Readers may notice that I often post about what is happening in Louisiana.
There are several reasons for this.
One is that Louisiana is truly an important site for what is now called school reform. It became important after Hurricane Katrina wiped out most of the public school system, and New Orleans became a closely-watched experiment in privatizing public education. Corporate reformers frequently refer to New Orleans as their shining example of the good that will come as a result of getting rid of public education, teachers’ unions, and veteran teachers.
Another reason is that I have amazing contacts in Louisiana. The most important contact is Dr. Lance Hill of the Southern Institute for Education and Research. He sends me the latest studies, reports, and news articles. Hill is a careful researcher, and I frequently rely on him to get the facts right. And experience has proven to me that he is invariably correct in his data and use of data. I want to mention here that Lance Hill was first to spot that 98 percent of the eligible students in Louisiana passed up the chance to apply for a voucher. Lance also has supplied me the data demonstrating that New Orleans is one of the lowest performing districts in the entire state. And one other thing, at a time when the elites of New Orleans are gaga for privatization, Lance knows the other side of the story, the one the national media never reports; he hears those who have been dispossessed and left out. Lance invited me to New Orleans two years ago, and I spoke at Dillard University, where I heard some of those voices. I thank him for his integrity, his moral center, and his commitment to the children of the state. And his friendship.
And last, I have gotten myself on some really terrific email lists in Louisiana. I read Mike Deshotel’s blog Louisiana Educator. I get regular updates from two other lists. And I have friends that I made when I spoke to the Louisiana School Boards Association this past March. I can’t name all my contacts, as some have relatives working in state government and I don’t want to get them fired.
And now I have a number of Louisiana teachers who are regular readers of this blog. I learn from them. They keep me informed. I’ll keep doing what I can to tell the public what is happening in your state. You keep hanging in there, ignoring the insults from the governor and the legislature, and stand by the children.