May 3, 2008

Under the leadership of Governor Bobby Jindal, Louisiana is now headed in the right direction to raise this state to improved levels higher than anyone has ever seen in their lifetimes. However, no matter how much better the Governor improves our system of government and no matter how many more career opportunities he works to provide for the residents of Louisiana, it will all be in vain if we fail to improve one of the worst education systems in the entire country.

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If we CONTINUE to promote the same illogical education policies that are responsible for our failing educational system today, it will be our children’s and our state’s future that will suffer the most. If we CONTINUE to fail at educating our children, it will remain near impossible to attract new employment opportunities, and we will CONTINUE to see our best and brightest move out of the state to find better jobs, as those left behind will suffer growing hardships.


It is well known through many studies that the earliest years of schooling are the most important for establishing a strong learning foundation necessary to accomplish ONLY a satisfactory level of education. Without the very basic learning skills needed to master reading, writing, and arithmetic, a child’s future is in dire circumstances.


The vast majority of Louisiana schools cannot even deliver the basic learning skills for our children. According to the Louisiana Department of Education, approximately 75% of the schools in Louisiana are performing at an unsatisfactory level.


Do the residents of Louisiana care about their children’s future? Do they care about our state’s future?


These questions have got to be answered TRUTHFULLY by the voters, for if we remain in denial of the truth and allow the same failed education policies to continue, our children and our state are doomed to remain last in all things good.


For too long powerful groups across this country have forced educational policies that have denied the God given rights of parents to choose how their children will be educated. Even worse, these same groups have denied parents any alternatives to the failing schools these groups are responsible for producing.


There is a way out of this failing cycle, but it will take parents who actually care about their children’s future along with other voters that also care about the future of this state who are willing to accept the truth and standup against the unions responsible for destroying our educational system.


In a remarkable effort to cross political lines, to disregard race, and to join north and south Louisiana, State Representatives Patrick Williams of Shreveport and Tony Ligi of Metarie have authored legislation that will change the course of our failing educational system in the same manner our successful Governor has begun to turnaround our notorious system of state government.


If enacted, House Bill 1349, The Parental Choice Education Reform Program, beginning in the 2008-09 school year, the parent(s) or guardian of any child entering Kindergarten will be able to choose which BESE approved, non-public school that best serves their  child’s needs.


Funding equal to 90% of the state’s portion of the MFP will follow the child to the selected school. The state will retain 5% of the MFP and the local school districts will receive not only 100% of the local money that would have been spent educating the student, but also 5% of the state MFP funding as well. The end result is a program that saves the state money, increases per-pupil funding to public schools and provides a better education to the students.


Participating schools will choose how many spaces to allocate for the program but must have open enrollment and practice non-discriminatory policies. Low income families with incomes less than 2.5 times the national poverty level will be given priority, but after those needs are met, all other students will be eligible as space permits. In the event more applications are received than space available, a lottery system will be used to select applicants with sibling preference.


Also, participating schools will be required to evaluate students using nationally recognized standardized tests and a sample of students will be tested at the beginning and end of the term to be compared to traditional public school students.


With House Bill 1349, The Parental Choice Education Reform Program, parents will be given back their rights to raise their own children; to be the primary decision makers for the Blessings they brought into this world.


With House Bill 1349, lower and middle income families will be given the opportunity to send their children to SUCCESSFUL schools, presently only available to upper income families.


With the Parental Choice Education Reform Program our children will no longer be FORCED to attend failing schools and will be allowed to escape failing systems that have held them and this state back for too many decades.


With the Parental Choice Education Reform Program parents will once again be allowed to take control of their children’s future and enroll their children in schools better prepared to ensure them a brighter future.


Parental choice will generate badly needed competition in all of our schools. Through many studies and without any dissent, competition is PROVEN to provide the needed encouragement for schools to improve and that widespread improvement will benefit our state as a whole.


PLEASE, if you want your children to have a better chance at a brighter future, to be afforded a better education than you were given, and if you want our state to grow to its higher potential, your support for the Parental Choice Education Reform Program is greatly needed.


PLEASE, contact your State Representatives and your State Senators and demand that your parental rights be returned and voice your support to improve our schools. Demand that your legislators and your Governor enact the Parental Choice Education Reform Program for the sake of our children’s future.


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