Louisiana cannot afford to continue waiting for publicly funded education to improve while nearly 12,000 children each year continue to lose hope, drop out and turn away from a more productive life in society.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration and the legislative leadership, along with many local organizations, have played a vital role in drafting the education reform legislation that recently passed out of the education committees of the Louisiana Senate and House of Representatives. The list of organizations committed to this effort includes the Black Alliance for Educational Options, the Louisiana Federation for Children, Council for a Better Louisiana, Stand for Children, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, Your Child Our Future, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce, the Pelican Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors, Baton Rouge Area Foundation and many others.
Despite the efforts of these groups and strong bipartisan support, major opponents — including the teachers unions and the Louisiana School Board Association — have joined with a majority of the Legislative Black Caucus in continued protest of reforms. These groups represent the adults in a system that only works some of the time — and that’s not good enough for our children. Louisiana’s public schools are currently failing 44 percent of the students in Louisiana, and something needs to change.
Those who work in the school systems should be confident that if they are doing an effective job — as are most teachers — there is nothing to fear. It is time for those who have our children in private schools or can afford to live in neighborhoods with the highest-achieving public schools to open our hearts to those who do not have that same choice. It is time for legislative leaders to put children first. It is time we work together to put the success of our students before the status quo. Everyone pays taxes and deserves the right to a quality education for their families, regardless of income level or zip code.
I pray we stand up in support of these education reforms so we can give our children hope, success and a chance at a bright future.
Chairman of ISC Constructors, L.L.C. and The Louisiana Federation for Children
Read the letter online here.