Classrooms aren't as simple as they used to be - traditional chalk boards and pencils used to do the trick, but now computers play a huge rule in the way our kids learn.
Educator, author, and founder of the Mentorship Academy of Digital Arts, Brian Dixon, says that's a good thing. At his charter school in downtown Baton Rouge smartboards and iPads are the norm. He's the featured speaker at this month's Creative Louisiana and WRKF's Tegan Wendland talked with him about using technology in the classroom and the future of education.
While the legislature has approved Governor Bobby Jindal's proposals for getting teachers to up their game and providing more school choice, an effort to keep some of the most at-risk kids in the classroom may be falling by the wayside.
The Truancy Assessment and Service Center, or TASC, program, addresses truancy among elementary school students, intervening early so they don't drop out later.
Administrators of TASC, which serves students from 21 parishes at 14 sites around the state, pleaded with the House Appropriations Committee earlier this week not to cut its funding.
Cecile Guin, Director of Research at the LSU School of Social Work, helped develop the program 13 years ago. She spoke with WRKF's Amy Jeffries in the studio along with LSU economist Stephen Barnes about TASC and the study they recently co-authored to bolster the argument for its preservation.
The full house will consider a bill Monday that would overhaul early education in Louisiana. The bill, part of Gov. Bobby Jindal's education reform package, would challenge child care centers to prove that very young children are learning.
WRKF's Tegan Wendland talked with Renee Casbergue, interim assistant dean of Education at LSU and a specialist in early childhood education, about the proposed legislation, which she says is being overshadowed by the governor's bids to change how teachers get tenure and support private school vouchers.
Late Thursday night, the state house passed a bill that would allow public school dollars to be used to send students from low-income families attending failing schools to private schools instead. The legislation, which is a cornerstone of Governor Bobby Jindal's education reform plan, could hit the Senate floor this week.
The voucher program is modeled in part after a program in Florida, which was the first state to try vouchers on a large scale a decade ago.
David Figlio, a professor of education, social policy, and economics at Northwestern University in Illinois, has been studying Florida's program since its inception.
While only a handful of the more than 1500 bills pre-filed for consideration by lawmakers over the next 12 weeks address education, debate over Gov. Bobby Jindal's reform proposals are expected to get a large share of the floor time.
Jindal kicked off the session Monday with a 25-minute speech pitching his plans for improving Louisiana's standing in national education rankings.
"If we demand excellence on the football fields as we should, we should be demanding excellence in the classrooms as well," Jindal said.
The governor again urged lawmakers to go along with plans to tie teacher pay and tenure to student achievement and use public school funding to pay for a private school voucher program.
The proposals could be voted on in committee as soon as Wednesday.
In his inaugural speech Monday, Governor Bobby Jindal made clear that he would be pushing for education reform to kick off his second term. But while Jindal went on at length about getting Louisiana’s students better opportunities, the speech was short on details for how he plans to do that.