Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is very proud of his family's American success story. Why would he deny the people of the state he governs the same advantages he has had?

Joseph N Abraham MD, Lafayette LAWhen Governor Bobby Jindal gave the Republican response to President Obama in February, he talked about how his family had lived the American Dream.  His parents immigrated to America and by hard work and financial prudence, raised a family and educated them.  Bobby was proof of the Dream:  he, the son of humble immigrants had risen throught the ranks of government, to state and national appointments, to the US Congress, and now to serve as Governor of the State of Louisiana.

The only trouble is, he left out an essential part of his family's success story:  education.  Or more accurately, he left out higher education.  Without college degrees, his parents never immigrate to America.  Without college degrees, Bobby's parents cannot secure employment salaries large enough to provide a high-quality education-- Ivy League, and from there, a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford--  for Bobby to rise in his career.  Without those prestigious college degrees, Bobby doesn't get to rise through the ranks as he has.  And there's the rub: the Governor didn't attend any of our Louisiana colleges.

Our schools weren't good enough for him.

That's not a slam on the Governor; it's a slam on higher education in Louisiana.  Our colleges aren't very good.  People say there are too many colleges in Louisiana; my response is, there aren't enough good colleges in Louisiana.  So Governor Jindal went off to Brown and Oxford. 

Without higher education none of this happens, and Bobby might be hawking mangoes on the streets of New Delhi.  So here's my question:  Governor, why you, but not us?

Bobby Jindal, Governor LouisianaHow can you deny the state you lead the same advantages that you had? How can you stand in front of the young people of Louisiana, as the product of tremendous educational advantages, as the epitome of the American Dream only because of higher education; and in effect say to them, "I got mine. Lotsa luck getting yours."

Governor, it makes no sense.  Do you really believe in the American Dream?

Because everything you are talking about right now belies what you say about the American Dream.  You want to cut higher education in Louisiana 20% this year, and another 20% next year.  Our colleges weren't good enough for you in 1988; now you're telling us they'll be good enough for our young people after 40% budget cuts?

Governor, you can't really expect us to accept a double standard can you, one set of advantages for you, and a (much) lesser set of advantages for our young people?

Here's an interesting statistic for you to consider, Governor.  In 1985, the Louisiana population was 4.4M.  Since then, the United States has grown 34%.

Louisiana's population is still 4.4M.

That's because our best and our brightest, anyone with a brain, gets out as fast as they can.  We produce enough people, we produce enough talented people.

But they leave.

Governor, without strong colleges we cannot have strong schools.  Without strong schools, we cannot have strong colleges.

And without strong education, Louisiana is going nowhere.

Please, Bobby-- please.  Don't reap the benefits of your education, and then deny our children an education of their own.