Guest column: To improve education, focus on outcomes rather than mandates

Guest column: To improve education, focus on outcomes rather than mandates
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As we approach the 2024 legislative session and consider opportunities for elected officials to improve education for students across the state, the first thing that pops into my mind is “less is more.”

Caroline Roemer

The Legislature should focus less on laws dictating how to educate students and resist the temptation to create more training and curriculum mandates that have nothing to do with the basics of learning and core subjects. Too often, the classroom is used to teach things that are the responsibility of parents, churches and other community organizations. Our teachers and their classrooms should not be expected to cure all that ails our children.

While it is always with good intentions, these mandates are not moving us closer to improving literacy rates. Students must be able to read. A teacher’s job is to teach them how.

Instead of creating more rules, state leaders should focus on the outcomes we want and expect for all students, ensuring that our public schools have the resources to educate students properly. Tell educators the standard, then let teachers, students and parents do their jobs to meet it. Create consequences for those who don’t.

As our state faces budget shortfalls, the governor and legislators must make tough decisions about spending priorities. If increasing the state’s per-student funding isn’t possible, I urge consideration of other long-term solutions that could provide financial relief to school districts — such as pension reform. The current retirement system is an outdated and unsustainable program. According to a 2020 report by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor, Louisiana schools spent just shy of $1 billion on debt payments to their employee pension systems. The state needs to pay off the debt, stop adding people to those systems and give public schools the freedom and flexibility to create fiscally responsible retirement plans that meet the needs of educators.

Again, less is more.

Finally, our leaders must create more jobs to improve Louisiana’s public education. Give our people more opportunities to work, not go to prison. Louisiana is dying! We are one of only seven states with a declining population. Our leaders should focus on solving our quality-of-life problems: the economy, tax structure, health care, crime, the environment and infrastructure. Our schools will only be as strong as the people working in them and the families they serve.

Caroline Roemer is executive director of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools.


About Mary Weyand 12337 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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