Friday, April 19, 2013

Rice: "The key to not being trapped in the circumstances of your birth is a quality education"

Dr. Condoleezza Rice called educational choice the most important education reform she sees today, as more than 800 reformers, community business members, legislators and educators listened intently to the panel discussion at the 2013 Leadership for Change! Louisiana Education Excellence Summit.

“They key to not being trapped in the circumstances of your birth is a quality education,” Rice said.  “It doesn’t matter where you come from; it matters where you are going.”

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, writer and journalist Campbell Brown, Former California Democratic Majority Leader Dr. Gloria Romero and former Louisiana State Senator Ann Duplessis all joined in the panel discussions about education reform in Louisiana, with the American Federation for Children’s executive counsel Kevin Chavous moderating.

“What is NOT a measure of success is the same ol’, same ol’,” Chavous said.

That’s why Louisiana’s legislators are fighting hard this legislative session, which began April 8, to protect the landmark Louisiana Scholarship Program that was expanded by a bipartisan group of legislators in 2012.  It allows students from low-to-middle income families with students enrolled failing and low-performing schools to use a scholarship to attend the school of their choice.  Students entering kindergarten for the first time who meet the income limits are also eligible.

Former Secretary of State Rice told the audience that Korean children learn in third grade what children in fifth grade learn in the United States, “even in the best of schools.”  Rice encouraged everyone to remember to fight back against the pervasive soft bigotry of low expectations when it comes to K-12 education.

That’s precisely why Gloria Romero said Louisiana’s education reforms are key: “If you don’t educate, you will incarcerate.  We’re spending all this money to lock up the failed result of our public education system.”

Despite bills taking aim at the Louisiana Scholarship Program during this year’s legislative session, Governor Jindal is standing strong to protect the reforms that are serving nearly 5,000 children across Louisiana.

“We’ll pass these reforms as many times as it takes to provide the kids of Louisiana with a quality education,” Jindal said.

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