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According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NEAP), which tracks the test scores of 4th through 8th graders across the country, Louisiana ranks 49th with only 18% of these students considered proficient in reading and math. This fact is particularly troubling since state and local governments spend nearly $12,000 per student per year on what can only be called a failed system.
Now, building on the tremendous success of post-Katrina charter school legislation in New Orleans, Governor Jindal wants to expand school choice programs to the entire state, allowing for an innovative free-market approach to education reform.
To help him pass this massive education overhaul, FreedomWorks kicked off our campaign yesterday with a conference call for local activists. We discussed Governor Jindal’s reform package and the grassroots strategies we believe will be most effective in passing this much-needed reform.
Standing in our way are countless special interests including teachers’ unions and the education establishment, which will stop at nothing to protect their control over parents and students. In order to win, we must make sure Louisiana lawmakers hear our message and realize their constituents are serious about achieving reform.
Please take a moment to review the reform package proposed by Governor Jindal:
• Rep. Pugh (R-Ponchatoula) has filed House Bill 292, which will place school board term limits as an option for voters on local ballots across the state in the November 2012 elections.
• Rep. Carter (R-Baton Rouge) has filed House Bill 632, which would repeal tenure reform for all new teachers beginning July 1, 2012.
• Rep. Henry (R-Metairie) has filed House Bill 716, which would repeal tenure for all new school bus drivers beginning July 1, 2012.
• Rep. Carter (R-Baton Rouge) and Sen. Appel (R-Metairie) have filed House Bill 933 and Senate Bill 581 respectively, which both outline a framework for a single coordinated early childhood education system with accountability for academic outcomes.
• Rep. Talbot (R-River Ridge) has filed House Bill 969, which authorizes a tax rebate for individuals and corporations who makes donations to organizations that provide scholarships.
• Rep. Carter (R-Baton Rouge) and Sen. Appel (R-Metairie) have filed House Bill 974 and Senate Bill 603 respectively, which both link teacher tenure to performance, make effectiveness the primary criterion for personnel decisions, and grant authority for hiring and placement of personnel to school superintendents.
• Rep. Carter (R-Baton Rouge) and Sen. Appel (R-Metairie) have filed House Bill 976 and Senate Bill 597 respectively, which expand school choice, including the scholarship program, pathways for charter schools, the providers who can offer courses to K12 students, and a “parent trigger” for failing schools.
• Senator Donahue (R-Covington) has filed Senate Bill 413, which will remove the remaining obstacles to privatization of school food services
If you would like to help pass these reforms, would like to request materials or host an event please contact FreedomWorks Southeast Regional Director Allen Page at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 336-213-1167.