By James D. Kirylo
A Response to Governor Jindal’s Op-ed in USA Today
Our economy is better than ever so Governor Jindal says about the state of Louisiana in a USA Today op-ed piece (3/8/15). Other than a few yes people that Jindal surrounds himself and the minority few with the wealth, the majority general public in Louisiana are wondering what planet he lives on, much less what state.
The governor, of course, didn’t mention in his op-ed that when he talks about how he has sliced and diced the state budget, it has resulted in the near decimation of higher education. Indeed, universities have been cut 80% in the last several years, tuition has exponentially risen, and the LA Grad Act is simply a devious scheme that fosters a system that unduly taxes students in order to fund higher education. In a poor state like ours, this is simply a formula that further widens the opportunity gap, and further widens the gap between the proverbial “haves” and “have-nots.”
He also didn’t mention that numerous underpaid university people have endured near poverty wages, have endured furloughs, have had no cost of living allowances now inching toward the ten year mark, that numerous individuals can’t afford health care, that top flight faculty have left the state, that public school teachers have been blamed for everything that ails our state, that Louisiana has the nation’s fourth highest high school dropout rate, that our high school graduation rate ranks 45th in the nation, that we have one of the highest childhood poverty rates in the country, and that we have the highest incarceration rate in the country, if not the world.
Of course, he didn’t mention that Louisiana ranks 50th among the states in overall health, and that we lead the nation in the highest infant mortality rate, the highest diabetes-related death rate, and the highest rate of death from breast cancer, and third-highest rate of cancer deaths overall.
And of course, he wouldn’t mention that Louisiana is expecting approximately a $1.6 billion budget shortfall next year. In the end, it should be no surprise critics are calling Jindal’s handling of the state budget his blind-spot. But that is not his only blind spot. The other one is that he is blind to the fact that he has hurt the lives of so many hard-working Louisianans.
Dr. James D. Kirylo is a professor of education. His latest book is titled A Critical Pedagogy of Resistance. He taught grade school for nearly 20 years and is a former Louisiana Elementary School Teacher of the Year. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: Public Domain Wikimedia Commons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Jindal
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