THE POST SIGNAL
CROWLEY – This year’s annual Education Roundtable Grant Initiative opened with Congressman Charles Boustany, Jr. announcing a new district wide project to address major health issues among Louisiana children, namely, childhood obesity. Details of the project are still underway, but the basic idea is to have students perform research on such important matters as this. More details will come in the future. Following a brief discussion, conversation turned to other important educational matters.
Representatives from the surrounding areas as well as from Acadia parish seemed eager to address the issues. “How can I help the Jindal administration serve your needs better?” Boustany asked. Reports from each area reflected that some of the best initiatives by far this year were the reading programs. Questions about funding for the program arose, and Boustany made it clear that he planned to return with answers. After further scrutiny of different area problems, Boustany stated that each parish has its own needs, and that ideas are being processed to make each need a priority, without bundling educational needs together.
Going hand in hand with this issue is the need to emphasize vocational education programs to fill thousands of open, good-paying jobs with skilled laborers from these programs. “I was in an area yesterday not far from here where ship captains, who make approximately $100,000 are needed. All that is required for this job is a two year program,” Boustany informed. The crowd agreed that lack of knowledge in Louisiana as to what is available is definitely a problem that needs addressing.
“We don’t really address the gaps that occur in our educational system between eighth grade and high school,” Boustany said during further discussion. Suggestions regarding this issue included proposing a growth model, so that our schools continue to progress, rather than stay at the same level, and keeping early intervention programs, such as LA4, active. Special education issues were also addressed, such as tightening up and redefining the rules, as this type of education often supersedes the law, causing major problems throughout many schools.
In closing, Boustany promised to keep these agendas as a top priority as he returns to Washington. He thanked everyone for attending and added, “Count on me for your concerns.”