20 Mar The children of Louisiana need advocates.
As we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, Louisiana’s students–so bright and full of potential–are struggling. According to the Louisiana Department of Education, the number of students achieving mastery on state tests fell from 34% in 2019 to 29% in 2021. These statistics are alarming.
This is a solvable problem for families in our great state. Across the country, we’ve seen how academic outcomes for students can rapidly improve when parents, educators, community stakeholders and advocates along with elected officials come together to ensure that every child receives a high quality education through reforms.
Change is difficult, but possible. We can empower parents with greater autonomy by offering a multitude of high quality school choice options. We can ensure every child in our state has access to high dosage tutoring programs during the school day to rapidly decrease the learning gaps incurred during the pandemic. We can ensure parents have access to accurate and transparent data about how their children are performing in school compared to the rest of the nation by requiring high standards and accountability. And we can utilize civic organizations, community resources and leaders in our state to open the doors of schoolhouses to educate children everywhere, not just in a brick and mortar classroom by transforming how learning happens in our state.
I’ve always been taught you either lead or get out of the way and if you’re not part of the solution then you are part of the problem. This core belief, along with the unrealized potential of Louisiana’s children, led me to found Louisiana Kids Matter. Growing up my education had a profound impact on my life by giving me the support needed to escape a difficult homelife. My school had the courage to intercede on my behalf after recognizing the signs that something wasn’t right at home and I am truly grateful still to this day.
Recognizing I had a calling to serve kids, I graduated from Louisiana State University (LSU) with a degree in elementary education in 2005 and received my master’s in educational leadership from Southeastern Louisiana University (SLU) in 2010. After teaching fourth grade math and science for seven years, I realized advocating on behalf of children at our state capitol would have a greater impact on more kids’ lives so I made a career change.
After working to elect school choice champions throughout the nation and watching the robust education reforms currently sweeping this country, I realized Louisiana had a huge opportunity with the upcoming elections. Our students and parents deserve elected officials who will prioritize educational reforms that will improve the quality of education in our state for every child.
Louisiana weathered a major crisis when Hurricane Katrina hit in August of 2005 and as the waters receded, education was forever changed in my home state. Through this tragedy, new hope was created for families through the creation of the first ever all chartered educational school system in New Orleans. This major educational accomplishment springboarded additional reforms which gave families more school choices and ensured statewide high standards and accountability in our education system. Now, in the years following a national crisis, Louisiana can, once again, lead the nation in empowering families with opportunities that match the brilliance, curiosity and optimism of our children.
At Louisiana Kids Matter, we are committed to being a tireless advocate for the educational interests of Louisiana’s amazing children. We will be smart, pragmatic and cooperative working with our state’s policymakers. We will also be unapologetic and passionate about spotlighting the problems and demanding meaningful solutions. We look forward to working alongside all our fellow Louisianans as we embark on this critical journey.