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Jan 11, 2007
Governor Blanco addresses Louisiana High School Redesign Commission

Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
High School Redesign Meeting Remarks
January 11, 2007

We're here today to redesign our high schools in order to better prepare all of our students for success.

You have important work ahead of you, so I won't take long. I do want to let you know that I'm 100 percent behind high school redesign. I've been closely following your deliberations.

Those of us in this room share a common belief. There is nothing more important to the future of Louisiana than a first class education system. Every child deserves the chance to live up to his or her full potential.

It's our job to make that chance a reality.

As you complete your proposals, I encourage you to set requirements with the highest of expectations in mind. I know you will focus on decreasing the drop-out rate.

Just this month, Education Week released a study claiming that Louisiana ranks 49th when it comes to opportunities for children to succeed. The implications of how the study was portrayed are totally wrong.

The way the study was headlined gave all citizens in Louisiana the impression that their children could not succeed. You and I know this is not true.

If families in Louisiana take advantage of our education system, our education system is quite capable. We prepare our children to compete. The study points out that too many families are not taking advantage of the system. We have to go to the children who drop-out, who live in poverty, and come from generations of low-literacy and get them to stay in the system and weather the challenges. We must encourage them to arm themselves with the strong education that Louisiana does offer.

In redesigning the high schools, we're going to ask them to pinpoint these children and keep them in school. They'll do so using your recommendations. That's when our national standing will improve.

Our high drop-out rate must be addressed head on. Thank you for crafting your recommendations with the drop-out rate in mind. If we move forward with High School Redesign and education improvements across the board -- I believe we can cut the drop-out rate in half in ten years. We can do this, and your recommendations set us down this path.

We are making great strides. Our rankings are on the rise. We're ranked:

  • First in our efforts to improve teacher quality;
  • First in standards and accountability;
  • Moving up in science and math standards;
  • Moving up in student test scores, including the ACT;

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

If we want to better prepare our children, we must continue to insist on change and reform.

Many of your recommendations are bound to be controversial. That's okay. You may have noticed that I'm no stranger to controversy! Our job is not to make every critic happy; our job is to lead the way in building a stronger education system. That's what you're doing.

I look forward to the presentation of your final recommendations. I will work with you to turn your planning into action.

Education is the solution to poverty and the ticket to better jobs. If we set our sights high, I am confident that Louisiana's children will more than live up to our expectations. Let's give them the opportunity to succeed.

Thank you for crafting the vision.

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