No Confirmation for John White

In life, we often pray for opportunity to come our way. Just as I have, I am certain that some of you have faced an opportunity that you didn’t take only to regret it later. This is an opportunity that the people of Louisiana cannot afford to miss. It has been confirmed that whether BESE addresses the appointment of a superintendent of education, or continues to neglect their responsibility and duty as an elected body, John White will be summoned to face a Senate confirmation. This process will begin in the Senate Governmental Affairs committee. If five members of the Read More …

How does it feel Rep. Amedee?

On Tuesday, March 7, 2017, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) approved the new Louisiana Student Standards for Science with a 9-0 vote. A committee was established to review and establish the new standards. My guess is that the members of the review committee were carefully selected to guarantee a predetermined recommendation, and the sole dissenter was an unexpected anomaly. Since the beginning of the process, there has been much controversy surrounding public approval over the selection of the standards; mostly surrounding the presentation of the Theory of Evolution, Global Warming and the absence of any alternative theories. Read More …

The Day The Music Died.

On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, the Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education in an historic tie breaking vote cast by Vice-President Pence. I refer to this day as “The Day The Music Died,” for reasons that aren’t that obvious, but you will see the connection when I discuss a number of bills that have been filed in Congress. For folks who haven’t figured out what is going on, I will provide a brief history of education reform and where we will likely be headed during the next four to eight years. I also want to emphasize that I Read More …

A Fair and Equitable Accountability Plan

As you know, the current accountability system has created a number of inequities in our state from the classroom to the state level. In reviewing the presentation provided on the proposed accountability system, I fear that these inequities will not only continue, but also be exacerbated. While there is still a considerable amount of disagreement among the commission in regards to what the final plan should look like. I want to take a moment to offer an alternative model. If you like this model, please don’t hesitate to contact your principals, superintendents, BESE members and Supt. John White. Let’s start Read More …

Opt Outs: Kudos to Bossier Parish Superintendent

Public school parent and advocate, Jeremy Langston, has been a member of the coalition to end Common Core, and the education reforms that accompany it, for several years. As always, he keeps an open line of communication with his superintendent, school board members, legislators and other members of the coalition. Just as he did last year, he took the initiative to contact his local superintendent regarding the soon to be upon us, state assessments. He sent the following email. On Tue, Dec 13, 2016 at 4:40 PM J. Langston Mr. Smith, Good evening. I hope this email finds you settled Read More …

Choice vs Choose vs Chosen

I find that there are two types of salesmen. Those who are committed to determining the customer’s needs and filling them; and those who determine what you need, then up-sell to something more expensive. These salesmen are committed to filling their own needs, and they do that by steering you to the more profitable item. They seem to offer choices, but they choose for you. It has been said that the education reform agenda is a giant bipartisan effort to destroy public education. I have believed that wholeheartedly until some time around mid-October of this year. I had been participating in Read More …

Selling the Narrative

There was a time when journalists dreamed of publishing an expose’ that would catapult them to the top of the profession. I’m not saying that they don’t exist, anymore, but I believe they are rare. There is a disturbing trend in news media that I believe is the direct result of corporate takeover. There are very few small independent media outlets that are able to report without corporate influence to shape the agenda. To an extent, even the locally owned media is subjected to leverage from corporate advertisers. In recent weeks, there has been much discussion about the Every Student Read More …

ESSA Advisory Blog

There has been much hoopla in the media about Governor Edwards’ ESSA Advisory Council and how some feel as though its intention is to cause havoc in the department of education, and it appears in direct conflict with the ESSA forums being conducted by Supt. John White. The fact remains that ESSA not only guarantees, but requires input from all stakeholders, and that includes the governor. In addition, there are other forums seeking input from stakeholders being conducted by teacher organizations, as well. What I want to do here is encourage each and every person who has a stake in Read More …

Hensgens and Geymann score one for the team.

On Wednesday, April 27th, the House and Governmental Affairs committee of the Louisiana Legislature heard HB-473, a bill submitted by Representative Bob Hensgens related to BESE Ethics. The bill has a history in the House. In the 2014 regular session, former representative, Brett Geymann, filed the bill which quickly gained momentum in the House, but when it got to the Senate, it was killed by former governor Bobby  Jindal’s cronies. In the 2015 session, the bill was reintroduced by Geymann’s friend, and ally, Rep. Bob Hensgens. The bill had a strong likelihood of passage, but ultimately became the leverage that Read More …

Opt-Out 2016: Parents, Know Your Rights

It is Springtime in Louisiana, and for teachers, students and parents, that is an indicator that statewide assessment are just around the corner. As many of you know, last year’s assessments were marred by a growing number of parents protesting against the chosen assessment known as PARCC. This movement wasn’t, and still isn’t, limited to Louisiana. The resistance to statewide assessment has grown exponentially across the country, largely driven by opposition to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the two primary assessment instruments developed by Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). Experts Read More …