Baton Rouge, La (NBC33) — Today, Governor Bobby Jindal met with the BESE board in Baton Rouge as part of his push to make education reform in Louisiana a top priority in his second term.
The governor says this is the first in a series of year-long meetings to talk about improving the state's education system.
“We must make sure that parents of children trapped in failing schools have more choices more options available to them,” said Jindal. “We've made progress through charter schools, and there are other steps to make sure our children have a full array of choice and options.”
Jindal made this a priority after letter grades and dropout rates were released for each parish in the state in October.
The letter grades were released by the Board of Education, and showed close to half of the state's public schools failing.
The Department of Education says the letter grade is an average for the parish. They say it makes things easier for parents and teachers to understand how their school is doing. The grades are based on quality of education and attendance.
Both BESE President Penny Dastogue and the Superintendent of the Recovery School District, John White, said the six new members on the BESE board - and the five still serving - have a big job ahead of them.
“You're going to see more frequent raising of standards and expectations,” said Dastogue. “You're going to see assistance as education dollars and state dollars are being spent in the most efficient way for children . You're going to see acceleration and a sense of urgency around reform.”
“I think it's a difficult thing to change school outcomes for kids, but it's the most important possible thing we can be doing,” stated White. “We have to know our communities (and) our schools are entirely dedicated to making sure it can happen.”
Board members and Governor Jindal tell NBC33 News they're working to put the best teachers in the classroom, and make it easier for schools to spend money effectively.