it up and putting it back on its own two feet. DUH!

  12. Wow, you actually made one good point, the teachers are playing right into Jindal’s hands by predictably talking about the pay and benefits. But save that one point, you are not even in the realm of reality. You would prefer to sit around and just continue doing exactly what made us the 49th ranked education state and just hope things got better. You can’t accept the fact the charter schools in new Orleans have out performed your precious public schools. You say well, maybe, just maybe, if we would have tried one more time, the public schools could have rebounded to what the charter schools are. Bull and you know it. You can’t accept facts because they don’t go along with your liberal philosophy. You offer no facts in your article, just mere speculation and propaganda from the national teachers unions. Bobby Jindal will save this state in spite of people like you!

    1. I offer no facts? Mere speculation and propaganda from the national teachers unions? I’m not even in the realm of reality? Jindal saves in spite of people like me?

      Do you want to actually discuss the issues or just throw out rhetorical bombs?

    1. as mark twain said:
      “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
      For ‘majority’ does not equate ‘right’. In fact, the majority is usually wrong.
      So remember, when you find a mass of people agreeing with you, pause and reflect, for you might be wrong.”

  13. What a croc. Change our education system in this state and raise expectations. Increase academic prowess both public and private or we shall be doomed to another century of third world comparisons. We (yes, you too) have accepted mediocrity far too long. Get better or get the heck out of the way!

    What really chaps my fanny though, is when seemingly intelligent people, yet ones with a specific personal agenda, make remarks about how ‘we are improving.’ Are you serious? That’s like telling a drowning man,’Your doing fine…. You were in water that was 20′ deep, now it’s only 10′ deep…. That’s just 4′ over your head! Go ahead, take one more deep breath.’

    1. Mediocrity is what we were told to TEACH. We are forced to follow standards that do not prepare students for workforce after high school. This is because vocational funding was slashed and teacher authority was stripped due to a constant barrage of liability issues. The entire problem is that teachers are never consulted but rather insulted. The very core of Jindal and all of the other legislators is ACADEMIA and the TEACHERS that fostered their intellectual growth. Now, they are INSULTING the very institutions and people that made them. Give TEACHERS the right to vote on this crap and see what happens. Where is the DEMOCRACY?

  14. You must be a democrat. Everything is about the political party. I don’t even know the truth any more. The only thing I can believe is a positive remark directed toward or about a person of the other political party. Also , most Americans are only concerned about issues that effect them. I’m not confident with Bobby Jindal’s plan. However, EBRP school system is a depressing.
    KA(retired teacherEBRP)

  15. This plan will be a total failure and our education system will really suffer. I have voiced over and over how ridiculous this is to try and run public schools like businesses. These are kids who have little or no support at home, most take care of themselves after school or struggle to find their next meal. PLEASE stop these bills now! Call and email your reps everyday this weekend, 15 times a day if you have to. Tell them to vote NO and save our teachers and more importantly our students!

  16. It really sounds to me that he needs to sit down with people who know more about this situation and rethink his whole idea about the voucher program and education of our public schools.

  17. Rather than a voucher system, it is simple, parents who send their children to private schools should pay zero in property taxes that are used for public schools. If the taxpayer has no children in a school of public use why are they footing the bill? Transporting the kids to and from school due to no busses should be a tax write off also.

  18. This just makes me hang my head in shame and disgust. That the very person who took an oath to the people of Louisiana would be so self-serving. He should be sworn to an affidavit stating that his children and all following generations of their children be educated in the system he is ruining and destroying. I work with a stellar faculty. A faculty that always goes the extra mile, no matter what goofy state mandated curriculum they throw at us, and gets great results. This article helps me understand that this was always his plan. The demands and curriculum have been ways to undermine our test scores and our morale.

    Well, guess what, we will continue to teach well. Our students will continue to learn and excel. Jindal will run for another office after this second term, and then we will vote.

    1. agree. our government officials, especially swindal, have become so cynical and arrogant it’s made a mockery of our state even more than ever before. a recall is our only real option, but we have far too many lambs among our electorate who just ba ba ba their way through the electoral process and are clueless just how ridiculous this nonsense is. this was the ideal state for such a farce to take place, given its history of cronyism and illiteracy. we really are f___ed!

    2. I many that voted 4 him r pissed! But this is a Republican state and partyline voting is what they do. They don’t vote in the best interest of the people. They weak and followers. I am glad that the public was able to see which representatives voted for each component.

  19. Sounds like the kids that want to go to college are going to use vouchers to go to private schools that do not have the same regulations that public schools do. WE have been beating our heads on the wall trying to get all students through a rigorous system when they all are not interested in it. What they NEED are LIFE skills and VOCATIONAL training. Seems to me that corporations and business owners are going to have to send in people to train these students (hmmmm, sounds like Asia?) to go to work for them. With all of the cuts in funding, we have lost many of our vocational programs, especially in rural parishes where they are needed most. Now, it looks like we are headed that way again…which would be to the benefit of the students. They don’t all want to take Algebra and World History…they want to learn how to use Microsoft Excel or how to measure and cut pipe, build a structure, plant, cook, and wire. These things we begged to keep but they were taken away. Students graduate with no real skills. That is part of the reason we have so many behavior issues in the schools. Students are not satisfied. But no, we were told that they were to all be taught this enormous list of things for each subject in 7 mnonths time and the students were to be on level or fail at certain grades. Talk about stress on a child! It all started because BIG BUSINESS INTERESTS were shouting, “Louisiana students are graduating without being able to read and write!” So, all students were punished. However, students were being pushed through, sometimes because they were good athletes. That was an administrative issue, not a legislative issue. However, athletics brings in a lot of revenue for schools. Not all students are athletes. Athletics may get scholarships but then students who are not interested in college fail, and we are back to square one. Train students to read measurements, take care of their money, and how to take care of a family. Looks to me like this is going to be a cost how ever you look at it for businesses and their taxation in Louisiana. The people who wanted this REFORM will end up paying ROYALLY for it and Jindal will be long gone….AMBITION is his only agenda. TEACHERS are TIRED of riding the bureacratic wave. The biggest problem LA schools have is legislators that want to make laws to look accomplished and then they leave and the mess is left for TEACHERS who actually care about improving the future of our communities. Government is cutting off its nose to spite its face. TEACHERS are not all to be judged by the flaws of a minority of people who are in it for the wrong reasons. You don’t PUNISH an entire class for the actions of a few students. TEACHERS are the ones that are forming citizens to abide by the laws of their communities. POLITICIANS have personal agendas and now the very basis of our stability, TEACHERS, are being penalized. We are licensed, degreed individuals that have gone through more changes, training, and stresses than the average person and manage large numbers of children all day. TEACHERS work late hours each night and many hours on weekends. Think 100 individual assignments to grade and post twice! That is not counting all of the ridiculous programs and paperwork we have to document (and don’t forget all of the lesson planning a week in advance, each class period a page unto itself, 6 a day, 30-40 a week counting all documented paper assessments and standards with each individual question correlated to state standards, plus individual documentation of a gazillion standards and their correlating numbers and students with their individual accommodations noted for each class period). Did you know that state law says that 33 students to one teacher is okay? Do you think that 25-30 immature people are going to learn or accomplish a whole lot in 45 minutes? TEACHERS have very little help with any of this but they are told to do it all and make sure they all learn it behave, and meet the individual needs of a majority of them so says the laws that LEGISLATORS have passed, many of which are business owners with little present day knowledge of what it is actually like in those classrooms today. They have their memories of school, way before all of the strict regulations and guidelines were made. They all remember how tough it was when the TEACHER actually had the right to discipline students without the constant fear of LIABILITY issues. No one consulted us about all of this. If they were concerned about children, then they would have been listening to us all alone. SHAME on them.

  20. My question is this: if the state has that much funding “possibly” available, why dosent it go towards improving our public schools and the tools they need and also paying our teachers a salary they deserve?

    1. Thank u and y r we having all these budget cuts if we have extra $ to pay 4 private sch tuition. If that’s the case all should b able to go free. It shouldnt b income based. I hope this doesn’t pass

  21. Our public school system is an utter failure. The sad thing is, when teachers fail to teach, only our children lose. Next year the teachers are right back in the classroom NOT learning anything AGAIN..
    if you keep doing what youve always done, you’re gonna keep getting what you’ve always got. If you want something you’ve never had, you’ve gotta do things you’ve never done. WINNERS do the things LOSERS aren’t willing to do..
    I applaud Gov Jindal for doing SOMETHING,, even if it isn’t popular. Most of the people who don’t like his plan are teachers who fear losing their jobs because they KNOW they would not stand up to standards. ALSO the liberal, left leaning press such as this fine article you jus read.. HAAA What a joke for journalistic integrity..DO YOUR HOMEWORK !!!! People should be able to see that our schools are failing with half their BRAIN tied behind their back.. Upon graduation, some of these kids can’t read or write,, guess what, NEITHER CAN THEIR TEACHERS !!! my wife worked in HR at a public school board & applicants with MASTERS couldn’t properly fill out a generic application…. SAD & PATHETIC… in a global economy, we MUST be more competitive and it’s STARTS WITH EDUCATION !!!!

    1. ignorance must be blissful, eh, wayne? it sure must be fun for you blaming the teachers for the students’ failures. if only you could walk in those teachers’ shoes. but, no, then you wouldn’t be so blissful, would you? so i guess you better stay ignorant; we who know better will just as easily overlook your pitiful brain tied behind your back.

    2. Sadly, people are grouping everyone into the examples of a few. There are millions of people in this state. Our schools are failing because they are understaffed. If it was 1955, 25 to 30 students would be sitting in rows quietly doing as they were told. In 2012, there are that many but the social climate has changed in 40 years. As I said, people who would be more inclined to tactile learning or vocational training are not getting that because it was CUT OUT. Restless teenagers that do not conform to the college preparatory atmosphere that EXIT exams and END OF COURSE exams and state standards dictate, should be removed to vocational training where they would be more fulfilled, society would benefit, and students would succeed. Students that are bound for college prep would then be able to concentrate on academics and not what a trouble maker is constantly doing in an overcrowded room where they are made to sit each day for almost an hour. My point is, you don’t force people to take college prep courses if they are not going to put forth the effort. It impedes progress. Now, untie that brain and look at it from another perspective. If people with master’s degrees are applying to schools that can’t fill out basic applications , dude, that is a choice that an adminstrator is paid to make. Better yet, maybe we could take a better look at the university that graduated that person. I know it was not the same university that I graduated from.

    3. Looks like u should do your homework. In2009, we were ranked 35th in the nation, 2010 ranked 27th in the nation, 2011 ranked 21st in the nation, and 2012 ranked 23rd nationally in education! Oh, our overall score was 77.4 and the national average was 76. Google it?!!!! U don’t hear about this. It was on the news. The is a television anchor sharing the news in Jan. with a clip online. Also, a national article and a local one will this data u don’t hear about! Share this!

    4. U and your wife are haters! How could someone obtain a master’s degree and not read?!!!!!! Please! Your wife probably wishes she had their degree and income. In HR, if she is not the manager, I am quite sure she made less than a teacher. She wouldn’t be able to teach if she wanted to. Walk in a teacher’s shoes working in an inner city school, then speak!!! I bet you wouldn’t like it IF your kids or grand kids have a opportunity to go to school with along side with kids that have vouchers for free along side your kids u may be paying 6500 to send to school. Who is saying catholic and private schools are better? There is no data showing that and no accountabllity for them. Most private school teachers teach there because the can’t handle the stresses of public schools or due to lack of certification. I went to private school 3 of my 12 grade school years. I did not notice anything better, except praying in school and them being more strict. Actually, most public schools have more graduation options that private. Also, in checking last year for a school for someone, private schools do not want any struggling learners. They do not provide interventions, literally, if the child does not learn the concept, they keep moving. This was based on me checking with several of them in the metropolitan area of N.O. Stop bashing teachers. I know many teachers that have several degrees plus many properties/investments too. We r not dummies!! Who do u think u r????

  22. We r actually ranked 23 overall nationally in education. With a score of 77.4 and the national average is 76. Google it.

  23. Without test data and accountability from private schools, one can not compare the two. The students that are in these schools do not take state tests like public school students. The students that are in private schools currently on vouchers take state testing, but there is no accountability. If they do nit score well, the scores r not pisted, nor will they loose the opportunity to continue to get vouchers. Private schools e not going to want all of the public school students that may qualify for vouchers. As soon as there is a behavior concern or a fight, they may b out. Sorry to say this, but from experience in searching for a good private school, I could not find one that would provide interventions for students needing extra support.

  24. I want to commend everyone– well, almost everyone– for the lively and spirited discussion on this critically important issue. During the last few days, this post has received more unique visitors than any single post I have ever published during my six years of blogging; indeed, yesterday, my website shattered the record for most visitors in a single day (which is remarkable, I think, considering that earlier this month, the site was referenced by multiple national and international news outlets for another story about the late conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart).

    So, to all of the teachers out there who want to speak out but don’t know if they should: Just know, there are thousands and thousands AND THOUSANDS of people who are with you. They may not leave a comment. They may not speak out individually. But they are with you. How do I know? Because I’ve received dozens of e-mails, because I can trace my referrals, because I know what is being said on other social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter.

    There is a damn good reason Governor Jindal felt compelled to close all but one entrance to the Capitol when hundreds of educators and parents came to Baton Rouge to protest last week. There’s a damn good reason the House Committee voted on these issues in a marathon session that lasted until after midnight on a weekday. And there’s a damn good reason Jindal ensured that a State Representative lost his Vice Chairmanship after voting against one of his education “reform” bills (the one that gives a tax break for private tuition). He seeks to stifle and undermine dissent and debate as much as he can.

    I respect those of you who have respectfully disagreed. We may not ever agree about Jindal’s reform package, but at least you’re willing to engage in a robust discussion. At least you’re honoring the process of American democracy.

    Remember, this is the single most important issue for Governor Jindal in this legislative session. It may be the single biggest initiative of his entire political career. What does it say about his philosophy of governance when he resorts to blatantly stifling procedural maneuvers, when he and his cohorts vote on these issues in the dead of the night, when he suddenly enforces draconian security measures that prevent dissenters from participating in the debate, when he overtly inserts himself into decisions affecting legislative committee chairmanships? To me, at least, it reveals a particularly egregious arrogance and an utter disrespect for dissent and debate. Sure, he won the last election, but he didn’t win on this platform; he didn’t win with a mandate to create the nation’s largest voucher system; he didn’t win because he promised an overhaul of teacher tenure. Louisianans didn’t vote for that, plain and simple. And today, he’s overreaching, quashing dissent, proposing a completely impractical policy that many fair-minded people (including thousands of people who voted for him) reject– not for political or even personal reasons, but because they hold a belief in the fundamental, American right to a free and equitable PUBLIC education system.

    Yes, to be fair and transparent, I’ve never been a fan of Bobby Jindal. But not for any personal reasons and, truthfully, not because he is a member of another political party. I’ve met him, albeit briefly; but he seemed like an extremely nice guy. Actually, he and I were somehow photographed together for the cover of a monthly government trade magazine.

    I’m not a fan of him because he panders to the extreme ideological right, because I believe, in my heart, that he surely is smarter than the policies he supports and endorses, because he lacks genuineness and authenticity, because his entire career has been focused on the next best thing, because he speaks as a pacifist and governs like a bully, because his policy team is amateurish at best, and because he offers very little room for compromise and discussion. It may make for a good campaign. It may allow him to catapult into the highest echelons of Republican leaders and garner the admiration and praise of conservative pundits. But it doesn’t and has never made for good, fair, and honest governance.

  25. I believe that Jindal’s crew deliberately and with intent created the letter grade for schools to sabatoge the public schools credibility in the public eye. This fallacious instrument was already being used for political purposes even before the pilot studies were completed. There is criminality here waiting to be discovered.

  26. Having read this I thought it was very enlightening.

    I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this informative article
    together. I once again find myself personally
    spending way too much time both reading and posting comments.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

  27. Great blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it
    from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my
    blog shine. Please let me know where you got your theme.
    Bless you

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