Gov. John Bel Edwards sent a rebuttal to The Wall Street Journal after the newspaper blasted his proposals on charter schools and vouchers.
“As a father, husband of a school teacher and governor of Louisiana, I am committed to improving education for all children in Louisiana,” Edwards wrote.
“Your editorial ‘Back to Bad Schools in the Bayou’ gets it wrong,” the governor added.
“I reject the notion that supporting our dedicated classroom teachers is at odds with improving the education our children receive,” he said.
Vouchers are state aid for students from low-income families in troubled public schools so they can attend private schools.
Edwards wants to limit eligibility to students in public schools rated D and F, not C, D and F, which is current state law.
The governor also wants to make it harder to launch charter schools.
Under current rules, charter school applicants denied by local school boards can appeal to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Edwards has proposed that local school boards in districts rated A or B — the majority statewide — have the final say.
Charter schools are public schools run by non-governmental boards, and they are supposed to offer innovative classroom methods.
In its editorial, the newspaper asked, “If Democrats are so committed to equality and fairness, why do the party’s politicians protect teacher unions over minority students looking for a good education.”
Edwards is a Democrat.
About 7,100 students get vouchers, mostly minorities.
In his letter Edwards said C-schools “are not failing schools.”
On his charter school plan he wrote, “School districts that perform well under our accountability system should have the autonomy to decide whether a new charter school opens in their district.”
Voucher supporters have cited the editorial in efforts to derail the governor’s plan.
Edwards’ office said his letter appeared in the online edition of the paper on Tuesday and is set for publication in its print edition on Wednesday.