Lawmakers Pass Two Bills Improving Education for Louisiana Schoolchildren
Last week, Louisiana took bold steps to improve the quality of education for their schoolchildren, while paving the way for future achievement. Two controversial bills were passed by a wide margin in the Louisiana legislature, HB 974 and HB 976, and are now heading to the desk of Governor Bobby Jindal to be signed into law.
The passage of HB 974 (by a vote of 60-43-2) and HB 976 (by a vote of 60-43-2) mark a great victory for Louisiana’s low and middle class families and schoolchildren, many of whom have been stuck in struggling schools. Louisiana has been ranked 49th in education performance according to the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Report Card on American Education, while spending more than $11,000 per pupil annually.
HB 974 rewards Louisiana teachers and school leaders with tenure and financial incentives based on their effectiveness in the classroom, while freezing the pay of ineffective teachers. Greater decision making power is granted to school superintendents and principals, who have increased flexibility over teacher pay and salary structures, and greater authority over the decisions to hire, fire and place teachers.
HB 976 provides Louisiana’s students and parents with their choice of quality educational options, giving children the opportunity to apply for tuition vouchers, while removing barriers to charter schools. For their support of these bills, special thanks go to Governor Bobby Jindal, Representative Steve Carter, Senator Conrad Appel, and Superintendent of Education John White.
The research shows that school choice and flexibility produce dramatic results for children and families, and we applaud the stand Louisiana has taken to provide their children with the futures they deserve.