APPEL: Actual Progress In Higher Education? Perhaps So!

I just have to say this so please forgive my exuberance; this afternoon I feel extremely proud of my work in the Senate and of when I was Chair of the Education Committee. Sounds cocky but I am feeling so good about the future of Louisiana right now that I just had to express it.

I have just returned from the roll-out by the Board of Regents of our new Outcomes Based Funding Model for higher education. This is a strategy that my staff and I developed and pushed the Legislature hard to pass. As technical sounding as it may, for the first time ever this strategy paves the way for much higher expectations in post-secondary education than we have ever had. These expectations will now be enforced with actual financial incentives for achievement and penalties for failure.

We all recognize the importance of a degree or a certification and of aligning education with wealth creating job opportunities, but our results have been abysmal. Now we have placed the focus squarely upon success and we had made achievement of success count.

I have already heard grumbling from several sources that this plan is unfair and that it does not take into account the “special” circumstances of some of the schools in our state. The only “special” circumstances are that, as far as educational outcomes are concerned, we have been mediocre at best and a failure at worst. We have until now just accepted the status quo as the only option.

Wrong, we can and will do much better. Our students deserve it and we have no real future as a state if we don’t succeed.

Thank you to the Board of Regents, the Workforce Commission, and the Department of Economic Development for taking my bill seriously and for doing a great job in helping to execute my plan. I promise to fight off the inevitable challenges to this strategy, challenges that will come from those who, for whatever reason, don’t succeed and would rather try to use politics to circumvent the very important duty that they have to our people to make their schools work.

So, hooray for Louisiana!! We can succeed.

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