Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Fallout From Our Governor's Ambitions

C. B. Forgotston is a former state budget official and is an expert on politics and Louisiana state government. I thought my readers might like to see the opinions of a non-educator on the recent fight over vouchers. The following is the post by Mr Forgotston about the Governor's ambition creating a problem for children. Remember when I pointed out in this blog that the LAE lawyer Brian Blackwell was correct in warning  private school administrators about the possible consequences of accepting voucher money. The following is an excellent blog on Louisiana politics and the folly of our governor's ambitions.

"Judge Tim Kelley’s decision today that the funding for Bobby Jindal’s school voucher program unconstitutionally diverts state funds to private and parochial schools was refreshing.
It’s rare when a Louisiana judge rules against a sitting governor, but the constitution is as clear as can be written that the money in the Minimum Foundation Program (“MFP”) can only be used for public schools.
Had Jindal not been in such a rush to ram through the new voucher program to advance his national political ambitions prior to the National Republican Convention, he could have gotten the leges to pass an amendment to the constitution to make its funding legal. Failing to do that, Jindal should have waited until the constitutionality of the new law was tested in the courts before implementing it.
Neither of those options served Jindal’s ambitions.
The voucher program might be the best thing since sliced bread. However, good intentions mean nothing if the will of the people as expressed in the constitution is circumvented for political gain.
Who suffers?

Jindal will not suffer as a result of this decision. He will quickly spin this stunning loss to his advantage with the national media.
Unfortunately, because of Jindal’s blind, political, ambitions he and a majority of the leges have just put 5,000 innocent school children into legal limbo. Where will they attend school next year?

If Jindal truly cared about Louisiana and providing quality education for the children, he’d accept the judge’s ruling and submit a proper funding mechanism in the 2013 legislative session. He won’t because Bobby only cares about Bobby.
Regardless, of how one feels about vouchers, a ruling based on the law rather than Machiavellian politics should make everyone feel good.
Kudos to Judge Kelley!


Mercedes Schneider said...

Jindal was following the ALEC prescription: "Hit 'em fast, hit 'em hard; push through as much legislation as quickly as you can and sort out the details later." So much for the ALEC plan.

Anonymous said...

the lists of job openings in many parishes are growing in numbers I have never seen except after school ends. There are so many teachers opting to retire it is frightening. After all the smoke clears, what will be left? Parent conversations show parents are ignoring the issue, and it has been announced in many places, so apathy, not lack of access to information, is a problem. Newspapers up here in the "North" part of the state carry little about the issues.
Students and parents blame their grades on "bad" teachers, the CC upped the tension, rigor is the buzzword and teachers jobs are dependent on the scores of hormonal teens, oscillating preteens and children who should be at recess not test prep.
Jindal was enabled to destroy all this by a legislature, BESE board members and others in our state who are ignorant themselves and lack the backbone that evolution gave them. , except Ms. Beebe and Ms. Hill(thank you!)

Michael Deshotels said...

To anonymous I say Amen! However I believe that parents would not be so apathetic if teachers and school administrators would speak up more, write letters to the editors, ask to speak to the Rotory club etc. about the damage being done to public education by amateurs like John White who operate based on the assumption that most educators are lazy selfish incompetents. If we in the education profession do not fight back then we deserve our fate, but the students do not deserve to have their schools destroyed.