Mary Landrieu letter: After Bobby Jindal’s misguided attack on education, it’s time for renewed focus _lowres

Mary Landrieu

Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards’ decisive victory will happily usher in a renewed and much-needed focus on education excellence in our state at every level.

Higher education has been starved of attention and resources for eight years and our colleges and universities are in dire need of a reboot. While some of our K-12 schools are succeeding and others are showing signs of improvement, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s misguided and unconstitutional attack on public education, early in his administration, diverted precious time, attention and resources away from the real work at hand.

It is time to implement proven and tested strategies to improve schools in every parish that help all children succeed. Creating a robust partnership among high-performing charter schools, traditional public schools and our parochial schools is a strategy that has proven successful and will continue to work for Louisiana.

In Orleans Parish, for example, high-performing charter schools are proving to be an exciting model to turn around failing schools, dramatically improving both academic performance and graduation rates. At the same time, St. Bernard, West Feliciana and Ascension parishes are examples of high-performing, traditional districts that are making a real difference for our children and serving to fuel population growth within their boundaries. These schools are tailored to fit the needs of their communities and ensure that every child has a fair shot to succeed.

In addition, Gov.-elect Edwards knows that while 100 percent high school graduation rates remain our goal, the real prize is not only getting our students in college, but through college, and ready for the workforce. I look forward to working with him and thousands of education reformers and activists, teachers and parents, and the business community as we continue the fight to put students first in schools of excellence that build strength of mind and character.

As this new and exciting term begins, let’s put the charter vs. traditional vs. voucher battles behind us and seek common ground so that all of our children can succeed. I believe Gov.-elect Edwards shares this vision to move all Louisiana schools toward excellence and to provide real and lasting opportunity for every child in every community across Louisiana.

Mary L. Landrieu

former U.S. senator

New Orleans