Our View: Will reform address real problems?

The Louisiana state Senate is expected to begin reviewing education reform legislation next week that passed the state House of Representatives last week with a bipartisan 64-43 vote.

It is a measure some elected officials and local teachers complained was simply a rubber stamp of Gov. Jindal’s desires without critical examination of content.

It is no surprise that tough sounding policy designed to appease public demand lacks details on measuring teacher performance, preventing misuse of tenure and promising better learning environments for students at taxpayer expense.

After all, look at standardized testing. Because of government regulations, that links financial reward to grades, teachers are compelled to stuff young minds full of pre-approved material so it might be regurgitated on demand.

In the meantime, statistical evidence and educator statements reveal that public school students are not learning meaningful lessons that will remain with them for life.

Education reform cannot be realized if methods of instructing classes and policies for motivating teachers are based on outdated procedures.

Stating that a return to the way it used to be is simplistic and as irritating as the squeak of broken chalk on slate.

Touting technology as the ultimate answer is inappropriate without meaningful applications.

Throwing money at the problem has been proven to never work, and multiple forms of standardized testing only benefit those looking for a way to shuffle statistics so as to offer the best picture possible.

Genuine education reforms come with customized curriculums and learning, with both teachers and students being held accountable in the process.

This begins with instructors teaching along their core competencies. It involves capturing the attention of students and making learning something they can apply from the youngest age.

The investment grows as students are taught with real-life career objectives in mind.

Results should be measured by graduation rates and students being adequately prepared to advance from secondary levels and enter college, specialized trade schools or even apprenticeships.

We agree with the governor, educators and citizens that recognize a need for reforms in public education. We appreciate teachers that genuinely want to open our children’s lives to the experience of learning. We support weeding out long-term educators that have settled into comfortable career complacency and no longer challenge themselves professionally to benefit young members of society.

We encourage the state Senate to critically examine education reform, call on current administrators and teachers for input, and draft meaningful policies that will move Louisiana from the bottom of national education lists to being an innovator in learning with a purpose.