Letter: ‘Cold feet’ hindering efforts to improve education in La.

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s freeze to link teacher evaluations to student achievement growth is frankly disheartening. With such progress in education reform, despite the pushback from teachers and two of the largest teacher unions, cold feet is putting a halt to education reform.

While complaints about the state’s adoption of Common Core’s tougher academic standards resonate through schools all across Louisiana, policy initiatives should not be placed on hold. The need for further action is urgent. Tomorrow may be too late.

Inaccurately evaluating teachers as Common Core standards are implemented is lowering the bar for a state that already has fallen through the cracks too many times. By lowering the bar we are saying, “We can’t” when we should be saying, “Yes, we can.” With Jindal putting the policy on hold until after he is out of office, we are taking a major risk.

Depending on who goes into office after Jindal, laws may change. The reality is, that we are taking two steps back after Louisiana has been nationally recognized for its trailblazing efforts in education reform.

The state of Louisiana must keep persevering in its efforts to put our students first. Setting a high bar for teaching quality and giving educators increased feedback and room to improve is necessary. Implementing Common Core alone, without holding our educators responsible for how they are impacting our children’s learning is simply irresponsible.

It is our responsibility to hold our state accountable for the evaluation of teachers.

As Common Core is implemented, teacher evaluations should be taken even more seriously. Our children deserve better. Their future is at stake.

Transformational change in our education system requires a coalition of parents, legislators, and teachers. Parents should be informed if their child is placed in a classroom with an ineffective teacher, especially as tougher academic standards are implemented.

As a former educator who worked in one of Louisiana’s lowest-performing schools and a strong advocate for educational equity, I am truly disappointed in Jindal’s decision to sideline such a crucial step in making great strides for education. The fight for educational equity is urgent and a halt in our efforts is not the answer.

Laura Sandoval

former teacher, graduate student

St. Louis, Mo.