We’re very grateful for our educators

This week within our pages, we have a story about South Lafourche High School — one of the best schools in the state of Louisiana, according to several metrics handed out by the state.

We’ve also in the past several months chronicled the successes of the Lafourche and Terrebonne Parish School Districts.

Last fall, Lafourche was rated as one of the most competitive school districts in the state — a huge honor for a school district that has enjoyed great success under outgoing Superintendent Jo Ann Matthews and which continues to push forward under new Superintendent Louis Voiron.

Terrebonne trails their sister parish a little in the rankings, but progress has undoubtedly been made over the last several years to boost struggling schools and to continue excellence at others. We have no doubt that continued progress will follow and Terrebonne will continue to climb the rankings in the near future.

The progression of our local school districts comes at a critical time for education in our state — a time where upcoming decisions may greatly shape what happens with the public school system in the state for years to go.

Right now in Baton Rouge, lawmakers are pondering a funding increase that would give teachers in Louisiana a $1,000 per year raise — a small boost to teacher salaries in Louisiana which are mostly not competitive with the rest of the country and are near the bottom-half of national averages. The raise is mostly bipartisan and is supported by both sides.

There are also plans to try and give a $39 million increase in statewide funding to K-12 schools in the state, though that plan is receiving a little pushback and, as they often say in politics, negotiations are ongoing.

We, at The Times, rarely offer endorsements for political candidates or measures.

And we will continue to keep true to that policy on this issue with a small caveat.

Regardless of whether lawmakers give funding to K-12 schools in the state or a raise to teachers, we want to say that we are grateful for our educators and hope that they enjoy better appreciation from decision makers in the future.

Teachers are some of the truest heroes in the world.

They educate, mold and help teach right from wrong to the young people in our communities — the people who will soon grow up and enter our workforce and become parents and business owners in our area.

They’re an extension of the family for a child. In some cases, they’re the best role model a child has and it’s their love and support that helps guide many children through difficult life situations at home.

It’s a thankless profession that often gets forgotten.

Pay for the job is not great, and the profession has gotten on even shakier ground in recent years in Lafourche and Terrebonne as sales tax collections have dropped.

But those in the profession deserve better.

And we, as a community and state, deserve better, as well.

Investing in education is an investment in every, single person in a community.

It’s a realm of society that affects literally everyone — no matter race, gender or economic status.

Right now, our state ranks near the bottom in national educational rankings and part of the reason we’re losing that battle is because some of our most talented and brightest minds are leaving us to work in other states.

That cannot keep happening — not for our future sustainability as a state.

So to lawmakers, our challenge is clear. Find a solution. There has to be a better way. What we’re doing now isn’t working.

To our local educators, we say thank you. Your work is not forgotten, nor unappreciated.

We hope soon, you’ll be better rewarded for that work in helping our children. •