Louisiana Public Square: Education Reform 2012

Airs Friday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m.  What will the changes to the state’s education system mean for Louisiana’s public schools? Much of Governor Jindal’s education reform package has passed this legislative session, including creating America’s largest school voucher program, tying teacher pay to test scores and granting more authority to principals and superintendents. While debate still continues on some proposals, Louisiana Public Square takes time to explore what the changes mean for parents, students, teachers and taxpayers on its April edition, Education Reform 2012.

At the opening of the 2012 Louisiana legislative session, Governor Jindal, said to compete in today’s global economy, “starts with a great education.” While acknowledging “unprecedented academic growth over the last decade,” the Louisiana Department of Education notes that 44% of public schools have grades of ‘D” or “F” which means that up to two-thirds of students at those schools are below grade level. In the state’s three largest cities - Baton Rouge, Shreveport and New Orleans - nearly one-half of students are below grade level. To address these shortcomings, Governor Jindal introduced a very aggressive education reform agenda including major changes to teacher’s tenure and compensation plus an expansion of Louisiana’s school choice program.

Panelists include:

- Penny Dastugue, President of the Louisiana Board of
   Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE)
- Dr. Robert Webber, Superintendent of the
   Ouachita Parish School System
- Barry Erwin, President of the Council
   for a Better Louisiana (CABL)
- Debra Vaughan, Assistant Director of Research
   for The Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives