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 …

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 …

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 …

Ed Reform Part I: Blame the teachers

Ever since the Reagan administration sold the public on the idea that the education system was failing our students, there has been countless misguided attempts to identify the source of a problem that doesn’t exist. Under the 2nd Bush administration, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) attempted to redirect financial resources at the subgroups of the student population in an effort to “close the gap.” The effect of these efforts have been measured by a multitude of standardized assessments. After more than ten years, these efforts proved ineffective. The gap not only wasn’t closed, but became larger. Under the Read More …

The Almighty LABI

In the last five years of his reign of terror over Louisiana, Bobby Jindal masterfully executed the demonizing of professional educators and the destruction of public school education as we know it. Driven by greed, he convinced legislators to facilitate the privatization of public education through the proliferation of predatory charter schools and by creating an invalid method of evaluating teachers in an effort to give the appearance of a failing system to justify privatization. Sounds like a powerful governor, right? Not really. He had help. Today, the Louisiana legislature is closing on its second special session of the year. Read More …

Small Victories for Education

The 2016 regular session has just a little more than a week left, but for the most part, the bills addressing education concerns are done. Looking back at the 2016 Regular Session, it is pretty clear that the gap between party lines is much larger than in years past. Though newly elected governor, John Bel Edwards, did manage to get a few of the bills on his agenda passed, it was still a very difficult year, for him. With bills addressing vouchers, charter schools, academic standards and teacher evaluations, the governor’s education package suffered many blows from the beginning. Nearly Read More …

Update on New Teacher Evaluation and other happenings

May 3rd, 4th and 5th were probably the most frustrating, disappointing and exciting days that I’ve spent in the legislature. Tuesday, May 3rd, the House Education Committee heard a bill submitted by committee chairperson, Nancy Landry. This bill would allow a school district to reduce a teacher’s salary under certain circumstances. Landry submitted the bill at the request of Lafayette Parish School Board member, Justin Centanni. Lafayette parish, at one time, had an alternative charter school for older students that ran on a 12 month calendar. LPSB provided the teachers and increased their pay accordingly for the extra months worked. 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 …