It is our belief that everyone – not just our elected officials – has a critical role in shaping positive change in Louisiana. Independent, non-partisan organizations, like CABL, must be leaders in focusing state government and decision makers on the state’s essential priorities. That is what we try to do.

Education WatchToward that end, we wanted to share with you some of the highlights of our work in 2009 and the areas where we placed a primary focus. CABL was extremely active and involved in numerous issues of importance, particularly in education.

 

  • School Board Reform – Too many school boards across Louisiana are distracted by personnel issues and other minutia instead of turning around failing schools. That’s why CABL vigorously promoted school board reform to allow local school board members to focus more directly on improving student and school performance within their districts. Though our legislation did not pass, there was unprecedented debate and public discussion on this important issue.

 

  • Career Diploma – CABL worked to make improvements in well-intended but flawed legislation to create a “career diploma” for high school students at risk of dropping out. Though the bill that finally passed still contained some issues of concern, a number of troublesome provisions were amended. CABL is continuing to work with BESE to strengthen the career diploma to make it more meaningful for students who receive it.

 

  • Higher Education – CABL worked throughout the legislative session to reduce a major budget cut to higher education. CABL helped restore a total of $100 million to post-secondary education this year to cushion Louisiana institutions to allow more time for a thoughtful restructuring of our higher education system. CABL continues to be involved in the restructuring of higher education through commentaries and active monitoring of the Postsecondary Education Review Commission.

 

  • Citizen Survey – CABL conducted two surveys of voters in 2009. A statewide survey showed strong public support for CABL’s school board reform efforts. A second survey of voters in New Orleans indicated significant support for charter schools and the state RecoverySchool District, both of which CABL has championed.

 

  • School Accountability – CABL continued to work to protect the state’s nationally-recognized school accountability system at the Legislature, BESE and on state education commissions.

 

  • Economic Development – CABL helped create the state’s new Louisiana Innovation Council and serves as a member of the council. Its goal is to help modernize Louisiana’s economy through innovation and investments in high-quality university research and development that can be transferred to the marketplace to create high-paying 21st century jobs.

 

  • Government Reform – CABL serves on the new state Commission on Streamlining Government and chairs its Advisory Group on Duplicative and Non-Essential Services. It has made more than 200 recommendations to find cost savings in state government and make the delivery of state services more efficient and effective. It also recommended some significant public policy changes, particularly in the areas of education and health care.

 

CABL’s Ongoing Work

In addition to these legislative and governmental issues, CABL continued its ongoing work with a number of activities:

 

  • CABL graduated its 21st Leadership Louisiana class bringing us to an alumni base of more than 800 people from every area of our state. In addition we just selected a new class for 2010 which looks to be another excellent group of committed and civic-minded citizens from across Louisiana.

 

  • CABL also launched a new quarterly Leadership Louisiana alumni e-newsletter to replace our annual printed version, allowing us to produce more news and features on our many distinguished alumni.

 

  • CABL continued to distribute and promote thousands of copies of our Louisiana Fact Book as well as our annual Louisiana Report Card on Major Education Indicators. In doing so we visited every area of the state speaking to civic organizations and chambers of commerce.

 

  • CABL instituted a new Education Watch component of our CABLWire e-newsletter and also provided additional weekly briefings on our school board reform efforts.


Finally, we conducted an online survey which many of you responded to about CABL, the work we do and the issues of interest to our members and friends. One thing the survey showed is that those of you who responded – and by extension, we think, most all of you who read our CABLWire – are informed individuals, who are civicly engaged and care about making Louisiana better.

 

That is our mission. We appreciate the support that makes our work possible and wish you the best for the holidays and the coming year!


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