LOUISIANA ranks 45th in Education and 49th in Opportunity!
In the famous text, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed author Richard Shaull states:
“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into [a broken inequitable] system. . . or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”
Gary believes that free and appropriate public education and job skills training are the passport to the future.
He believes in public education and/or a job skills training system that fully prepares all citizens to solve the issues of their community and allows them to compete in the world. Hence, Gary believes in and will advocate for:
1. Free Higher Education and Job Skills Training
Free Higher Education and Job Skills training at all institutions of higher education and job skills Training facilities for those in need.
2. Student Loan Debt Forgiveness
Gary will advocate for and vote to pass student loan debt forgiveness for those persons with student loan debt.
3. Fully Funded Free and Appropriate Public School System
Gary’s mother is a retired public school teacher and his father a retired public school employee. He believes in the power of a fully-funded public education system. Specifically, Gary will advocate for the COMPLETE autonomous return and funding of Orleans Parish Public School System, using a Community Schools Model. Gary isn’t against the charter system but believes we must follow the data and the research. The data shows us that public education works in white and/or affluent neighborhoods. Why does it not work in Black and/or other oppressed neighborhoods? It can and it must.
Gary will advocate for a complete overhaul of the Orleans Parish Public School System, an overhaul that renews the community’s faith in the public school system by providing a safe, fully funded, academically rigorous, innovative learning experience with highly-qualified educators.
4. Abolish High Stakes Testing
Gary believes that high stakes testing should be abolished. Teaching for standardized testing isn’t working, and we need our teachers to not feel as if their job is tied to a number. Furthermore, all students do not learn at the same pace, nor is it appropriate to use the same pedagogy on all children. Gary believes we need to establish more time on teaching and less time on testing.
Teachers should have the ability to differentiate instruction with individual student success in mind rather than teaching to a blueprint based on standardized testing that utilizes a one-size-fits-all instruction model.
5. Funding for S.T.E.A.M.
More funding for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (S.T.E.A.M). Gary believes in S.T.E.M, but he also believes in the Arts. As a trained singer and musician, Gary understands that the arts are a part of a complete society and therefore must be a part of our children’s global education. Thus, he will advocate for and support legislation that ensures the funding of the Arts in America’s public schools.
6. Recruit & Retain Black Male Teachers
Gary doesn’t believe in reinventing the wheel. Bowie State—a Historically Black University—is doing a great job at recruiting, training and retaining Black male teachers. Their program should be considered a national model.
Gary will advocate for federal funding for the recruitment and subsidizing of Black male teachers in Kindergarten through 5th grade. Gary believes that if we can send—and subsidize—young white teachers to Black neighborhoods to teach our children with tax-funded programs, then we can also fund Black male teachers to do the same. Research indicates that children perform better when the teacher shares that child’s race, ethnicity, culture, and language.
7. Fully Funded HBCUs
More equitable funding for Historical Black Colleges and Universities like The Southern University System, Xavier University, Grambling University, Dillard University and many more. Currently, HBCUs graduates make up 40% of the members of Congress, 12.5% of the CEOs, 40% of the engineers, 50% of the professors at non-HBCUs, 50% of the lawyers, and 80% of the judges throughout the nation. And let’s not forget an HBCU graduate currently holds the title of Vice President of the United States of America. Therefore, it is imperative that we fully fund HBCUs equitably;
8. Satellite College Campuses in the River Parishes
Gary has heard the voice of the people in the River Parishes. A part of Gary’s educational priorities is to advocate for and find federal funding to support the creation of satellite college campuses in the River Parish communities. Gary will work with community colleges and universities in the 2nd Congressional District to provide the constituents of the river parishes affordable trade certifications, associates degrees and other educational opportunities. Gary understands that just as education and training are important, so is access to affordable education and training.