This letter to the editor send by St. Martin Parish School Board President:

I chose this venue to communicate my disdain for U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s criticism of school boards, superintendents and educators, specifically the St. Martin Parish school system, which chose to participate in the democratic process in Baton Rouge on March 15. It is unfortunate the Louisiana Legislature convened to address critical education legislation that will have lasting implications within the education community during the scheduled workday of educators and many parents and community leaders who support their efforts. Consequently, since it was apparent to participants there was a resolve to “railroad” legislation through the House and Senate Education Committees, the only recourse available was to take professional leave to address these critical, legitimate concerns outlined in proposed legislation.

How dare he chastise the education community? I am reminded of the adage: “If you live in a glass house, you shouldn’t throw stones.” Vitter questions the morals of our educators citing their lack of concern for children. Was he thinking of his wife and children and his constituents during his past indiscretions (on July 11, 2007, he issued a statement apologizing for his use of the Washington escort service and he called it a “serious sin” for which he took full responsibility)? I am sorry it has come to the point where one has to “throw stones” in an effort to wake up those who are elected to represent their constituents’ views and not the views of a governor and his followers. As president of the St. Martin Parish School Board, I would request a public apology from Vitter to all educators in Louisiana.

In closing, while the debate must occur regarding education reform, I want to remind my constituents this reform plan is not unique. It is from a master plan initiated by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group of wealthy entrepreneurs and philanthropists, who are, in my opinion, determined to privatize our health care, education and prison systems. This reform plan has been implemented in such states as New York, Florida, Tennessee and California, to name a few. The plan has failed miserably with much unrest among the residents of these states. The proposed legislation regarding education reform should be well thought out. Education is too critical to our future, so we have an opportunity to get it right.

Please join me in contacting our legislators to say NO to HB 976 and HB 974 and SB 603. Please call them at the House of Representatives (225) 342-2040 and the Senate
(225) 342-2040. Thank you.

Jimmy Blanchard

St. Martin Parish

School Board president

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