Louisiana Deserves Better Than A Governor Who Champions Mediocre Schools

John Bicknell Executive Editor, Watchdog.org
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During debate on President Richard Nixon’s nomination of G. Harrold Carswell to a seat on the Supreme Court in 1970, Nebraska Republican Sen. Roman Hruska famously defended the Florida judge against accusations by Democrats that he was a mediocrity unfit for such a high office.

”Even if he were mediocre,” Hruska said, ”there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they, and a little chance? We can’t have all Brandeises, Frankfurters and Cardozos.”

Apparently Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards wants to make sure his state doesn’t turn out too many Brandeises, Frankfurters or Cardozos, either.

While campaigning for governor last year, Edwards — no friend of school choice – promised that he would at least preserve the existing Louisiana Scholarship Program, which helps low-income parents afford to send their children to private schools.

Now safely ensconced in the governor’s office, Edwards is backtracking.

Instead of preserving funding for the program, his proposed budget would cut spending by more than 14 percent. That means as many as 1,000 students already using the program will be shut out, according to the American Federation for Children, which has launched a campaign to preserve full funding.

Edwards didn’t even have the courage to own his administration’s spending plan. He feebly attempted to fob responsibility off on agency heads tasked with trimming their budgets.

That’s patent nonsense. Edwards is the governor. The final say belongs to him.

But even worse than ducking responsibility is Edwards’ rationalization for cutting the program. In addition to meeting income guidelines, a student must be enrolled or entering a public school with a C, D or F rating. Here’s what Edwards said to justify his about-face after winning in November:

“John Bel Edwards is against the voucher program. … But as I go into office, I don’t have a goal to take that voucher program off the books completely, but we are going to conform it to its stated purpose. Its stated purpose was to provide a choice to parents whose kids were trapped in failing schools. A ‘C’ school is not a failing school,” Bell said according to a Nov. 11, 2015, report by the Huffington Post.

John Bel Edwards, the champion of average.

If your child is slogging along in a C-rated school, well, ”there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they?”

So, parents, shut up and do what the government and the teachers unions tell you to do.

Forget candidate Edwards’ promise to preserve the program, and pack your kid away to her mediocre public school. Put your dreams of greatness away and take the advice of Caddyshack’s Judge Smales, who must be one of Edwards’ role models. The world needs ditch diggers, too.

In Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegone, all the children are above average. In John Bel Edwards’ Louisiana, apparently average is good enough.