Melissa Flournoy’s letter suggesting Louisiana is governed by sound bites and slogans lapses into what she decries when she calls generally for “investments” (translation: spending) to support early childhood outcomes, better schools, decreasing poverty and the usual ills of society that are singled out when calling for improvement of society.
The letter mentions education several times as a means of achieving the desired goal. I don’t disagree with her desire for improvement, but I question the desire to solve the problem by simply spending more money. That’s the time-honored way of fixing problems by politicians. Spend money. If that doesn’t do it, spend more money, on and on and on.
I firmly believe that plans for improving education in this state fail because they focus on the plans themselves and not the root cause of the problem, which is children who aren’t really that interested in learning and parents who don’t instill that interest in them. For many, school is a glorified baby sitter. If I’m correct and that attitude doesn’t change, Louisiana will remain in the education doldrums regardless of what politicians do.
The bons temps rouler outlook on life that exists in our state isn’t conducive to the kind of basic changes called for by the writer. And that’s not likely to change when the ghost of Huey Long still roams the state and the likes of the lionized Edwin Edwards was named as the second-best governor in the past 40 years, only five points behind Gov. Bobby Jindal, in a recent poll conducted for three TV stations.
As long as that outlook prevails, no real basic changes have much chance of success. This state has been like this all my life, which is a long time. If the changes advocated by the writer do come to pass, and I hope they do, I hope they don’t come at the loss of the joie de vivre that I like about this state and which makes it truly unique.