In the days following state Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek’s resignation announcement, media outlets throughout the state have offered high praise for a man who brought unprecedented reform to the state’s struggling system — and never failed to find foes along the way.
Pastorek’s plans to leave the state’s top education post for a private sector attorney job in Washington has brought his achievements and controversial four years to the forefront, with most reports giving high marks to the outgoing state superintendent.
An editorial published on the New Orleans City Business website says Pastorek deserves credit for the “heavy lifting” he’s done since being appointed in 2007, particularly with New Orleans’ Recovery School District and the teacher accountability measures he has touted since the beginning:
We encourage [Gov. Bobby] Jindal to find someone of a mindset similar to Pastorek’s to fill his vacancy, someone who will thwart attempts to sidetrack educational progress in Louisiana. That person may very well be an educator, but their overriding qualification should be a desire to depart from ways of the past.
And we advise state lawmakers to keep their hands out of crafting education policy. It will be quite easy to distinguish political motives from legitimate efforts to heighten classroom performance.
He may have ticked off people in the process, but there was never a doubt that Pastorek’s heart and passion were in the right place.
Teacher unions and local school administrators are intent on halting additional reform efforts that would remove decision-making power from their hands.
Within hours of Pastorek’s announcement Tuesday, Louisiana Association of Educators President Joyce Haynes issued a statement that all but vilified the superintendent.
Jindal has since made public his support for newly appointed head of the Recovery School District John White, an interim Jindal says would keep Pastorek’s reform movement on the same path. The latest Jindal remarks are in stark contrast to his initial Pastorek response, when he said he wants someone who will “build on consensus,” something for which Pastorek is not widely known.
The [Opelousas] Daily World joins New Orleans City Business and several other news outlets in advocating for someone with a mindset similar to Pastorek to fill his shoes:
If Louisiana’s public schools are going to move forward and give every child the opportunity to go as far as talent and hard work will allow, we’ll need a Pastorek replacement with the same determination to make concrete, measurable improvements in public education.
Political or not, Pastorek represents a tough-minded approach to school reform that has fans among conservatives and liberals. The chief tenet is that the nation, the states, school systems and individual schools can no longer afford to fool around, especially when it comes to educating minority kids and those from disadvantaged homes.
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NOV 24 Because of a town ordinance, the police will come to a disabled girl's home this week to take away her service dog and kill him. Sound like a bad Lifetime movie? Nope - it's real life in Moreauville, blogger Lamar White Jr. tells us in this post. The dog's crime? Being born a pit bull. What's the reason for this ordinance? Well, the town fathers are a little vague on that one. Maybe Obama?
NOV 24 Columnist Stephanie Grace is writing about Bobby Jindal's continuing refusal to accept federal funding for the expansion of Medicaid. It's purely an attempt to benefit him politically, meaning the decision is "cruel, short-sighted and remarkably self-centered." Well, yeah. Have you met him?
NOV 24 The New York Times editorial board is writing about the 40 years that Albert Woodfox has spent in solitary confinement in this post, calling it "barbaric beyond measure." Since Richard Nixon was president, the man has been in solitary in Angola Plantation Penitentiary. How is that OK with us?
NOV 24 The GOP has a boogie-man for anybody thinking about voting for Mary Landrieu: President Obama. But the Dems have one for Bill Cassidy, too, Melinda Deslatte writes in this AP post on The Reading Eagle -- and his name is Governor Jindal.
NOV 24 Blogger Bob Mann is blogging about race and the Senate campaign in this post. Sure, everybody knows that Mary Landrieu doesn't do too well with white folks, but how come the GOP can't get arrested in the black community? Bob is asking.
NOV 24 Early voting for the December election began Saturday, and this post on NOLA Defender tells us what Mary and Bill were up to. The polls and the pundits have their opinions, but none of that can replace actual voting, NODEF says.
NOV 24 Blogger Tom Aswell tells us about Bruce Greenstein's grand jury testimony in this post. The former state health secretary testified in an investigation into the lucrative contract Louisiana awarded to his former employer. Apparently, Mr. Greenstein has a bit of the C.R.S. disease.
NOV 24 Last week, an SUV carrying a blended Texas family overturned on the Interstate near Shreveport, killing the parents and three of their kids, and seriously injuring two other kids. According to this story in the Dallas Morning News, the DA has exercised some compassion and dismissed the ticket given to the teen who was driving.
NOV 21 One (possible) positive from Hurricane Katrina is a comprehensive zoning ordinance for New Orleans. Nine years later, we're getting closer to that being finalized, but the current version has some problems. Here's the latest in a series of posts on The Lens in which residents give their views of the draft; this one is more amusing than most.
NOV 21 The end of the term has come for the grand jury investigating a lucrative Medicaid contract and a former state health official's ties to the company that won it, the Advocate reports here, but that doesn't mean the investigation into this stinkiness is over. There are still some things to look into, the lead prosecutor says.
NOV 21 Bobby Jindal is headed to Iowa again, the Des Moines Register reports here. The paper outlines what's going on with Bobby's non-campaign for president, and there's a lot of stuff here -- too bad none of it sounds like somebody running Louisiana. Hey, wasn't that the job he wanted?
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