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BESE succeeds, whiffs on trenchant issues

Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education may declare itself woke, but at other times it actually gets the job done correctly … when overenthusiastic members of the public don’t allow it to dodge a politically sensitive issue .

Last week, BESE – through one of its committees where technically all 11 members sit on it – wisely deferred full implementation of a program aimed at improving reading and literacy at the kindergarten through second grade levels. A pilot program already has shown promising results.

Yet while the overall concept seemed sound, six of the seven members who comprise the accountability and choice caucus of BESE objected to administrative aspects of it (the other as chairman didn’t vote). Principally, they objected to how it coordinated with accountability measures, in particular the extra costs to achieve this for nonpublic schools who accept Louisiana Scholarship Program students for which the state pays only approximately half in voucher form of what it doles out for regular students in public schools.


More data, same story: Medicaid expansion bad

But, Medicaid expansion!

Salivating proponents of Louisiana accepting this praised Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards to the skies his doing so when assuming office. They alleged it would propel the state from the bottom among its brethren in healthiness by claiming large swaths of the public without health insurance suddenly would become healthier with access to it.

This view ignored reality, and more than five years after its implementation data continue to confirm the whole mess is one big wealth redistribution scheme that does little to improve health outcomes at exorbitant cost. The latest bit comes from a report issued by the Mercatus Center that focused on the amount of regulation in health care among southeastern states. Louisiana ranks high in regulation but low in health care quality metrics, not just within the region but nationally. In fact, despite having doctor availability well above the lowest-ranked states and reasonable access relative to them, it ranked second in the southeast for patient difficulty in regard to finding treatment with managed care visits. It ranked 47th out of 50 states with respect to preventable hospitalizations, and last among all states in health outcomes.


Vaccine passport anywhere in LA bad policy

Louisiana is hurtling towards an unwise, counterproductive, and constitutionally-suspect “zero covid” policy, and it must be halted before wasting more resources and real harm to people is done.

In recent days, Democrat New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell declared that adults in the city would have to carry “vaccine passports” in order to engage in many forms of commerce, enforced by merchants and government. That means proof of Wuhan coronavirus vaccination or a recent negative test. The Louisiana State University System is signaling that if and when any full authorization for vaccines come to fruition, it will expect the same of students and employees.

But steps like these ignore reality to the detriment of the state’s people and visitors. Unfortunately, while Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed a bill in the past legislative session that would have prevented this, policy-makers should reject such things anyway.


LA census data advantage legislative GOP

More specific, parish-wide census data for 2020 are in, and from this the contours have become set for state legislative reapportionment in Louisiana.

These data contain population counts by race and age. The data at the most specific levels will be released by the end of September, and because of the much lower tolerances for these regarding congressional districts, as well as the specificity needed for local contests, until then only the impact of the data on reapportionment for the legislature, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Public Service Commission can be scrutinized. (Judicial reapportionment is not required and historically often isn’t done every decade.)

Certain to confuse many casual observers will be the way the census changed its definition of race/ethnicity. In the past, the Census Bureau has caught flak for the way it categorizes people, particularly Hispanics, as being too narrow. For 2020, it tried to address this by creating a matrix of racial backgrounds that specifically allows for combinations.


Natural selection favors saner climate policy

You just can’t make this stuff up. And to the extent that its contents will improve policy-making in Louisiana, that’s a good thing.

The initial hand-wringing from the unbridled hysteria launched by release of the Sixth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change from the United Nations apparently has had an especially robust impact on snowflakes. Understanding its extent requires reading snippets from the actual text of the news story (my comments in brackets):

A growing number of people are reluctant to bring a child into a world that’s set to be ravaged by climate change in the coming decades ….