Thursday, January 29, 2009

LFT President calls for bolder, broader approach to education

This is a condensed version of LFT President Steve Monaghan's most recent LeaderLetter. To read the whole document, please click here.

On December 19, 2008, in anticipation of the daunting fiscal challenges before us, I wrote to Governor Jindal to share the Federation’s grave concerns and to urge that he embrace a bolder, broader vision for the education of all children...

I explained that a bolder, broader vision and approach to public education would compel all stake-holders to work together to secure the funding necessary to deliver that which is eloquently and nobly promoted in the Preamble of Article 8 of the Louisiana State Constitution: “The goal of the public education system is to provide learning environments and experiences, at all stages of human development, that are humane, just, and designed to promote excellence in order that every individual may be afforded an equal opportunity to develop to his full potential.”

As I shared with our governor and I am confident that you will agree: We certainly have not delivered on the promise of our constitution. And, until we do, we should examine every tax break, deduction, exemption, and abatement through an educational prism. We should ask how much each will cost the children of our state in lost opportunity? How much will lost revenues cost all of us in quality of life?

Finally, I concluded my communication to our governor with a critical question that we must ask until it is answered. What would it really cost to provide what Superintendent Pastorek has referred to as a “world-class education?” Until we ascertain that cost, we’ll continue to provide something far less than a world class educational opportunity to most of Louisiana’s children.

In March, Governor Jindal will release his executive budget. It will signal a direction and suggest a vision. On April 27, 2009, a forty-five day legislative fiscal session begins, and so will our fight will be to either support a bolder, broader vision or to present one.

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