Viewpoint: February 18, 2009

There's been a lot of controversy and spirited discussion lately regarding the state takeover of failing schools. Now, Governor Bobby Jindal is releasing details on his own education reform plan. It's being called an overhaul of the entire education system, and focuses on discipline, charter schools, and teacher effectiveness through testing. These proposed reform measures address real problems in our education system and deserve serious discussion.

We believe Governor Jindal and the legislature, working together, can make changes. Number one on the governor's list is discipline. Strong measures are being proposed for the removal of unruly students from classrooms. Teachers will be given more authority. Proposed legislation would require schools to contact parents each time a student is removed from class. Parents would also be required to attend after school and Saturday intervention programs with their child. The courts could impose fines for parents who fail to comply. Parents could also be held accountable for their truant children. Fines, even jail time, could be imposed.

Some of these proposals may go too far, but the goal is accountability and more parental involvement. Charting a new course for our education system won't be easy. We predict a tough road for this session, but it's one we must travel for the future education of our children.