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.
To post a comment, please log into your IND account. If you do not have an account, click the "register" button to create one. Facebook comments can be used as an alternative to creating an account at theIND.com.
APR 22 If you're a Walking Dead fan, you might want to check out this story on DIG Baton Rouge about the program's tour, headed for Baton Rouge and NOLA next month. You can be a spectator, a survivor or a walker -- and the walkers get professional make-up. The course is about a mile long and takes about 45 minutes to complete. And if you're wondering (or worrying or maybe hoping, ick) biting is not allowed.
APR 22 The Audubon Nature Institute poured $271K into a failed tax election, and then failed to report any spending until a month after the election, the Picayune reports here. Not only that, but they filed late Thursday -- the day before a holiday weekend -- ostensibly hoping that the news wouldn't get reported or noticed. Nice.
APR 22 The Baptist Standard takes a look back at Joe Aguillard's tumultuous tenure at Louisiana College in this post. Even his hiring was controversial, and his leave-taking -- albeit just to a classroom there -- has been surrounded by argument. In any event, the board of the private Baptist college will now seek a new leader, the story tells us.
APR 22 The NOLA Defender takes a look at our coast four years later in this post. Oil from the BP spill still is washing up on Louisiana's coastline, and this story outlines the Coast Guard's continued involvement.
APR 22 Republicans - and in particular Republicans who might be running for something in a couple years - are flocking to the Common Core issue, the New York Times reports here. But they're not supporting the federal educational curriculum; they're flocking because they feel it will be a good issue to run on, the story tells us. Don't worry, they mentioned Bobby.
APR 22 Here's a story from the Reuters wire about the anniversary of the BP Oil spill. They've got some bitter comments from people who are still waiting to be "fixed," as well as a picture of a Grand Isle beach covered with oil.
APR 22 The Baton Rouge Business Report's Stephanie Riegel writes about a recent study that determined Baton Rouge had the worst sprawl of any American city. Anybody who has spent any time sitting on the Interstate in that city can attest to it, and the reasons are pretty easy to diagnose, so why isn't anybody doing anything about it?
APR 21 Blogger Bob Mann has been keeping track of all the yellow-bellied sapsuckers in the state capitol, and he's got a cringe-worthy list of examples of our leaders demonstrating a lack of intestinal fortitude. They seem to be willing to stand up to no one on our behalf, he says, on subjects including the budget, Big Oil and education.
APR 21 Now that some of the dust has settled on the McAllister affair, columnist Jim Beam takes a look at where we are. There seem to be three groups: those who think he should resign, those who think he should be forgiven, and those who have reserved judgment. The last group is probably the brightest, Beam writes. The first group, which includes the GOP establishment, has a credibility problem, he says.
APR 21 Blogger Lamar White Jr. writes about the state Democratic Party in this post, and offers some advice. People (mostly Republican people) like to say that Louisiana is a Red State, Lamar says, but every major city, except for Lafayette, is led by a Democratic Mayor. So what's going on? Lamar has an interesting theory.
Read the Flipping Paper!
Click Here for the Entire Print Version of IND Monthly