Earlier this week, I participated in a conference call with representatives from FreedomWorks and Louisiana Grassroots Network Executive Director Robin Edwards concerning Gov. Jindal’s K-12 school reform initiative.
Today, I was sent this press release from FreedomWorks Campaign Coordinator David Speilman:
FreedomWorks and its network of 15,000 volunteer activists in the state of Louisiana launched a grassroots campaign this week to support Governor Bobby Jindal’s education reform package. The Governor’s bold reform plan includes vouchers for students in under-performing public schools, performance-based tenure, and tax credits for individuals and businesses to sponsor tuition for the schools that best meets a child’s educational needs.
According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Louisiana spends almost $12,000 annually per student, but ranks 49th nationally in educational performance with only 18 percent of students scoring proficient on their reading and math tests.
“Louisiana families need this bold reform to shake up the educational establishment and take back control over their child’s educational future,” commented David Spielman, Campaigns Coordinator for FreedomWorks. “Governor Jindal has made this reform package his number one priority this year, and our activists have pledged to stand with him every step of the way.”
FreedomWorks will be working with a broad coalition of local activists, tea party groups, and educational reform groups to inform families on the specifics of the Governor’s bold educational reform package, and to expose the individuals in all levels of government blocking the path to progress.
Spielman added, “Sometimes you have to beat the Republicans before you can take on the Democrats and the unions, and in Louisiana it’s no different. We plan to target any individual in opposition to this reform package, regardless of political party.”
In the coming weeks, FreedomWorks will supply activists with voter education materials, targeted door hangers, yard signs, t-shirts, and bumper magnets. Local activists will be visiting district offices, phone banking, door-to-door neighborhood walking, as well as hosting strategy calls, education seminars and campaign meetings throughout the state.
We at The Hayride have been chronicling Jindal’s quest to reform Louisiana’s educational system since the governor unveiled his plans in January, as well as the push-back he has gotten from teachers unions and progressive propaganda outlet Louisiana Budget Project.
The 2012 Legislative Session starts in just a few days, so our reporting on the fight set to define Jindals’ second term is about to kick into high gear.
Here are the education bills to be introduced:
- Rep. Steve Pugh (R-Ponchatoula) has filed House Bill 292, which will place school board term limits as an option for voters on local ballots across the state in the November 2012 elections.
- Rep. Steve Carter (R-Baton Rouge) has filed House Bill 632, which would repeal tenure reform for all new teachers beginning July 1, 2012.
- Rep. Cameron Henry (R-Metairie) has filed House Bill 716, which would repeal tenure for all new school bus drivers beginning July 1, 2012.
- Rep. Steve Carter (R-Baton Rouge) and Sen. Conrad Appel (R-Metairie) have filed House Bill 933 and Senate Bill 581 respectively, which both outline a framework for a single coordinated early childhood education system with accountability for academic outcomes.
- Rep. Kirk Talbot (R-River Ridge) has filed House Bill 969, which authorizes a tax rebate for individuals and corporations who makes donations to organizations that provide scholarships.
- Rep. Steve Carter (R-Baton Rouge) and Sen. Conrad Appel (R-Metairie) have filed House Bill 974 and Senate Bill 603 respectively, which both link teacher tenure to performance, make effectiveness the primary criterion for personnel decisions, and grant authority for hiring and placement of personnel to school superintendents.
- Rep. Steve Carter (R-Baton Rouge) and Sen. Conrad Appel (R-Metairie) have filed House Bill 976 and Senate Bill 597 respectively, which expand school choice, including the scholarship program, pathways for charter schools, the providers who can offer courses to K12 students, and a “parent trigger” for failing schools.
- Senator Jack Donahue (R-Covington) has filed Senate Bill 413, which will remove the remaining obstacles to privatization of school food services
As for our part, I plan to be at the Legislature as much as possible when the fireworks start.
I have also told FreedomWorks that I would be on hand to record the meetings they are planning to conduct around the state on the issue—again, as much as possible. You will be able to see them here, as work to continue making The Hayride the go-to place for developments in Jindal’s push to overhaul our educational system.
Stay tuned, because it’s gonna get interesting.
FreedomWorks is also producing some short videos addressing issues surrounding Jindal’s plan, which I’m going to start showing as soon as I get. There is also an online petition in support of the governor’s reform initiative.