[StBernard] Reform School on the Bayou
westley at da-parish.com
Mon Apr 16 09:25:53 EDT 2012
Reform School on the Bayou
Wall Street Journal
"Governors of both parties have promoted education reform, but so far no one
has delivered more than Louisiana's Bobby Jindal.
Louisiana's new laws will essentially give all parents an average of $8,500
to use for their child's education as they see fit. They can keep their
child in their local public school, but they can also try to get Johnny into
a more demanding charter school, or a virtual school, or into special
language or career-training courses, among other options.
Louisiana is also making life easier for charter schools, with new
authorizing boards, a fast-track for high-performing networks, and access to
facilities equal to that of traditional public schools. The new laws seek to
strengthen superintendents and principals over local school boards, which
are bastions of bureaucratic and union intransigence.
Nearly as dramatic are reforms in teacher tenure. To earn tenure, teachers
will now have to rate in the top 10% (measured in part by student
performance) for five of six consecutive years, and any teacher who falls
into the bottom 10% loses tenure. No teacher in the bottom 10% can get a
raise, while layoffs will no longer hit the junior-most teachers first while
Mr. Jindal joins Indiana's Mitch Daniels in passing the most far-reaching
school reforms, and now they'll have to follow through to produce better
student outcomes. Unions will seize on any troubles as a sign of failure,
but success might catalyze similar reforms across the country that could
finally improve the life prospects for all American children."
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