I would like to thank all of you who came out to support our call to take back public education in Louisiana at the Rally this Saturday. I spoke with many parents and teachers (in both public and private schools) about their concerns about the federal Common Core Curriculum, and informed them of many other goings on at the Louisiana Department of Education. I explained just tiniest fraction of the issues I’ve covered over the past two years and I literally saw jaws dropping open in disbelief. Most parents and teachers have been oblivious to what has been going on with education in our State, but they are starting to wake up and ask questions, and for that I am especially thankful.
As I said during my speech to close out the rally, we must engage our political leaders, and ask them the hard questions that they have never been asked. They have lived a life of legislative leisure, ignoring any opposition and critiques of the policies that have been handed to them by non-parents; by outsiders; by corporations and wealthy individuals seeking to profit from our children and our state. I asked you to contact these leaders that have pledged to represent our interests and ask them real questions, to go beyond the pat talking points John White literally delivers to their doorsteps, and inboxes. One of you did and I received this transcription of the event.
From a parent who called his BESE representative:
“Chas Roemer (District 6 BESE Representative) just returned my call. I left a message for him to please call me, but I did not tell him what I wanted to discuss. My goal was to express to him my concerns about Common Core Standards.
After our ‘conversation’, I can say that Mr. Roemer is a person who is elected by the people BUT who does not want to listen to the people.
He stated that they are trying to create a “workforce” that can compete with the world.
When I asked when we went from educating our children to creating a “workforce“, he stated that they needed to create skilled workers.
Again, how is that the purpose of education?
When I asked why we are adopting a standard that has no textbooks, proven testing, or curricula, he told me that they were giving each district the power to do that.
When asked why he was just giving the standard rhetoric, which is all we seem to get from him concerning Common Core, he started yelling at me and wanted to know where I got my information.
When I stated that myself and my wife have been researching this, he stated that what you read on the internet is false information.
He started actually yelling at me about how he didn’t have to listen to me.
Yes, I’ll admit it; I did raise my voice back and said he is an elected official and that it is his job to listen to me. He then said if I have a problem then run for the BESE board where we could debate the issue, and then he hung up on me.
This man obviously does not want to hear from anyone that does not agree with him.”
My thanks and admiration goes out to the parent who took this necessary first step. However this was just a first step, a first blow in what will be a much longer battle. Even now John White, Bobby Jindal, and their media allies are coordinating attacks on parents and students, calling them “populists” and special interests, tea party fanatics, and crazies in an attempt to marginalize them; to marginalize us. Chas Roemer’s reaction is what you should expect from any of John White’s allies, and Jindal’s puppets. They are incapable of defending these policies because they don’t understand them, because they are indefensible, and because no one has ever dared ask them too. They are incapable of answering these questions because they do not allow dissent, they do not allow discussion. Even on BESE, 9 of the 11 members all vote in lockstep with John White and Bobby Jindal’s agenda on every single issue. Look closely the next time you attend a BESE meeting and you will see tiny strings attached to these nine that travel all the way to the Governor’s mansion and up to the 5th floor of the Claiborne building where John White holds court with his entourage of out-of-state henchchildren.
The sad part of the whole exchange between Chas Roemer, and one of his constituents he was sworn to represent, is that even if this person were elected to BESE (as Lottie Beebe and Carolyn Hill have) Chas Roemer, in his role as BESE president, would still not allow them to speak or discuss these issues. The only solution I can offer to deal with Chas and so many puppets like him is to run out own candidates to replace them. Chas has served on the BESE board long enough. He is obviously overburdened having to listen or discuss issues with his constituents. The only person he’s had to represent up until now was Bobby Jindal.
We will run or support a candidate against Chas or anyone he endorses in district 6. It is time a parent, not a lawyer without any kids in the public schools, represents other parents. I encourage all parents with children in our public schools to consider running for BESE in the next election and replace these phonies like Chas Roemer and Kira Orange Jones that use BESE as a stepping stone in their careers, not as one of the most important jobs in state government, looking after our children.
Hey Chas, any guesses which district I live in?
Now get out there and have yourselves a little puppet show!
As I promised at the Rally, here is a list of resources you can use to contact relevant legislators and representatives:
Here is the link to find your legislators if you don’t already know who they are or have their contact info. http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/FindMyLegislators.aspx
Here is the house education committee: http://house.louisiana.gov/H_Cmtes/H_CMTE_ED.asp
Here is the Senate Education Committee: http://senate.la.gov/Education/Assignments.asp
Here are the BESE members: http://bese.louisiana.gov/about-bese/bese-members
And here is a listing of the Governor’s staff/policy advisors. Stafford Palmieri is the education liaison.
You might also try contacting your local superintendents and local school board meetings as well as the BESE meetings for voicing your concerns. All of those folks will communicate your dissatisfaction to LDOE and John White.
Not sure who your BESE rep is, or which district you want to consider making a run for? Here’s an easy reference map.
You will probably note that the “member’s at large” portion (Jindal appointees) is outdated for at least two of the members. I suppose they are trying to say it doesn’t really matter who fills those spots, they might as all say Jindal Proxy votes.