Louisiana is a very strong contender for the worst state in the nation in relation to its treatment of teachers, students, and public schools.

Governor Bobby Jindal has been hailed by rightwing privatizers for his bold plan to dismantle public education. And indeed, his legislation established vouchers, charters, and a punitive regime for teachers. If teachers can’t cause their students to get higher scores year after year, they will be rated ineffective and terminated. This is my personal candidate for the worst state in the nation, but I don’t know the details in every state and there are still more states vying to be even worse than Louisiana. It is just hard to imagine how much worse it can get than Louisiana, where the money for vouchers and charters will come right out of the public school budget and where teachers are treated so shabbily.

Readers write from Louisiana:

Louisiana here. Since the tabula rasa that Katrina offered, New Orleans and now the entire state has been given reform in the way you mention—-more dictatorial than democratic. There seems to be a well organized symphony occurring across the U.S. with ALEC, TFA, DataCorp, PacificMetircs (two data companies with contracts totaling 120+ million dollars), New Teacher Project and Students First (Rhee’s two $ generating non-profits) all playing towards a crescendo where public education is a thing of the past. Additionally, our Gov. Bobby Jindal, has been mixing vindictive style politics into this whole mess by yanking any ‘nea’ votes on his ed reform legislation from committee chairmanships and vice chairmanships as recent as this week.Another reader writes:


It’s tough being a teacher in Louisiana. Public funds for education have been cut while private and charter schools are getting all the funding. Increased pressure on public schools via test scores continues while private schools receive vouchers with no way of knowing if they really provide a better education. Teachers are being evaluated using COMPASS and no one really knows how those scores are computed.To top it all off, we have a Supt. of Education who has no concern for improving failing schools, offers no solutions except moving the students to other schools, and is a lap dog for a Governor who runs the state like a fascist dictator.Another reader writes:

As a parent with sons in public schools, I would love REAL education reform. However, ALEC, through the Jindal administration, rammed vouchers for private schools that teach children with DVD’s, lowered teacher qualification requirements – while maintaining “high expectations” of student performance, all while under the guise of parent choice though they never brought parents to the table to ask what choices they actually want.An obvious set up for failure… what’s going to happen now to our children who already in one of the lowest performing states in the nation?

Another reader writes:

It’s worse than people realize. Most of the true data people are gone or silenced. The longitudinal.database the feds gave Louisiana millions of dollars for has been abandoned and the halls of LDOE are being filled with politicians pulling down exhorbitant salaries as long as they parrot the governors agenda. Who needs data when you just invent your own data to support your agenda as you go along? They also refuse to release data to anyone who won’t write something favorable about them, hiding behind FERPA. They actually discussed that openly while I was there.