A promise made should be a promise kept. We should do everything in our power to keep our promises and that includes educator retirement plans.
While I understand that the majority of defined benefit plans have been replaced with defined contribution plans in this country, I think it's unfair to change systems mid-stream. Anyone already enrolled in a defined benefit plan should be able to stay with that plan. 401k-type plans are probably inevitable in the future, but let's make the transition for new educators, not current ones.
Our schools should have local control. While the majority of the parents and educators are fine with the idea of the state and the federal government providing "best practices", curriculum guides, and the like, they want, as do I, local school authority. Our teachers are professionals that make learning happen and they should have enough autonomy to exercise their skills.
Currently, one charter school is planned for the area and that is for the children whose parents are service members at BAFB. These types of schools, along with voucher programs, need to have measures in place to make sure that they don't place an undue burden on the traditional public school system. Obviously, each student has different needs and therefore require different amounts of investment. That fact, along with the requirement for certain educational standards, needs to be factored into the calculation.
I support the students, their parents, and their educators. I believe that decisions need to be pushed down to the lowest level - to the people closest to the students.
To improve our public school system, I defer largely to the educators. I've already heard that there is too much testing. It's also been said that administrators don't have the authority they need to make effective changes. The suggestion for a system to account for socio-economic differences in the individual school populations, when grading school performance, has also been mentioned. And finally, I've been told that teachers often are constrained from teaching in the ways that produce the best results.
I believe the goal of government should be to provide the best environment possible, with the least interference, to support the teachers as they do the work in the trenches, with an educated and discerning student as the end result.
All parents, educators, administrators, and concerned citizens are encouraged to provide input towards the goal of producing the best education, in the most efficient manner possible. I value the experts.
There is no doubt that parents love Bossier Parish schools. The fact that there is only one private school, and it a Christian one, says volumes about local public education. Could we do better? Certainly - if we were allowed more autonomy. We have many gifted teachers in our schools. If we can free them up to teach in the ways that they know work best, we can better help children reach their potential.
School Choice - What does it mean?
Parents are charged with raising their children and that involves making choices in their best interest. With education, to the extent possible, people already do this by moving to the best school district when relocating. Moving though, is a very expensive and disruptive endeavor. There are several possible ways to make changing schools possible without finding a new home.
"Charter schools are independent public schools that are free to be more innovative and are held accountable for improved student achievement." (https://www.louisianabelieves.com/schools/charter-schools)
The key, of course, is in the details describing "free to be more innovative" and "accountable for improved student achievement". Since they are public schools, they must be fairly funded and graded to ensure the remainder of the public school system is not penalized.
The Louisiana Scholarship Program is an example of a "voucher" system.
"The Louisiana Scholarship Program empowers low-income families to access the same opportunities that more affluent families already have by providing them with the financial resources to send their children to the schools of their choice." (https://www.louisianabelieves.com/schools/louisiana-scholarship-program)
Vouchers come with expectations and conditions. In other words they have "strings attached", which makes that revenue stream unattractive to many private schools. Such is to be expected when accepting taxpayer monies.