Aaron Baer, Deputy of Communications for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has responded via an email to a column by Times Picayune editorial writer, Stephanie Grace Sunday opinion piece related to Jindal’s education plan that passed the legislature this spring.
Here is Baer’s comments
ALL – In today’s Times-Picayune, Stephanie Grace’s use of “fabricated urgency” belies the facts, ignores reality, and overlooks common sense.
44 percent of Louisiana public schools received a D or F grade last year. That means that at nearly 600 schools there were at least (and often much more) 37 percent of students below grade level. Nearly one third of students are below grade level. Despite that number trending in the right direction, that’s still 225,000 students that are not achieving at their grade level.
But Louisiana’s children aren’t just competing amongst themselves for the jobs of the 21st century; they’re competing against children in other states and Louisiana’s 4th and 8th graders ranked in the bottom five states in both English and Math. Louisiana’s children are also competing against children in other countries, at a time when the once prestigious American education system has dropped to 14th best in reading, 17th best in science, and 25th best in math.
And it’s not just the numbers coming out of the classrooms. Seventy percent of the companies that want to move to or expand their operations in Louisiana say that one of the top two concerns is finding a skilled worker. That’s why improving Louisiana’s education system is so important to creating economic growth.
Children only grow up once. They have just one chance to get a great education and every day delayed is a day lost. There could be nothing more urgent than that.
The reality is there was and is an urgent need to improve educational outcomes for Louisiana’s students. Governor Jindal’s reforms were debated for more than 50 hours during the legislative session. That attention was warranted and it was far more debate than a typical bill would receive.
Rarely mentioned by those accepting Coalition of the Status Quo talking points, are the words of a journalist who was actually there and described the Senate Education Committee chairman as having “bent over backwards to give everyone a chance to speak” and the “process to be as fair and orderly as any I have seen over the years.”
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Governor