Edwards faced ‘brick wall’ in efforts to tackle K-12 education

Published: Apr. 16, 2019

By: Sheridan Wall and Charlotte Bellotte, LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE — Gov. John Bel Edwards placed K-12 education near the top of his priorities in his 2015 campaign, and he has emphasized his support for teacher pay raises in this year’s re-election bid.

But given opposition in the Legislature, Edwards has not reversed controversial Jindal-era education policies that he routinely opposed as a state representative.

Back then, Edwards voted against measures to amend the school voucher program, base teacher evaluations in part on student achievement, make it tougher for teachers to get tenure and limit benefits for teachers who are rehired after they retired.

Rep. Stephen Carter, R-Baton Rouge, the former chairman of the House Education Committee, said that when Republican Bobby Jindal was governor, Edwards “argued against some of the things we were trying to do.”

“John Bel was on the committee, and he was not for them,” said Carter, who sponsored some of the bills. Carter said that teacher unions “backed him heavily” when Edwards ran for governor saying he would undo some of the changes.

But Edwards’ main success in this area has been to reduce the impact of students’ standardized test scores on teacher evaluations, something that the pro-Jindal camp in the Legislature did not oppose.

Edwards’ lack of headway on K-12 initiatives also has been due to the budget crises that dominated his first three years as governor, aides say.

Read more in the Shreveport Times.

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