Viewpoint: March 14, 2012

As you've no doubt seen in our newscasts the last few days, a proposed major overhaul of Louisiana's education system by Gov. Bobby Jindal is stirring up plenty of controversy.

The closure of several school systems today (March 14) so teachers could rally in opposition at the Capitol has only fueled the fire. While opinions will remain strong and varied in the coming days, we think there is one proposal we can all rally around.

State treasurer John Kennedy recently issued a challenge to the legislature, all statewide elected officials and members of BESE to serve a full day as a substitute teacher in a public school. Mr. Kennedy believes it's important that elected officials understand what a real day in the life of a public school is like, as they move forward in crafting reforms.

We certainly hope that our elected officials have spent time in their area schools visiting with students or teachers, getting a first-hand look at the challenges. While we support Mr. Kennedy's challenge, this is not to say that our legislators should stop the reform process.

More than 40 percent of Louisiana public schools got a 'D' or 'F' grade last year. We cannot stick with the status quo. Education reform in some form or fashion must happen. But, it will be a tough process. Let's make sure all involved parties are heard and the focus stays on our children as the debate begins.