Save our State by Saving our Schools
Education reform is a platform that is near and dear to my heart. As a public educator, I am working on the front lines and have witnessed first hand what the decisions in Baton Rouge are doing to our classrooms. This platform is the core agent responsible for my decision to run against the incumbent Bobby Jindal for the Governor’s seat October 22nd.
Jindal had promised education reform in 2007, but as we approach election day, our school system is more crippled then ever. Schools have become consumed with standardize testing, which has proven to have a negative impact on our education system. Music, Art, Band, along with Vocational/Agricultural programs are being cut at an alarming rate across the state.
As a state with an enormous agricultural base, we are leaving our children without the skills or knowledge to competently govern our natural resources in the future. We are leaving the state exposed to misuse by outside companies looking to strip the state of its natural wealth, and to watch those revenue dollars follow close behind.
As a state, we also have one of the highest incarceration rates per capita in the Union. If we are to alleviate the pressure that comes from the current budget crisis, we need to develop a plan to educate and rehabilitate inmates, while ensuring that we are putting more dollars into prevention via the education system in the front end, instead of pouring money into housing individuals locked up in the penal system on the back-end.
Competitive schools means a stop to budget cuts in the area of education. Funding for education should be at the forefront of the state’s agenda. The school system needs to be re-evaluated and restructured to provide our students with an education that will add to the state’s economic growth. Such restructuring would include specializing education by providing students and parents with a vocational and agricultural education track beginning in middle school. Student choosing to attend college should continue on the college prep track with emphases in advanced courses that will give them an edge among other student from other states when competing for admittance to institutions of higher education.
Our vocational and ag programs should provide students with a comprehensive education that becomes job specific as students approach their final year of schooling. This program should ultimately end with students obtaining not only a diploma upon graduation, but also a certificate or license in their chosen field, allowing them to enter the workforce prepared for the future.
This will begin a cycle of increased graduation rates, and students giving back to the community after graduation - providing economic growth, as well as a decrease in government assistance. Funding this agenda should be a priority for all Louisianans. Many states find the solution for educational funding through property tax. Revenue is leaving this state at an alarming rate.
I propose a raise on property taxes for all landowners not residing within the state. Furthermore, any natural resources to include timber, natural gas, oil, and other minerals will be taxed at an increased rate if the revenue from those resources will not be circulated back into the state’s economy.
* Platform information was formulated by meeting with representatives for
the following agencies or receiving information from the following sites:
- Blue Print Louisiana - http://blueprintlouisiana.org
- Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana - http://www.clear.lsu.edu/
- The Louisiana Division of Administration - http://wwwprd.doa.louisiana.gov/latrac/index.cfm
- Louisiana.Gov - http://louisiana.gov/
- Louisiana Department of Education - http://www.doe.state.la.us/
- Louisiana Association of Educators - http://www.lae.org/
- Core Standards - http://www.corestandards.org/
- National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/