The folks at FreedomWorks, who yesterday launched a grassroots campaign in support of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s K-12 school reform initiative, have come up with a top 10 list of why to support his school reform agenda:
1. It Allows Parents to Choose their Child’s School.
Most Louisiana public school students are forced to attend the closest school to where they live.
Gov. Jindal’s education reform plan will allow low-income students in poor-performing areas to attend a better school. Eligibility includes any student in a “C” or below school who also lives in a household with income at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty rate, about $55,000 for a family of four. That means that about 380,000 Louisiana students will qualify for a voucher.
2. It Will Improve the Quality of Education in Louisiana.
Student test scores in Louisiana are unacceptable. Louisiana spends approximately $12,000 per student, yet only a small percentage of students are proficient in reading and math. We need to implement tried and true methods of improving test scores. The proposed education reforms will boost student achievement. Studies have confirmed that school vouchers have boosted test scores and parental satisfaction.
3. It Will Make it Easier to Create Charter Schools.
Children in Louisiana should have a wide menu of school options to choose from. Charter schools are an example of an alternative education option. Many families prefer charter schools because they operate independently from local school districts and local government. Studies have shown that charter schools can boost test scores. About 70 percent of students in New Orleans attend an independent public school. Gov. Jindal wants more students in Louisiana to have the option of attending a charter school.
4. It Helps Remove the Teacher Unions Grip on Our Schools.
The status quo is not working. We need to implement new ideas that have worked in other states.
Louisiana teachers unions are opposed to education reform simply because they do not wish to compete with other education options. Gov. Jindal’s education reform package would move us in the right direction to break the teachers’ unions’ monopoly.
5. It is a Bold, Comprehensive Proposal.
Small educational reforms won’t cut it. We need drastic, sweeping reforms. These proposed reforms will transform education in the state. Louisiana has a great opportunity to be lead the rest of the country in education.
6. It Will Link Teacher Tenure to Performance.
Tenure practically guarantees a teacher their job for life. Teacher unions have imposed these
burdensome rules to ensure that all teachers keep their jobs, no matter what. This means that it has
become almost impossible to fire a bad teacher. Gov. Jindal’s reforms would prevent bad teachers from earning tenure.
7. It Will Reform the Teacher Tenure Process.
A major problem in our education system is tenure. Teachers should not able to get tenure so quickly. Gov. Jindal’s education reform would make it so teachers would have to work five years instead of three before getting tenure.
8. It Will Make School Board Term Limits an Option for Voters.
Some school board members in Louisiana school districts have served far too long. It’s time that
different people with new ideas serve on school boards. Gov. Jindal’s reforms would allow people to
vote on school board term limits on local ballots across the state in the November 2012 elections.
9. It Will Help Boost Louisiana’s Competitiveness.
According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NEAP), which tracks the test scores of 4th through 8th graders across the country, Louisiana ranks 49th with only 18 percent of these students
considered proficient in reading and math.7 Louisiana’s schools are not preparing students for their
future careers. Gov. Jindal’s education reforms will improve education, which will boost Louisiana’s
competitiveness on a national and global scale.
10. It Will Help Children Rise From Poverty.
Education is generally regarded as the best way out of poverty. But thousands of poor Louisiana
students are trapped in failing schools. The proposed education reforms will enable students to get a
better education in order to rise from poverty.