Saturday, April 20, 2024

Kennedy: Take children out of failing schools

by BIZ Magazine

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) spoke on the Senate floor to commend school choice as a path to success for Louisiana students and families.

Key comments from Kennedy’s remarks include:

“I regret to say, Mr. President, that roughly half of my students in Louisiana, in grades K through three, are not reading at the grade-level. Half. Only one-third of my kids in grades three through 12 are at grade-level in the four subjects that the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program, we call it the LEAP, tests.

“In fact, we have, in Louisiana, 24 school systems—24—in which fewer than a quarter of our students—fewer than a quarter—have proficient LEAP exam scores. 

“The truth is that pre-K to 12 education in America and in Louisiana was in trouble well before the pandemic, and we all know that. Yet leaders in many states remain hesitant, to say the least, to change anything—anything—about our public school system.”

“The fact is—the unhappy fact, the miserable fact—is that too many of our schools in America and in Louisiana are failure factories. They’re failure factories where violence is common and learning is rare.

“But, there are a few states that are bucking the status quo, and they’re doing it, in part, by adopting school choice programs. And, so far, they’ve seen a lot of success. Now, school choice programs . . . can take many different shapes, but they all boil down to one thing, one foundational principle: Parents should be allowed to take their kids out of failing schools.

“Parents should be allowed to take their children out of failing schools and put them in schools that can help those children thrive and certainly do better. It’s not complicated. You know, American parents today, they can go to the grocery store, and they can choose from 40 different—maybe more, but certainly 40—different breakfast cereals to feed their child in the morning.

“But, in many states, those parents have absolutely no control over which school their child can attend. . . . And, there’s little that most parents—too many parents—can do to change that, even though it is patently absurd to force children to attend failing schools when parents could enroll those kids, and invest the money that pays for their education, in better schools.”

“I believe as much as I’m standing here that America’s future and Louisiana’s future can be better than our present, and it can be better than our past—but not if we don’t improve our schools, and no one is coming to save our schools in Louisiana but ourselves.”

View Kennedy’s full speech here.

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