Suzy Sonnier, Sec. Department of Children & Family Services

State Treasurer John Kennedy, who serves as a substitute teacher about three times per year, said one reason that nearly one in four students in Louisiana public high schools fails to graduate in four years is lack of discipline.

“Too often there are one or two kids in every class who constantly interrupt and disrupt the learning process for themselves and others, often through physical and verbal abuse of the teacher and fellow students,” Kennedy wrote in one of his periodic guest columns.

Kennedy praised a boot camp-style alternative school program launched in Rapides Parish for students who are often in trouble.

“The rules are simple: no jewelry, no graphic T-shirts, no green hair, no distractions,” he said. “Alternative schools are one answer.”

Finance Committee finds projections off

During a transportation hearing last week, state Senate Finance Committee Chairman Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville, noted that original cost estimates for 16 projects voters approved in 1989 were far off the mark.

The initial price tag was $2.5 billion. The latest is $4.7 billion, and two remain unfinished for the package called TIMED.

Donahue said officials were unable to find anyone in state government involved in the initial, woefully low estimates.

“How could we be so far off?” he asked.

Lieutenant governor recalls punny victory

Steve Clemons, Washington editor-at-large at The Atlantic, wanted Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne to recount his victory in a vile pun contest a few years ago, saying it would be the best way to open discussions on energy policy for a town hall in New Orleans.

The international contest was sponsored by San Jose State University to find the worst opening line of the worst novel imaginable. The contest is in honor of English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton, who wrote “The pen is mightier than the sword.”

Dardenne fumbled with his phone to find the passage.

“Falcon was her name and she was quite the bird of prey; sashaying past her adolescent admirers from one anchor store to the other; past the kiosks where earrings long to lay upon her lobes; and sunglasses hope to nestle upon her nose; seemingly the beginning of a beautiful friendship with whomsoever caught the eye of the Mall Tease Falcon.”

NRA backs Cassidy in La.’s U.S. Senate race

The National Rifle Association is backing Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy in Louisiana’s heated Senate race.

Meanwhile, more than 500 local elected officials across the state backed the re-election of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, the Democrat.

Cassidy faces Landrieu and tea party-backed Republican Rob Maness in the Nov. 4 election.

Maness has been endorsed by the National Association for Gun Rights, Gun Owners of America and Gun Rights Across America.

Education leader: Core concerns to increase

Scott Richard, executive director of the Louisiana School Boards Association, said parental concerns about Common Core will increase after the new school year’s first round of grades come out in a few weeks.

Richard said there are plenty of reasons to slow implementation of the new standards “to get all of this right before we start hammering teachers and basing their pay on this experiment that we are calling Common Core.”

Vitter ‘gold standard’ for overcoming scandal

The Washington, D.C.-based National Journal identifies Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana as the apparent “gold standard for surviving a political scandal” in an article this week on how politicians have weathered public embarrassments.

“Vitter may well be the Teflon Don of political sex scandals,” the DC-insider publication writes of Louisiana’s GOP front-runner for governor in 2015.

Vitter, who’s in his second term in the U.S. Senate, formally announced his plans to run for governor earlier this year.

“The evidence suggests that, if you can trudge through the first few weeks of bad press and public outcry, voters will eventually leave you alone — or better yet, forget all about you,” the National Journal writes.

Child services secretary named to committee

State Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Suzy Sonnier has been selected as a member of the Child Welfare League of America Faith-Based Advisory Committee.

As a committee member, Sonnier will assist in identifying and developing resources to assure a faith perspective in CWLA conferences, trainings and materials. The committee will provide input for conducting research on effective models for engaging faith communities in child welfare services.

Jindal to talk jobs in Washington, D.C.

Gov. Bobby Jindal addresses The Heritage Foundation on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., on jobs.

In this address, he will unveil another major policy proposal: “Organizing Around Abundance — Making America an Energy Superpower.”

Jeff Parish clerk to address Pachyderms

Jon Gegenheimer, the Jefferson Parish Clerk of court, addresses the Pelican State Pachyderm Club on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Mr. Ed’s Oyster Bar & Fish House, 3117 21st St., in Metairie.

Gegenheimer will discuss the election procedures in Jefferson Parish and the upcoming election.

Cost is $25 per member and $35 for guests.


Leaders With Vision to hold forum on PARCC

Leaders With Vision is holding a forum Thursday on PARCC.

The forum begins at noon in The Ballroom at Drusilla Restaurant, 3482 Drusilla Lane, Baton Rouge.

Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for nonmembers, which includes lunch and the program.

Compiled by the The Advocate Capitol news bureau