I read Dennis Persica’s column about Gov.-elect Edwards’ views on education reforms, including charter schools. There is mention of the positions of the teacher’s unions, that teacher job protection is lost under charter schools, school districts that perform at a certain level as a whole should have control over creation of new charter schools, and that charters take money away from school systems.

The education of our children should be a higher priority than the positions of the teachers unions. There can be no doubt that the performance of the charter schools in Orleans Parish under the RSD is light years ahead of the pre-Katrina system. There have literally been decades of lost children “educated” under the Orleans Parish School Board, leading to little or no opportunity and contributing to the high crime rate in the city. Job protection comes with doing one’s job. Millions of Americans go to work every day without job protection.

As for high-performing school districts not having charters, does that mean it is OK to throw out 30 or 40 percent of a district’s kids who go to failing schools because the majority are in high-performing schools? Charters provide an opportunity for proven school managers to come in and offer a different approach to education.

As for charters taking away money from schools systems, the money follows the children, so it will go to where the kids are. Charter schools can also receive tax-deductible contributions from sponsors such as individuals, corporations and foundations, increasing the amount of money to be spent on children’s education. When was the last time you heard about someone making a donation to their local school board?

A giant step forward would be increasing pay for teachers, to reward them for their hard work and entice more people to this important profession. For starters, the state could use some of the $1.1 BILLION dollars in corporate welfare given to those needy oil and gas companies over the past five years for tax exemptions for horizontal drilling.

Louis Shepard

property manager

New Orleans