Education battle continues

Monday, March 19, 2012 - 6:43pm

BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — "The governor's plan is definitely a big government, top down Baton Rouge takeover," says Rep. John Bel Edwards of Amite.

Representative John Bel Edwards of Amite is furious about two Governor Jindal backed proposals. The first is a voucher program that would allow low-income students from underperforming public schools to transfer to private schools. A move Bel Edwards says is against Louisiana law.

"Under the Baton Rouge Bobby knows best approach those dollars will instead fund private and parochial schools that may not even be located in the school district and the parishes they were collected," says Bel Edwards.

Superintendent of Education John White disagrees. He feels that parents know best and they should get to decide where to send their kids to school.

"Families and taxpayers, they have not gotten what they want from government, So who is government to say that we should still determine where they send their taxpayer dollars to educate their children. That makes no sense," says White.

The second makes it more difficult for teachers to get and keep tenure. White says this way the best teachers are rewarded for doing a great job.

It's disrespectul to teachers that go above and beyond to say well we're all just satisfactory. We're all just tenured. Let's create a system where tenure is truly a reward for the highest level of performance," says White.

Right now 98 percent of Louisiana teachers are rated as satisfactory and receive tenure after just three years. Bel Edwards though says that teacher tenure needs to be protected.

But despite their differences, the two do agree on one thing.

"The most critical ingredient to a quality education is having a highly qualified teacher in the classroom." says Bel Edwards.

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