As we near election day, there are voices trying to make their message the loudest in a last ditch effort to sway voters.

There are those who use the political process to continue to degrade and humiliate our public education providers in order to ensure that corporate-driven educational initiatives remain in place.

These entities generally thrive on the need to categorize our traditional public schools as failing and their mantra is being pushed by outsider business investment in Louisiana politics.

Too often, the exceptional work of our K-12 leaders and service providers across Louisiana goes unnoticed and is taken for granted despite underfunding and imposing the expectation that teachers should fix the ills of society. Simply put, the public education profession is largely made up of individuals who’ve dedicated their lives to ensuring the leaders of tomorrow receive the best education experience possible today. These professional educators don’t clamor for news headlines, and they don’t wade into debate or controversy. They do perform their duties because of the intrinsic motivation to genuinely help children, parents, our state and our nation — gladly accepting all who show up at the doorsteps of our public schools, without hesitation.

Honoring the efforts of educators dedicated to children and finding ways to help them achieve should be our goal in Louisiana, even when it is not the goal of those who see K-12 education as a profitable investment opportunity. All stakeholders, including our partners in the business world, should work collaboratively to address major barriers to student achievement such as poverty and mental health in Louisiana, and, not at the expense of any entity. We stand ready to tackle these barriers collectively at all levels of government.

Scott Richard

executive director, Louisiana School Boards Association

Baton Rouge