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While kids in Louisiana continue to suffer through a failed school system that puts the interests of politicians and teachers unions ahead of quality, child-centered education, Governor Bobby Jindal has taken it upon himself to overhaul the broken system. Taking on the establishment is no easy feat, especially when you’re dealing with unions hostile to any and all reform efforts, but Governor Jindal is taking the fight straight to them on this issue. As a result of his determination, his bold reform package is rapidly moving through the Louisiana state legislature.
As the debate rages on in the Capitol, the opponents of educational reform are pulling out the stops. The local teachers union even took a “professional day” off from teaching to protest at the Capitol! With this kind of backlash from the politicians and entrenched teachers unions, it was only a matter of time until one of them went off the handle and showed his true colors.
Yesterday, while debating Jindal’s reform package, Rep. John Bel Edwards called Governor Jindal and other school choice supporters, “Brown shirts.” In other words, Nazis. Looking past the ridiculously offensive nature of his comment, it doesn’t even make sense. How is a governor trying to promote competition and expanded educational options for children a Nazi? Need I remind Rep. Edwards that the Nazi regime called for more centralized government, especially in education?
The Nazis used their school system to spread their hateful ideology. Hitler nationalized education in order to increase his control over the hearts and minds of his people, starting with the youngest and most vulnerable. Governor Jindal’s reforms take a centralized educational system and turn it on its head. By instituting school choice through tax credits, vouchers, and teacher tenure reform, Governor Jindal’s plan is diametrically opposed to the Nazi system of education. Governor Jindal wants to bring competition and accountability to a poorly-performing system that lacks both.
Representative Edwards, teachers unions, and the educational establishment should all be ashamed of the hideous rhetoric they throw at reformers trying to save a failing system. The special interests and their lackeys in office should be focusing on helping the kids, not themselves. Governor Jindal’s common-sense reforms are only bold in the sense that they go against powerful and entrenched interests desperate to preserve a terrible status quo that benefits them. As it stands, the Louisiana school system is broken, and we can’t let our children be held hostage by these interests. While Rep. Edwards and the opponents of educational reform engage in extreme rhetoric and attempt to demonize us, we will continue to fight for the kids on the issue of school choice.