(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
Great article about John White’s plans for public forums to discuss Louisiana’s education reforms. In so doing, White is following in the footsteps of Indiana’s Tony Bennett, who faced the public and his critics in public forums repeatedly. Dr. Bennett let Indiana’s reform critics take their best shot at him over and over again, all the while explaining the rationale for the bold package of reforms.
After explaining his reasoning and providing his evidence, Dr. Bennett often said “This is what we believe and this is our plan. What do you believe and what is your plan?”
I don’t know whether Dr. Bennett changed the minds of the uber-reactionaries in his audiences or not, but he earned respect by giving his opponents the chance to take him on. This is the type of leadership the reform movement needs, and I commend John White for providing it in Louisiana. The Advocate seems to agree:
So we hope that White keeps up his efforts to communicate with the local systems that educate the vast majority of Louisiana students. The local boards may not become believers in the entire Jindal catechism, but the changes are coming — and those that can’t be avoided must be implemented with the interests of students in mind, once the political slogans have faded from the headlines.