The Advocate describes the candidates vying to be Louisiana’s next governor as being ‘night and day’ on major education issues.
On Saturday, State Representative John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, will face Republican U.S. Senator David Vitter in the race for the state’s highest office. Their positions on K-12 education, particularly issues related to educational choice are fundamentally different.
Vitter views education as Louisiana’s most important challenge and advocates expansion of school choice options. “Supporting and expanding all versions of choice is an important way to fundamentally empower parents and school-based leaders,” says Vitter.
As House minority leader, Edwards opposed school vouchers and charter schools. During the 2015 legislative session, he unsuccessfully sponsored legislation that would have limited kindergarten eligibility for students participating in the Louisiana Scholarship Program, that currently serves more than 7,100 low-income children.
Louisiana Federation for Children president, Ann Duplessis, believes Edwards would reverse many of the transformative education reforms enacted in the past decade. She told The Advocate, “he believes that the traditional method can work, although it has not over the past 50 years.”
“Louisiana is at a crossroads,” says Duplessis. “We have empowered parents to direct the trajectory of their children’s lives. Do we go back to a time when parents had to settle for the underperforming school in their ZIP code?”