Since coming to Lafayette almost 10 years ago, I have been engaged in and amazed by the many great qualities of our people and culture, our food, music, art, love of the outdoors, strong work ethic, can do attitude and entrepreneurship. What a great place we can be.

David Welch

But not all of those in our community share in the benefits of this great culture. Why not? In one short word ­­— education. All children in Lafayette need and deserve an education that allows them to opt in to our culture and not be an outcast from it. By the way, this is also critical for the sustainability of our economy and the preservation of the viability of our culture.

The volunteers who really care about our community have been working tirelessly to give our children a chance. Education is a strategic element of almost every helpful, nonprofit organization in town. These organizations found Dr. Pat Cooper and brought him to Lafayette where he is doing an outstanding job.

He is already delivering positive results even though being berated by certain members of the school board who seem to have their personal interests ahead of the children of Acadiana and ahead of every citizen who pays the price every day we have a lesser educated populace.

Dr. Cooper and his heroic principals, heroic staff and heroic teachers are doing the job. Let them do it. Our scholastic achievement numbers are going up, and ACT scores in our most challenged high schools are going up. Our school readiness numbers among preschoolers are going up. Children are learning, and new educated employees are being created.

The school board should be praising Dr. Cooper and his team and thanking their lucky stars we have them instead of trying to hire a law firm to investigate them. Maybe we should ask certain members of the school board why they are really against an administration that is raising the academic performance of our schools and bringing back into society many of those students who have historically been marginalized.

David Welch is chairman, president & CEO of Stone Energy Corporation. He chaired the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce in 2010.

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