Learning to play by the rules

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 5, 2012

Earlier this week, the NFL handed down player-specific suspensions in response to the Saints Bountygate scandal. Reactions have run the gamut, with some believing the Saints got off light and others believing the penalties were unnecessarily harsh. Regardless, the suspended players are busily preparing an appeal. They might as well save their energy and channel it into something more productive as their appeals will likely fall on deaf ears just as those of Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis did.

A parallel can be drawn between this situation and the one currently embroiling the public education system in the state.

The Louisiana Legislature recently passed an education reform package put together by Gov. Bobby Jindal. The package includes regulations that make it easier for parents to send their children to private charter schools, thus stripping public school systems of much-needed funding. The reforms also make it nearly impossible for teachers to attain tenure.

Many involved in public education in Louisiana argue the reforms will cripple an already struggling system. They also argue that the new regulations regarding teacher tenure will make people less interested in careers in education. Meanwhile, the Louisiana School Board Association is assembling local school boards to join a class action suit in opposition to the reforms.

Regardless of the merit of these arguments and lawsuits, one thing is clear — when August rolls around there will be many changes in public education in Louisiana. And even if the LSBA’s lawsuit is eventually successful, that will likely be only after considerable time has passed.

It seems, as in the case of the Saints players, the best course of action for local school systems is to learn to operate as well as possible within the new paradigm.

In just about every aspect of life, there are objectionable rules, but blatantly bucking those rules produces nothing positive. Working for change is one thing, but refusing to work within the established boundaries always ends in a net loss.