Four years ago, I proclaimed that “Our New Louisiana will be a magnet for the dreamers, the risk-takers, the adventurers, and the leaders of America’s new economy.” I also said that “the New Louisiana will give our citizens the opportunities they deserve.” At the time there were many cynics, but here we are today, and by all of us working together, Louisiana dreams are becoming reality.
The cynics said Louisiana couldn’t shake our reputation for corruption, create jobs in the middle of a national recession, or attract new business to our state. They said we couldn’t reverse the out-migration of our people or cut the size of government while improving services. But together, we have done all these things, and more.
I could go on boasting about all the progress Louisianians have made, but I won’t, because all of that was yesterday. We will not stand still or rest on our laurels n our mission is not accomplished.
As long as there are hard working Louisianians who don’t have jobs, small business people struggling to pay rent, Louisianians in other states who want to come home, but can’t find work here, waste and inefficiency in government, or children who aren’t receiving a quality education n our mission is not accomplished.
Ensuring our kids receive a quality education is especially important, and it will be our top priority over the next term. In America, equal opportunity in education is a core underlying value we all share, but every child does not receive that opportunity today. For our country to continue to lead the world, we can and must right this wrong. We all need to check our party affiliations, ideologies, and political agendas at the door when it comes to improving our schools.
Many families can ensure their kids get a good education by moving to an area with good public schools, or sending their kids to highly functioning non public schools. However, many children do not have the same opportunity.
Too many families cannot afford to move and are unable to pay for private school. This is an untenable situation.
Every kid has a right to a quality education from an excellent teacher, and by getting a good education, kids then do have the opportunity to pursue their dreams. The key to reforming education is not massive spending and tax increases. Throwing more money at the problem has proven to be a failure.
The way forward is clear n it is to provide more choices and more opportunities for parents, families, and children. Anyone who stands in the way of providing real opportunities to our kids or in the way of giving our parents and our children more choices when it comes to education must now stand down.
Kids only grow up once, and waiting for the system to reform itself isn’t an option. It’s time to act. When we reform our education system, Louisiana will become an even better place to start or move a business, and our economic outlook will improve even more.
Over the past six years, we have been on a journey that has shown the strength of Louisianians. No state has faced what we have faced or overcome what we have overcome. Through it all, Louisianians have managed not only to survive, but to actually thrive. Make no mistake though, survival is not our goal. We plan to do much more than survive.
Our plan for the next four years is very simple. We plan to compete with every state and every country to make Louisiana the best place in the world to raise a family and find a good-paying job. And we plan to not simply compete, but we plan to win.