We The People

    We The People, We Got Work To Do

With the people, for the people, by the people. I crack up when I hear it; I say with the handful, for the handful, by the handful, cause that’s what really happens

                               -Fannie Lou Hamer

This past weekend, voters in the great state of Louisiana went to the polls to choose from several candidates vying for city, parish and statewide political seats in various runoff elections. The race for governor attracted the most attention, pitting Republican Senator Republican David Vitter against the Democratic Louisiana House Minority Leader John Bel Edwards. 

Edwards beat out Senator Vitter to become our state’s new governor elect. 

On Monday, Edwards addressed the Louisiana Federation of Teachers at its annual convention. He said that one of the reasons he entered into the race was to improve education and that he would neither ban vouchers nor close charter schools. He spoke of asking for greater accountability from charter schools, allowing school boards in districts that are not failing to decide on charters themselves and wanting the voucher system to be used only by low-income students in failing schools. He ended by saying the biggest difference would be teachers having greater access to the governor and an open dialogue on what changes are needed and how they would be made.

“You’re going to have a partner in the Governor’s office,” Edwards said.

So the stage is set, the players have been chosen and come January we will have a new administration. Edwards also spared no time in announcing his transition team and chief of staff, State Senator Ben Nevers.

Nevers was a local school board member in Bogalusa. He is also chairman of the Senate Committee on Education and has served on many education committees. 

It seems as if Edwards is making some progressive moves and keen on moving education forward, but as active and engaged parents and citizens of this state, we can’t leave the continuing of this momentum to chance.

These actions are good, but the work has yet to begun. We have to make absolutely sure that Edwards and his staff know what we want for our children. I’ve listed a few things to consider.

I encourage our new governor to invite engaged parents and community leaders to the table to discuss the needs of our children on a personal level.

I hope Edwards realizes that our great local school districts are unique in their makeup and should not be treated with a cookie-cutter approach.

The governor should explore the importance of STEM education to move our children into careers that help create a better world. 

He should broaden vocational education to more high-school students and young adults. This shouldn’t be hard given that his chief of staff is a graduate of Louisiana Technical College.

Finally, we as parents, taxpayers and residents of this state must recognize that the strengthening of our educational foundation is the key to raising the quality of life in Louisiana.

Governor Edwards, we look forward to working alongside you to advance our needs. However, we will be diligent in making sure you keep up your end of the bargain.

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