Beyond Bricks BESE candidate forum tonight at Woodlawn High School for district 6

Come out tonight to see me and the 4 other candidates for district 6 battle it out on a stage for your votes for the upcoming October 24 primary election.

Millions of dollars is being spent by PAC’s funded by out of state billionaires like the Waltons and Eli Broad. This may be one of your last chances to hear my vision of what our public education system needs and what we could accomplish without the hedge fund managers that brought about the Great Recession telling us what they think our public education system should look like.

Come support me as I discuss ending Common Core and Louisiana’s obsession with standardized tests we never see or use.

Let’s take back our public education system for our children. I can’t do this without your help and support.

Registration starts at 5:45.
Doors open at 6:00.
Event is scheduled intil 7:30 but I will be around before and after to talk to voters and provide campaign materials.


Jason France

Forum Registration Link

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BESE Campaign News as of 9/28/15

I want to apologize to my regular readers of the blog.  I have been remiss with  my postings of late and there are a lot of great stories to write about.  However one of the biggest potential stories is the campaign I am working on now, my own, and it’s been keeping me very busy.

Some curious and wonderful events have transpired that most of you are not aware.  For starters I made my candidacy to BESE official.  I am on the October 24th ballot.  That’s just 4 weeks away folks.

In addition the incumbent, Chas Roemer, announced at the last minute (during the qualifying period) that he would not be seeking re-election for a third term.  This announcement was made a few hours after I registered my candidacy.  I’m not sure if the two are related, but I like to think so.  I have not been easy on Chas these last few years and I had plenty of material I was saving up to use on him in the primary had he chosen to run.

This last minute announcement of the incumbent not seeking re-election lured three new challengers to the race for district 6.  One of these challengers is backed by business and industry and Roemer.  All three are relative unknowns, just as myself and my original campaigning counterpart.

This race could be very interesting.  District 6 is a very conservative district by the numbers, by the way it was gerrymandered, although not all parishes and people are aligned that way. Public sentiment is very anti-common core, especially among conservatives, and I was one of the very first people in our state to speak out against Common Core publicly, and certainly the first person in my race.

In addition, a new group called “FlipBESE” has formed with parent activists across the state which has honored me with their endorsement.  FlipBESE has endorsed a candidate in every race in the state which is a stark contrast to the incumbent or challenger supported by the business and industry lobby “LABI”.  This year there is a unified message and slate of challengers to the business and vendor sponsored status quo and most races are head-to-head match-ups and with only one party on the ballot (Republican or Democrat.)

My race is the exception and will be one of the few requiring a run-off.  My race has 5 candidates.  Four candidates are Republicans and one candidate is a Libertarian.  The Libertarian candidate happens to be me.

My platform is to remove the destructive influence of the state and federal government and to restore our local education systems to our local governments.  Our state and federal governments don’t have a clue what’s going on in our schools, and they don’t seem to care.  Rather than working with children and parents they prefer to work with numbers and percentages.  They impose unjust and unreasonable burdens on our local systems at the behest of lobbyists and politicians far removed from our children and our communities.  I believe we need to limit their influence to whatever extent we can.  BESE is charged with overseeing the state department of Education, and as a BESE member I aim to turn the department around to have a look at itself, and what it is doing wrong, and to leave our local districts alone.

Rather than the top down, authoritarian approach to education that has led us down a road of ruin, I will encourage a collaborative one, where school districts tell the state what they believe works and what they think they need in terms of support.

We have delivered hundreds of signs and push cards to our supporters.  After making those purchases and the qualifying fee we are running low on funding and could use all the help you can spare.  If you planned to donate to the campaign, but were just waiting for the right time to do it, now is that time.  We won’t be able to efficiently and effectively spend money in the days before the election, so any last minute mailings or PR needs to be planned and purchased ASAP.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support (verbal, financial and volunteer work.)  We would not have made it this far without you, and now we are in the final stretch.  We actually have a pretty decent shot of making the run-off and winning this contest.  Please do what you can, especially if you live in district 6 or have have friends or relatives that do.

Jason France

Below are the links to volunteer or contribute:

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Louisiana Charters Are by Far the Worst According to 2011 8th-grade NAEP Anaysis


People take John White and LDOE at their word that RSD is doing outstanding. Independent analysis continues to show otherwise. RSD is not a separate agency from LDOE, it is a part of it.

We would never consider taking a teacher’s word, alone, as proof they were the best teacher in the state. We don’t let principals evaluate their schools for us and tell us how great they are or if they are struggling. We don’t let any other districts in the state evaluate themselves except RSD, which is always self-evaluated as outstanding and revolutionary, every year. Yet even with all these “vast improvements” it still ranks at the bottom of our state by just about any positive metric you can find. And that, my friends, is before we even touch on all the scams they pull like exiting 10% more of their 9th grade cohorts out of the country than the sister, parish run district, colocated in New Orleans. That means that their grade rates, which are worst in the state, are a minimum of 10% lower than they’ve claimed. If a 50% graduation rate is what you are looking for, then RSD might be for you. It will cost you though. In the first years after the storm per pupil amounts were more than 4 times the average per pupil amount in the state.

Originally posted on deutsch29:

One of the primary problems with Louisiana’s state-run, all-charter Recovery School District (RSD) is that the same state that is in control of data (and the official word on its data) is also committed to representing its state-run district in the best light.

For this reason, independent analysis of data on Louisiana’s schools is particularly valuable, especially when the researchers are able to procure data independently of the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE).

Such is the case of an analysis of student-level eighth-grade 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data by two researchers from the University of Arizona, Francesca Lopez and Amy Olson. The Lopez-Olson analysis is featured in this Network for Public Education (NPE) policy brief. Specifically, Lopez and Olson compared traditional public schools to see what notable differences there might be between charters and traditional schools on eighth-grade 2011 NAEP outcomes.

Lopez and Olson’s analysis of charters…

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Dirty Tricks in District 6

Kathy Edmonston, my opponent in the District 6 BESE race, just released a poll that her political consultant ran that shows her tied with the incumbent Chas Roemer, me at 6%, and the undecided at 44%. 

This is not the first time I’ve seen or heard these numbers.  The first time I heard them was Thursday August 20th when some of my friends reported that people were contacting them them about this poll, and telling them they needed to stop backing me.  They were being told that I was helping Chas Roemer (who has not declared his candidacy by the way) win, by staying in the race.  (Coincidentally? This was the same day I was endorsed by the NPE (Network for Public Education) and Diane Ravitch, which probably impacted the timing of their release of their poll numbers to me and my supporters.)

I was a bit hurt by this.  Kathy and I had agreed to run a clean campaign on issues and let the voters decided based on our stances, not money, or attacks, or dirty tricks.  I had agreed to this originally with her friend and longtime supporter on the Ascension Parish Republican PEC Kathryn Goeppelt, who asked me to pray with her over our lunch where we met to set some ground rules.  While Kathryn was clearly running the show and doing most of Kathy’s speaking for her at every event I attended, I subsequently confirmed this arrangement with Kathy Edmonston.

I had a significant online presence and following at the time and Kathy had nothing really on Facebook, or anywhere else.  I could have used my early advantage to question the timing of Kathy’s entrance into the race, a mere 4 months or so ago after it was rumored Chas would not be running. I did not even bring up very legitimate questions such as:

“Where we you the last  four years that I have fought Common Core, John White and Chas Roemer?”

“Where were you, Kathy, when I spoke at numerous Common Core rallies, testified and helped crush the data sharing nightmare that was inBloom?” 

“Where will you be when this race is over?”

I did not ask those questions and perhaps that was a mistake on my part.  I like to take people at their word and I tend to be too trusting of people who claim to be motivated by faith.  The first time I met Kathy at a rally this year (after the crawfish stunt I helped plan where legislators were given crawfish to counter the pink unicorn Lane Grigsby stunt) she told me she was entering the race because she had “prayed about it” and believed this was what God wanted her to do.  After how she and her folks have treated me I’m beginning to wonder if maybe she misheard?

You see, her political consultant Chris Comeaux, had contacted me in July and offered to help me with my campaign.  He claimed at the time to be a Libertarian, although I subsequently learned from Kathy he was a “well respected and very informed” Republican operative.  I did not know at the time he was already employed and being paid by Kathy Edmonston and Chris did nothing to give me any other impression except that he was a professional political consultant looking for work.  I shared perhaps too much with him, which I’m sure he then used against me to help further Edmonston’s campaign.  Her subsequent campaign expense report, filed later that month, showed that she had actually paid Comeaux at least as early as June 30th. . .

530 Lakeland
Baton Rouge, LA 70807
06/30/2015 Facebook Advertising $ 722.00

. . .well before before he contacted me with the below.

  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Jul 02, 2015 06:15 PM Message : Jason. My name is Chris Comeaux.
  • I’m a conservative/libertarian political consultant in Livingston Parish. I wanted to talk to you about your race for BESE
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Jul 02, 2015 06:18 PM
  • Message : I am Elbert Guillory’s consultant. I made all the videos that have made him a national figur
  • Sent to 2259784823 on Thu Jul 02, 2015 06:39 PM
  • Message : Hey Chris, sorry i missed your call.  I gave you a call back but must have missed you.  I will be available to chat until 7 tonight or perhaps we can touch base tomorrow?
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Jul 02, 2015 07:52 PM
  • Message : I think I can really help you
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Jul 02, 2015 07:51 PM Message : Can we get together in the next few days maybe?
  • Sent to 2259784823 on Thu Jul 02, 2015 08:35 PM Message : Ok sounds good.

Comeaux never revealed in text or over the subsequent phone call that he was working for Edmonston already but he discussed strategy and offered to make a video for me like he had done for Senator Elbert Guillory who he did mention was one of his clients.  (Other clients he’s told me about also include Barry Ivy, Lenar Whitney, Jeff Landry and Beth Mizell.)

The next time I heard from Chris was when he called me August 20th to tell me he had run this poll, and that the best thing for me was to drop out of the race.  To say I was a bit taken aback was an understatement.

I realized at this point I had been scammed. 

Chris Comeaux then claimed I was ruining Kathy’s chances by staying in, and he hinted that if I dropped out now there might be a more professional team waiting in the wings to help me out with a different campaign – if only I dropped out of this one.  I asked him repeatedly when he started working for Kathy and if she knew he was contacting me this way.  He declined to answer but he continued to suggest I had a future in politics – if only I dropped out now.

  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 
  • Message : I did a poll on your race
  • Sent to 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015  PM Message : And?
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 
  • Message : Kathy and Chas are tied at 25% each
  • You’re at 6%
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 
  • Message : I’d like to sit down with you and talk about all of this.
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 
  • Message : You may accidentally ensure Chas’ victory by running
  • Sent to 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : I was running first. The same could be said about Kathy.
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : But people that know you say you are very smart and you have a future if you had some help from experienced people and that’s why I’m reaching out to you
  • Sent to 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : So does Kathy know you are trying to get me to drop out?
  • Sent to 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : Or have you gone rogue?
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : Unless you raise 100k all you can possibly do is help Chas win
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : I’m not offering you anything on this race. I’m talking about reshaping your future
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : I’m just saying, think objectively on what you are really doing
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : You almost appear like a plant from Lane, although I know that isn’t true
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : But do you see that by running with no money that you’re just helping Chas win
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 
  • Message : And I want to see you make some moves and pop back up in next couple years in a different role with a professional campaign team
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : Everyone wins. Right now, only Chas & Lane will win
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 
  • Message : You’re helping Lane
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 
  • Message : You don’t mean to be
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 
  • Message : Chas win. Lane is applauding you
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015  PM
  • Message : I do want Kathy to win and will go help her
  • Sent to 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015  PM
  • Message : So does Kathy know you are contacting me?
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015  PM
  • Message : I don’t know

I reached out to some of Kathy’s team I knew before her run to ask about this Chris Comeaux guy, but they did not respond, so I contacted Kathy (8/25/15) to ask her.  Kathy was very guarded, not at all what I expected from an “ally”, and refused to answer.  I went from thinking I was going to be able to warn her that this guy was scamming her behind her back, to knowing he was following her orders.  I continued to ask about Chris, and when he started working for her, and got this response:

  • 8/25/2015
  • mo [Comeaux] is a well respected and very informed person in the Republican Party in this state.  I have been pleased in my dealings with him. I know that he an other Republicans that he works with are most interested in getting Chas Romer (sic) off the Bessie (sic) board.

When I asked Kathy Edmonston if she authorized him to contact me, to pretend to offer his services while claiming to be a Libertarian and while already working for her, she did not respond directly.  Instead, 20 minutes later, I got a call from none other than Chris Comeaux. 

The first thing out of  Comeaux’s mouth was: “I never told you directly I was looking to work for you.  Don’t you think the best thing you could do for yourself and your career is to drop out now?”

I shared some rather choice words with him, that got the attention of some of my coworkers, told him never to contact me again, and hung up.  He then tried to call me back again and again but I refused to answer and I suppose he eventually got the message.

I then got this final message from Kathy Edmonston before she published her “internal poll” on the Facebook site that Comeaux had no doubt set up for her.

“We agreed in the beginning that our objective as to remove Chas from BESE.  That is still my objective and I still hope that we can both can work to that end.”

When I first met Kathy I thought she was different than most politicians, and how they operate, and that we could work together.  I’d hoped that she was.  In the end, it looks like all that makes her different is different large donors. 

Jason France

Candidate for BESE District 6

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Hurricane Katrina Truths

The success of schools in New Orleans is more fiction than fact.  People in the United States prefer stories with a positive ending, where the good guys win, challenges are face head-on and overcome, and everyone lives happily ever after.  For too many kids in New Orleans, this is not the truth.

The improved matriculation rate is almost entirely due to using a new matching file.  You will see that over time this rate will no longer increase  The old rate did not include all Louisiana colleges or any out of state colleges.  You will see the largest increases in the better schools – because their best students were going out of state to flee the disaster that Bobby Jindal has made our Higher Education System into.  For now, this number has served its purpose by making many of you think New Orleans (and Louisiana for that matter) has achieved a miracle under John White.

The Recovery School District has been exiting as many as 18% of their 9th grade cohorts out of state or country.  This removes them from being calculated in School Performance scores, removes the impact of them actually dropping out, and raises graduation rates.  This rate has been steadily increasing for years to show increased performance to impress folks out of state looking to implement an RSD type solution.

The New Orleans system is divided between haves and have-nots.  The selective admission system has grown and done well.  The RSD competes not on quality but fancy advertising to draw new students – according to a survey of their own principals.

The population of New Orleans has changed.  It is less poor than prior to the storm as many of the poorest families were unable to return because they lacked the resources or any suitable housing.  There are no more housing projects in New Orleans and a lot less low income housing.  Comparing the two populations is not appropriate if you recognize poverty as a factor impacting performance.  By bringing up the poverty level of New Orleans in a recent op-ed, John White clearly does.

State Standardized Test Scores have been lowered by as much as 15% to improve the performance of RSD.  In other words, a student performing at Basic required 15% fewer correct answers than prior to John White’s arrival to achieve a “Basic” score, or about 40% of the material on our LEAP and iLEAP tests.

T (turnaround) schools occur every year and these schools do not appear in the “official statistics.  There is a perpetual population of students getting shuffled around and not being counted or considered in the success or failure of New Orleans schools.

Families often do not get their “choice”.  The choice selection is made by a computer program, not families.  Often the children are placed at schools very far away and require hours of busing to and from school.  Families with multiple children often find their children assigned to schools on opposite sides of the city making parental participation a nightmare or all but impossible.  Some parents report waking their kids up at 4am to get them ready for a bus that won’t bring them home until 7 at night – when there is only time for homework, a bite to eat, maybe a bath, and bed.  This forced separation destroys families.  Families that don’t like the choices assigned to them have the option of standing out unsheltered in the 100+ degree heat to try and make changes.  Thousands of families are forced to do this every year while Recovery School District Staff lounge in their luxury, climate controlled, downtown offices across from the Superdome.

Can you handle the truth?

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Network for Public Education Endorses Jason France for Louisiana BESE


For those of you who didn’t already know, I received a very treasured set of endorsements today by NPE (The Network for Public Education) and legendary education champion Diane Ravitch, as well as my great friends and allies Dr. (and teacher blogger and author) Mercedes Schneider and New Orleans education activist Karran Harper Royal.

I am very proud and honored to receive this, and it could not have come at a better time.

Please take the time to read this and pass it along to your friends and family.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

In the last two state board elections in Louisiana, millions of dollars flowed to candidates from corporate reformers, mostly from out of state. They elected board members who support privatization and high-stakes testing. Now the people of Louisiana have a chance to elect Jason France, a oublic school parent who knows the inner workings of the state education department (having worked there). Jason needs every dollar he can raise to win. If you want to help him, his website is I debated his opponent, Chas Roemer, a few years ago in Lafayette, Louisiana, and found him to be a true believer in vouchers, charters, letter grades for schools, and high-stakes accountability for teachers.

The Network for Public Education is proud to endorse Jason France for Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), District 6. Jason France, also know as the education blogger Crazy Crawfish, is a former Louisiana…

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Now this is more like it. . . Blogging to Victory!

I want to thank all of my new and return supporters who came through last night.  As a result of your generosity I pulled in an additional $500 in donations and pledges.  I also picked up two new volunteers I hope to be able to leverage.  This phenomenon, and some recent conversations I’ve had with constituents and supporters, triggered some thoughts. . .

People need something to serve as a conversation starter about education issues with their friends and neighbors.  In some cases it might be a sign, or a pushcard sitting on a table, in other cases it might be an email or post about what is going on with Louisiana in terms of public education, and what we can do to fix it.

For quite a few months I’ve abandoned my blog in favor of face to face meetings and behind the scenes planning sessions.  Those will be ongoing, but I realize I’ve been sitting on my primary resource for reaching voters and impacting change, my blog.  I listened to a lot of political consultants and enemies who claimed fundraising could not be accomplished from online contributions, and that blogs are only read by a small subset of the electorate and the vast majority don’t know what’s going on and can be easily swayed by simple messages and false promises and propaganda.  As it was put to me by one of our chief opposition leaders – and I’m paraphrasing only slightly based on questions I put to them and their answers:

“…whomever has the most money to get their message out is the winner in this day and age.  It doesn’t really matter what your message is, who you are, what you record is, or what you stand for.  Right and wrong doesn’t matter.  Truth can be bought.  All the messages are lies and the best politicians are the best liars.  To win you just want to be the best funded one.”

Maybe this is true?  This election will provide some evidence to verify this claim or refute it.

The truth is our schools are under siege by the Louisiana Department of Education, it’s unqualified and callous leader, John White, and his cadre of inexperienced minions.  Anyone who raises and objection or steps out of line is punished by a department that is driving our education system into the ground with its junk analytics and criminally disruptive policies.  

I don’t want you to take my word for it.  Please go ask your neighbors, your local school board members, your local superintendents, your principals.  Ask them off the record, where other ears cannot hear.  You might just get some truth and begin to understand the depth of the problems we face and get a glimpse of the tyranny of the Louisiana Department of Education.

This agency needs a new leader, many new leaders in fact.  It needs a new direction and ethos based on support, encouragement and collaboration, not the masochistic punishment based system riddled with tragically flawed “metrics” that prey disproportionately on the weakest members of our society, our poorest children, our children with disabilities, our children that need the most support and guidance and get the least under the guise of “choice” and “accountability”.

If you believe as I do, that John White should be fired and the LDOE restructured to support our schools, school districts, parents and teachers please consider passing along this post, making a donation or volunteering to help.

My campaign website is

donations can be made

write me at

To find out which district you are in and which candidate you should support to protect our schools, teachers, and children please visit:FlipBESE

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