I was pleased to attend the historic inauguration of Governor John Bel Edwards on January 11. Listening to the ideas and goals of a governor who is dedicating his service as Governor to the welfare of the people of Louisiana instead of his own political ambitions should be refreshing and motivating to all of us.
On the subject of K-12 education he said:
"We need to treat our educators with the respect they deserve and demand the best for our children."
I am convinced that the demonization and scapegoating of the teaching profession by the Jindal/White administration has done immeasurable damage to the morale and therefore the effectiveness of our teaching profession. We need to immediately take action to reverse this course. Governor Edwards has made a sincere commitment to respect and support our professional educators.
Concerning higher education he said:
"It's been proven time and again that a more educated and trained workforce is our greatest long-term economic generator. So we MUST make college more affordable. We can start by ending double digit tuition hikes. We cannot fund higher education on the backs of our students."
The draconian cuts to higher education by Jindal totally discredit his administration because it has started to erode the healthy economy that Jindal had promised to nurture. How can we prepare our students for the careers of the future if our government is taking away their opportunities to receive the best possible eduction?
There are huge obstacles in Louisiana's budget structure that could doom all of Edward's excellent initiatives to failure. Solving the budget shortfall of over billion dollars will have to take priority before any real improvements can be made to education.
I hope that the voters will join with me in encouraging our legislators to support substantial increases in tax revenues necessary to get our state moving forward.
Sure there are cuts in unnecessary programs that should be made before we increase taxes. I have made a recommendation to the governor's fiscal transition team that all government contracts be reviewed for needed cuts including education service contracts. (We could save 100 million by cutting out unnecessary standardized testing) but It is high time we realize that good government must be paid for and that the Jindal formula of cutting vital services just to please the super rich is not the way to produce progress.