With the help of Lafayette Parish School Superintendent Pat Cooper, our community has embraced a powerful new vision for public education. The challenge of educating every child from prekindergarten through graduation while building a Class A school system for the community in just six years is a very bold move. But it is attainable.
However, that requires cooperation from our School Board members as well. A comprehensive turnaround plan was passed by the board two years ago, and this board and our superintendent have never met as a team to work through the issues of how the plan was going to be implemented.
Instead, all we keep getting are disagreements and arguments, and still to this day, there is no unity between the board and the superintendent and no common goal.
At the end of the special board meeting held Feb. 27 regarding the budget for 2015-18 school years, (Mark) Babineaux, board member, suggested that the board should consider doing away with the turnaround plan completely. Before the board makes the decision to completely pull out of the turnaround plan altogether, it has a responsibility and an obligation to the students, and all who work for the school system and this community to meet with our superintendent to discuss the goals for our school system before voting on a budget.
The board needs to tell us why it feels that the school system should pull out of the plan completely. What programs will be pulled and how will this affect our students and schools? What services for students will be affected? Does this board even know if the programs are working or failing? What do teachers, administrators, students and parents who will be affected by this action think of the decision the board is considering? Do they even know what this board has planned? More importantly, what does this board plan to put in place when it removes the programs of the turnaround plan? How will it continue to help further education especially for failing students and schools? Principals have spoken about the progress their failing schools were making since the turnaround plan was implemented. Before any decisions are made regarding pulling out of the turnaround plan, this board and superintendent need to be on the same page regarding where we all want our school system to be in the future.