Governor Bobby Jindal took the oath of office as Governor of Louisiana on January 14, 2008. He has worked hard to bring ethical reform to the state and has now brought education reform to the state.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune posted an editorial on April 8 about the education reforms the governor has enacted and is enacting. Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, and as the people of the city returned, they had to find a way to educate their children. Before Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans schools were among the worst performing in the state. The state took over most of the New Orleans schools after the Hurricane.
The editorial reports:
Since the state took over most schools post-Katrina, that is changing. Recovery School District students, including charter and traditional campuses, posted their fourth consecutive year of improvement last year. The proportion of students scoring at grade level or above grew to 48 percent in 2011 – more than double the percentage in 2007.
That progress has come as most city schools became public charter schools, a concept that the governor’s legislation would expand statewide.
The new education reform legislation Governor Jindal would expand the program that was successful in New Orleans throughout the state.
The article concludes:
Gov. Jindal’s reforms are the most far-reaching since the Foster administration, when BESE crafted accountability standards that included high-stakes tests for students and performance scores for schools. This reform effort goes beyond that, though, by making teachers accountable for students’ progress and giving parents far more educational options for their children.
Some teachers went to Baton Rouge to protest the changes to tenure. But others have expressed an understanding that the current system isn’t working.
“If I were not doing a good job as a teacher, I should be fired,” Kaycee Eckhardt, who teaches ninth-graders at Sci Academy, a charter high school in eastern New Orleans, told a reporter. “We’re not building machine parts here. We’re talking about the lives of children. If you have an ineffective teacher in the classroom, you’re hurting kids.”
That is the bottom line.
Gov. Jindal is right to be bold. Despite those earlier reform efforts, Louisiana students still lag behind their counterparts in most other states. Implemented wisely, these reforms could make students more competitive — and improve their lives and the state’s economic future.
One of my daughters and her Marine husband were stationed in New Orleans during the time of Hurricane Katrina. They saw the devastation and they saw the road back. They still own a house there and are hoping to retire there, but one of their concerns was the school system. It sounds as if Governor Jindal is doing a fantastic job of addressing that concern.