From WSJ...Mr. Jindal wants to create America's largest school voucher program, broadest parental choice system, and toughest teacher accountability regime......Louisiana is already one of 12 states (including Washington, D.C.) that offer school vouchers, but its program benefits fewer than 2,000 students in New Orleans. Governor Jindal would extend eligibility to any low-income student whose school gets a C, D or F grade from state administrators. That's almost 400,000 students—a bit more than half the statewide population—who could escape failing schools for private or virtual schools, career-based programs or institutions of higher education......Funding...would come from what the state already spends on public education per capita. So every student leaving a failing school would take about $8,500 (on average) with him, hitting the bureaucracy where it hurts. This is called competition, that crucial quality missing where monopolies reign.......Post-Katrina New Orleans is already the nation's leading charter-school zone, with 80% of city students enrolled, academic performance improving dramatically, and plans to go all-charter by 2013.To spread the model statewide, the Governor would create new regional boards for authorizing charters and offer fast-track authorization to high-performing operators such as KIPP. He'd also give charters the same access to public facilities as traditional public schools.As for tenure, Mr. Jindal would grant it only to teachers who are rated "highly effective" five years in a row, meaning the top 10% of performers. And tenure wouldn't equal lifetime protection: A tenured teacher who rates in the bottom 10% ("ineffective") in any year would return to probationary status. Ineffective teachers would receive no pay raise. Louisiana would also ban the "last in, first out" practice under which younger teachers are dismissed first, regardless of performance.No points for guessing where the teachers unions stand on all this. The real problem is that "the revenue base is inadequate," says Steve Monaghan of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers—though spending doesn't correlate with academic improvement, and in any case Mr. Jindal has increased education spending by 10% since 2008.At least Mr. Monaghan is guilty only of ignoring evidence. Louisiana Association of Educators leader Michael Walker Jones took to insulting Bayou State parents: "If I'm a parent in poverty I have no clue because I'm trying to struggle and live day to day," said Mr. Jones of parental choice. How's that for faith in self-government?Louisiana used to be one of America's most ill-governed states, but Mr. Jindal pushed major economic and ethics reforms in his first term and is now starting his second with his education moon shot. It would be one giant leap for Louisiana students.----------Great for kids, good for good teachers, bad for bad teachers and unions. New Orleans seems to be working well, it will be fascinating to see this ramp up state wide. If that works, look out.I have been a proponent of major changes in tenure. My idea was "five-ure" (pun, not stupid)...if you meet some qualification, we can get a 5 year contract, but not lifetime guarantee. Must qualify every 5 years. If it exists, it must be merit based and not permanent. I could live with his idea too.Congrats kids of Louisiana, hope it passes!
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