If further proof of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s utter disdain and contempt for public education in Louisiana were needed, then his refusal to apply for a federal grant of up to $60 million in early childhood education funding for the state should lay all arguments to the contrary to rest.
We have already seen Jindal jerk away $147 million of the state’s share of the $10 billion Education Jobs Fund after local school systems had already plugged the funds into their budgets. The result was massive teacher layoffs all across the state.
Let’s face it, the man is not only shameless, but he is more arrogant than any governor in recent memory—Fast Eddie included.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu was more likely outraged and disgusted at Jindal’s decision but chose to use the words “disappointed and concerned” in an effort to exhibit some semblance of political protocol.
If you think we’re being a bit harsh on the governor, consider this:
Jindal’s administration announced earlier this week that it would not seek the grant money because, he said, the state’s system for early childhood education is inefficient and mired in bureaucracy and that the grant would not help to address children’s needs because it is one-time money for ongoing programs.
What? He objected because it was one-time money for ongoing programs? What the hell does he call selling off three prisons if it’s not one-time money to address ongoing budget issues?
What in the name of transparency and accountability does he call selling the Office of Group Benefits? By selling that agency, he is perfectly willing—and determined, we might add—to sacrifice an efficient agency that provides medical coverage for state employees in exchange for, what was it again? Oh, yes, one-time money.
Insofar as inefficiency and bureaucracy in the state’s early childhood education system, whose fault is that? The man has completely revamped the Department of Education to his tastes and political ambitions through his former superintendent Paul Pastrorek. On the one hand, Jindal would have us believe that his Recovery School District (RSD) is a model of efficiency and the star in his crown while on the other hand, there is only chaos, confusion and waste in the Department of Education.
That may well be the case but if his administration has done so much to make RSD so great, why hasn’t he been able to cut through the inefficiency and bureaucracy in the department itself? Here’s why:
He doesn’t give a rat’s behind about public education. In fact, Jindal’s two driving ambitions are the privatization of every facet of state government and to completely dismantle public education in Louisiana in favor of for-profit charter schools.
Jindal spokesman Kyle Plotkin, one of his out-of-state appointees, tried to explain the rationale behind the decision. You may want to sit down and take a deep breath before you try to decipher this gooney babble:
“We need to streamline the governance structure, funding streams and quality standards in our early childhood system.”
The grant, of course, would only muddle things more by reducing flexibility and adding another layer of micromanagement and regulatory obstacles, he added.
Does anyone comprehend that gibberish?
Micromanagement? Folks, this administration is the very personification of the word. They love it. They live it.
Landrieu said the decision was “puzzling.” Did she possibly mean to say that Jindal’s proctologist is the only one who could find his head?
Plotkin said three separate departments had done a thorough analysis of the grant and determined that it was “the exact opposite approach our state should take to help our kids.”
Wait. What? Applying for a $60 million grant for early childhood education is the opposite approach the state should take to help kids? What kind of convoluted reasoning is that?
Fully one-third of the children in this state are living in poverty and early childhood education is the opposite approach needed to help them as determined by three separate agencies?
To paraphrase one of our favorite authors, “What demon agency in hell could ever come up with this logic?”
Have you ever wondered why Tara Hollis got into the governor’s race in the first place? She’s a public school teacher, as was her husband. She was perfectly content in that role until her husband and several of their fellow teachers lost their jobs in those massive statewide teacher layoffs.
Sure, Jindal is going to win in the first primary. That’s a given.
But hey, wouldn’t it be great if he were sent a little message? What if the golden boy barely squeaks by Saturday?
Well, at least we can dream. A surprising number of protest votes could send the message that not everyone wants to drink the Kool-Aid.