By Stacey Tinsley, BIZ. Magazine
The Bossier City Rotary Club heard about the state of education in Louisiana from Louisiana Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley for their weekly meeting on Thursday, January 13.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Brumley gave praise to the education community for the trials that they had to overcome over the past few years.
“Whenever I think about the last couple of years in the state of Louisiana, I could not be more proud of the educational community in our state because of the work that has happened,” said Dr. Brumley.
Dr. Brumley went on to say “Not only have we dealt with a global health pandemic but over the last two years, we have dealt with some of the most significant storms that have ever hit our state.”
Dr. Brumley concluded by saying “The American Enterprise Institute, which is a fairly conservative “Think Thank” organization, said that most recently (even within the last month I believe), the Louisiana school plan during COVID has been the third most aggressive in the country. I share that because that happened because of all of us working together.”
Dr. Brumley then went on to discuss the ramifications students, parents, teachers, and superintendents have faced since the COVID pandemic began.
“We have challenges. There is an impact as a result of COVID, hurricanes and winter storms. We know that academically over the last two years, we’ve seen about a 5% increase in our proficiency rates in our children. That is just academically. We also know that there are ramifications from the way that the world has operated for the last couple of years. The suicide attempt rate for teenage girls has doubled, childhood obesity is up about 30% and juvenile diabetes is up. And, mental health visits to the ER have doubled,” said Dr. Brumley.
Dr. Brumley also stated that his office has really tried to push for local communities to have power in decision making for their children.
“From our office, we try to make sure that local communities have power and are able to exercise that power in terms of decision making for their children. We just believe in local communities working with their medical experts, working with parents and working with teachers. And as a result, the best decisions will be made for their kids within the demands of the local community. That has been the place where we have tried to push,” Dr. Brumley said.
“I believe in the powers being reserved to our local communities. And, I believe that our local leaders and parents are going to take care of their kids. That is what we have tried to do,” he added.
Dr. Brumley went on to discuss literacy, a matter that is not only really important to him, but also important to teachers around the state.
“Literacy is really important to me. We have taken reading for granted for too long. We have just assumed that our kids will learn how to read. Sadly, many of them haven’t. In fact by the end of third grade, about half of them haven’t. So, we need to go back to some of the basics of teaching kids how to read. We need to go back to phonics so they will become more fluent readers. And then, they understand their vocabulary, which ultimately leads to comprehension,” Dr. Brumley said.
“I know our school leaders are really concerned about this. They are locked arms with you (more than not) around this endeavor,” he added.
The Bossier City Rotary Club meets at noon on Thursdays at the Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites located at 2015 Old Minden Road in Bossier City. The cost to attend the luncheon is $20 per person. Any individual or business is welcome to attend.