Jindal Prioritizes Education at Inaugural Ceremony

After making a joke about having his inaugural ceremony on the same day as the Louisiana State University-Alabama football game, Governor Bobby Jindal took the oath of office for a second time as governor.

After briefly reflecting on the highlights of his first-term in office – including successes in ethics reform, job creation and tax cuts – Republican Jindal spent most of his speech setting the stage for the next four years, with a heavy emphasis on education and trying to improve Louisiana’s chronically poor performing schools, writes Paul Murphy at Eyewitness News.

“In America, we believe every child deserves and equal opportunity to a quality education,” said Jindal.

“Reforming and improving education should not be a partisan issue.

“Getting kids ready to face the challenges this world has to offer, getting them prepared to succeed and triumph should not be a political matter.”

The governor’s education agenda is subject of much speculation. He’s yet to release details but it is expected to include controversial items such as additional charter schools, vouchers and teacher evaluations tied to student achievement.

Rep. Nick Lorusso, believes reform is critical for the state’s education system.

“We end up on the bottom of the list in most categories every year and that’s a critical aspect we have to tackle and win.”

State Senator Francis Thompson, D-Delhi said:

“We got to take care of all the kids in Louisiana and that’s what some of the fright is.”

Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin said some teachers unions and school districts are already “pushing back” against the proposed measures.

“One of the reasons to emphasis it today because some of these are going to be tough votes for a bunch of these legislators.”

Following the swearing-in ceremony, Jindal headed to a special luncheon with lawmakers in downtown Baton Rouge before he and his family went down to New Orleans to watch the LSU Tigers in the BCS title game.

Murphy also reports that state legislators took their oaths of office. John Alario of Westwego was elected senate president, while Representative Charles Kleckly, a Republican from Lake Charles, was elected house speaker.