What REALLY happened at the BESE Special Meeting?

By now, most of you have awaken to the news that Gov. John Bel Edwards’ effort to derail Louisiana’s education progress was blocked by BESE. As is usually the case, the media has shown its loyalty to the education reform movement and either failed to notice that Wednesday’s special meeting continued after the highly publicized vote, or they chose not to report on it. Either way, they have failed to deliver the true outcome of the meeting and what lies beneath the picture perfect ending painted by BESE. It is clear that only a small privileged number of BESE members Read More …

CPSB’s Change Order Chaos

A few hours ago, I got off the phone with a Calcasieu Parish Police Juror who said he saw something on KPLC.com about the Police Jury committing $50,000 to help defray some unexpected expenses for a project at Prien Lake Elementary. The project will help to alleviate some of the traffic problems. I explained to him that there were some issues with the language of the original bid involving tree removals and dirt work, and a change order was submitted for the increased work. I told him that the Police Juror, Dennis Scott, had spoken to the school board and gave Read More …

Don’t fall for the White lies.

Parents across the nation have let it be known that they do not want their children subjected to standardized test.  In 2015, Louisiana parents initiated a statewide opt-out movement. With just weeks to go before testing, and under immense pressure from districts, Supt. John White agreed not to penalize schools with large opt-outs. Schools with 10% or more students opting out would receive the same score they received the previous year. Of course, schools with up to 10% were penalized, although technically the law didn’t allow penalties until 5%, but that’s another story. The most notable districts with opt-outs were Read More …

Slow your roll, Mr. White.

State education agencies across the nation have been preparing their waiver plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) passed in December 2015. A draft ESSA plan has been submitted to the governor for review, and Superintendent John White is pressing forward with intent to submit the plan to U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) in April. USDOE had originally issued a timeline of implementation with April as the deadline submission. That date was later extended to September. There has been much resistance to an April submission from the Accountability Commission, Superintendent’s Advisory, Louisiana Principal’s Association, Louisiana School Board Association, Louisiana Read More …

Off Contract And At Will

There’s an old saying that people use when they want to tell someone to do what they are tasked to do, or move on so someone else can. Maybe someone could help me remember? It might be of interest to the people of Louisiana that Superintendent of Education, John White, is now on his 14th month of working month to month (off contract) per the terms of his contract which expired January 11th, 2016. For a better understanding of what this means, I’ve included an excerpt from Revised Statute 17:21, down below. This statute addresses the Superintendent of Education. (Click here to 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 …

Growth/Achievement vs Left/Right

These days, it is hard to tell which political faction is pushing for the different components of education reform, but it is clear that the unified-bipartisan effort has fractured. The parting of ways is mostly due to the nomination, and subsequent confirmation, of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. It has become increasingly more clear to me that the main objective of conservative reformers is to implement the free-market model in education, divert taxpayer dollars to private entities, including religious organizations and as a result, segregate school populations by race and/or socio-economic status; with no obligation to prevent it from Read More …

To Opt Out, Or Not!

Spring will soon be upon us. I can tell because my inboxes are filling with questions about state assessments and opt-outs. I am happy to answer questions for anyone who takes the time to contact me, but it is easiest for me to just explain it here. I will provide you with the information regarding accountability, and leave it to you to make your own decision, as a parent. Common Core: As in every state that pushed back against Common Core, Louisiana is stuck with a rebrand of Common Core.  In the 2015 legislative session, a very lengthy, good-faith effort, Read More …

Governor’s Advisory Council Wrap Up

At approximately 1:30 PM, on February 23rd, the Governor’s Advisory Council on ESSA wrapped up the task set forth in the executive order issued by Governor John Bel Edwards. All that is left is a final draft of recommendations that will be assembled and delivered to the governor by his K-12 Advisor, Donald Songy. The final meeting was a bit more lengthy than the previous meetings. At times, it got bogged down in the details of the recommendations; mostly because of the presentation made by Stephen Parker of the National Governor’s Association (NGA). Parker is a Washington DC lobbyist for Read More …

An Open Letter to Senator Bill Cassidy

Honorable Senator Bill Cassidy 520 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510   Dear Senator Cassidy, I am writing to you to express my discontent with your recent votes and actions regarding education. Earlier this month, you voted to confirm Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. You did this even after receiving thousands of phone calls and emails from across the state asking you to oppose her. In addition, during a FaceBook “Town Hall,” you were bombarded with complaints about your support of DeVos. That video has received well over 20,000 views and more than 4500 comments; most of which Read More …