The unprecedented flooding that recently inundated Louisiana was devastating. We appreciate the swift response of Governor Edwards and his administration to the crisis, understanding that there is no way to completely satisfy the widespread loss incurred by so many.
Thousands of families have lost their homes, including many of the teachers, school support professionals, and administrators who dedicate their lives to our students.
We are shocked by the magnitude of the damage sustained to Louisiana’s classrooms. Some of the schools in our districts are damaged beyond repair; others need extensive renovation.
Thousands of students were displaced by the aftermath, leaving education leaders across South Louisiana with very little time and limited options to accommodate the tremendous need for safe learning facilities. Questions still linger surrounding how to best serve those who attend school in the impacted areas.
We are confident in knowing that whatever the challenges may be, Louisiana’s communities will meet them. The LAE and the LFT are determined to restore Louisiana’s Constitutional obligation to provide every child with the public education they deserve.
We urge Governor Edwards, members of the Louisiana Legislature, and our congressional leaders to do everything in their power to provide the resources needed to rebuild the traditional public schools impacted by this disaster. We ask our community organizations, our churches, and our charities to assess the needs of our schools and assist local education leaders as they return students to their classrooms.
We call upon parents to be patient as our school districts rebuild; we ask them to remain confident that their children are our number one concern.
We urge all of our leaders to remain focused on restoring Louisiana’s public school system, and to stand wary of any attempts by outsiders to take advantage of our current situation. We cannot risk handing over locally controlled schools to private entities looking to cash in on this unfortunate event. More than ever, Louisiana’s public schools need access to the resources they were promised. We can’t afford to lose any funds to groups who tout quick solutions to this crisis. Our school boards, parents, and communities know what’s best for the children of their districts, and are fully capable of determining the most appropriate next steps.
We must make the right choices as we rebuild our communities. We can get it right and emerge stronger than before. As sincere stakeholders in our public education system’s well-being, we pledge to do everything in our power to build a clear path to educational excellence for the children of Louisiana.
Debbie Meaux, President Louisiana Association of Educators
Larry Carter, Interim President, Louisiana Federation of Teachers