Editorial Roundup

Jam-packed election causing new snags
September 9, 2014
Pro-gay marriage streak broken
September 9, 2014
Jam-packed election causing new snags
September 9, 2014
Pro-gay marriage streak broken
September 9, 2014

Recent editorials from Louisiana newspapers:

Times-Picayune, New Orleans, on Common Core:

Gov. Bobby Jindal is willing to spend $275,000 of Louisiana taxpayers’ money – maybe more – to try to keep students here from being compared academically to children in other states. He is wasting the public’s money. His fight against Common Core academic standards is irresponsible and unlikely to prevail.

A state judge has already ruled against him. Even so, he filed a lawsuit Aug. 27 against the Obama administration – which didn’t create Common Core but is providing some funding for it.

Ironically, Gov. Jindal’s office claims that the legal fees could be saved if only the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education would agree to ditch Common Core.

BESE is right to stick with the new standards and the multi-state test that is aligned with them. Louisiana should set high expectations for students and prepare young people to compete for good jobs and colleges.

It is BESE that has the authority under the Louisiana Constitution to set education policy and carry it out. Gov. Jindal is the one who is interfering.

The governor is putting at risk millions of dollars the state and school systems have already spent on developing and implementing Common Core – which he used to support.

Gov. Jindal signed the memorandum of understanding in 2010 for Louisiana to take part in creating the Common Core academic standards in English and math and a multistate test to measure student achievement. His administration pushed in 2012 for legislation to strengthen the state’s commitment to the new standards.

Now Gov. Jindal claims the Obama administration is interfering with the state’s authority over education.

Common Core grew out of an initiative by the National Governor’s Association. Louisiana teachers and education officials worked with representatives from other states to create the standards and test questions.

Gov. Jindal was in full support of that effort until some conservative political groups that he needs to further his national ambitions started fighting Common Core.

Unfortunately for Louisiana residents, he is going to spend a lot of their money to be told “no” by another judge.

American Press, Lake Charles, Louisiana, on salt caverns:

Louisiana Conservation Commissioner James Welsh wisely ordered Texas Brine Co. to stop production at a second salt dome cavern near the underground cavity that failed two years ago and spawned the sinkhole that has driven hundreds of people from their property. The action was prompted by increasing tremors at the Bayou Corne sinkhole, known as Oxy Geismar 2.

Safety should always be the main concern when working on such complex and potentially hazardous projects.

The cavern under the microscope is a little more than the length of football field away from another cavity that Texas Brine mined until a breach in the supporting salt wall set off the underground shifting that eventually led to the sinkhole in August 2012.

Patrick Courreges, a spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources, which oversees the Office of Conservation, said the order is not an indication that regulators think there is a problem, but that they want to be sure of the cavern’s integrity and the integrity of surrounding salt.

Sonny Cranch, spokesman for Texas Brine, said the company is prepared to comply with the order “as we have with all previous orders.”

The conservation statement said seismic activity was recorded in what appears to be the eastern salt wall of the failed Oxy Geismar 3, as that cavern is called. Scientists believe the cavern was mined too closely to the salt dome’s outer face, leading to the breach and the filling of the cavern with surrounding sediment and rock. That movement of rock sparked the sinkhole.

The cavern drawing new concerns, Oxy Geismar 2, is due east of the failed cavern and farther from the small Bayou Corne community, which has now been largely displaced. Still, this cavern is near enough to the dome’s outer face to require extra scrutiny under new state rules prompted by the sinkhole.

In general, officials have been optimistic about the sinkhole recently, saying they are seeing increasing stabilization. But tremors under the sinkhole rose last week, though they subsided by the weekend, parish officials have said.

It is reassuring to know that state inspectors are keeping a close eye on such projects.

News-Star, Monroe, Louisiana, onTheBestSchools.org:

TheBestSchools.org – an independent online resource for campus and online education – has ranked the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s online master’s degree in educational leadership as one of the top programs in the nation.

The organization said its ranking was based on overall quality, reputation, affordable cost, program availability, faculty credentials, graduation rate, student-to-teacher ratio, student and faculty support, technical support, as well as available financial aid, grants and scholarships.

The online master’s in educational leadership at ULM was recognized as number 21 on the list and was the only school in Louisiana to be ranked.

According to the site, the online master in educational leadership program features many highlights not found in other similar programs, including an extended internship requirement, teacher leader endorsements after the completion of a certain percentage of the degree, one-on-one mentoring and a hands-on approach to learning.

Online learning continues to grow in importance as busy people in the workforce find they have to learn new skills but find it difficult, if not impossible, to squeeze traditional on-campus classes into their schedule. ULM’s online master’s degree in educational leadership is offered through the online platform, eULM, which serves as a specialized unit geared toward online and distance learning.

ULM offers 15 bachelor degrees through eULM, as well as 15 different master’s programs. The university has recognized the need to extend its reach to nontraditional students in nontraditional ways, and TheBestSchools.org recognition is one indication that ULM is ahead of the state’s other universities in assuring its online offerings exceed expectations.

“It’s always gratifying to be recognized,” said Sandra Lemoine, dean of the College of Arts, Education and Sciences. “Our college and the School of Education have excellent programs, both online and face-to-face. Our outstanding faculty continuously work to provide students with the experience, knowledge and education they need in their careers.”

ULM should be congratulated for its recognition, knowing that the community is being well served, employers are being well served and the investment of students’ time and money is well worth it.