Legislators need to keep eye on future

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Louisiana Legislature convened for its yearly regular session earlier this week. For the next two months, its members will discuss and debate issues that will shape the future of the state.

Some of these hold more weight than others; sprinkled in among bills affecting the budget will be resolutions honoring accomplishments throughout the state. Some bills will no doubt return as they have for the past few years. Bans on smoking in bars and casinos and using handheld devices while driving spring to mind.

But amidst the debating and backroom dealing, let’s hope our elected leaders keep in mind what is good for the whole state and not just look to further their own agendas.

Louisiana has garnered a certain image over the years as a

corrupt, backwoods sort of state. Regardless of whether this perception has any merit or not, it has hurt the state when trying

to attract new business and industry.

There is really only one way to combat this negative image, and that is through education. As cliché as it may sound, the youth of Louisiana really are its future. If the state chooses not invest in engaging students in a meaningful way, truancy and dropouts will continue to be a problem, and the state will never be competitive on a national scale.

Local school boards can only do so much. Good intentions are a great foundation, but if the state does not provide the dollars to back them up, Louisiana will remain near the bottom in education and, subsequently, near the bottom in attracting new business, as well.