That did not go as well as I’d hoped, but I suppose as well as I expected. The BESE meeting was a hot mess with CCSS not being started till almost 8 at night, after John White sprung on the audience that had been waiting for 12 hours that he had a 10 minute presentation to deliver (that took 10 minutes to even load) and an additional 45 minutes to cover what seemed like 20 or 30 slides. That was a mockery of the democratic process. I had learned that John White was summoning companies like Exxon, and faux parents groups funded by Bill Gates, not local parents, like Stand for Children, Louisiana to testify. It must be nice for people like Rayne Martin (a former RSD and LDOE employee) to be able to do that as part of your very high paid job. Perhaps as good as Holly Boffy’s job as a paid CCSSO consultant promoting Common Core on the state’s Board of Education. Apparently Boffy confessed at a recent meeting with local constituents that she pays her mortgage with the money she gets from CCSSO. But this is apparently no more of an ethics issue than Kira Orange Jones working as the Louisiana TFA (Teach for America) recruitment director, and on BESE, where they are passing large funding allotments to recruit TFA teachers, either.

White presented his presentation as “facts.” He led off with misrepresenting a recent study about adult preparedness compared to other nations as proof of our incompetence as a State and a Nation. He repeated frequently we were the third from the bottom in education standards in the 3rd from the bottom development nation evaluated.

As usual White completely misrepresented the report, declaring that our poverty and social inequities have nothing to do with the disparities between the nations. Actually the exact opposite is true.

Interestingly, the data show no relationship between a country’s average literacy skills and the impact of social background on those skills, suggesting that high average proficiency does not need to come at the expense of social inequities. Japan, and to a lesser extent Australia, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, combine above-average performance with a high level of equity. France, Germany, Poland and the United States all show both below-average performance and large social disparities.

As usual, White is entitled to his own “facts” in his own backyard.

One of the most charming comments came from one of the two Lincoln Parish curriculum experts. When asked about teacher attrition in his parish by James Garvey, the rep from Lincoln reported that his parish was gifted with the blessing of a significant a teacher attrition problem, driving out scores of bad teachers who don’t want to achieve for their students. Are there any Lincoln Parish teachers that would like to concur with this assessment?

One of the most embarrassing moments was also made by James Garvey to this same teacher I believe. He asked if he found parents complaining a lot about the Socialism and Communism and anti-capitalist subject matter. To which the math teacher replied, uh, I teach math so that doesn’t come up a lot. Garvey then asked if this pro CCSS teacher had heard a lot of parents complaining about inappropriate sexual curriculum, to which the teacher responded basically, still a math teacher, that doesn’t come up much.

Garvey asked numerous questions throughout the meeting to various Common Core supporters, as if from a list of questions he’d been asked to bring up so his Common Core allies could nail them home and score. That might have been a more effective tactic if he hadn’t asked a representative from Board of Regents to comment on the remark that the standards were developmentally inappropriate as defined by child psychologists. He said to this Board of Regents Rep, you’re a doctor, aren’t you? [not of child psychology] What do you think? This struck the woman as strange but, I give her credit for trying to answer the question, which seems to imply anyone with a doctorate in anything is an expert on all things. She mentioned a number of different doctors and people who had reviewed the standards in our state [none of whom were child psychologists] to which Garvey replied, those are Doctors? Good, he said nodded approvingly. She said, well, Dr James Madden, and uh. . . she mentioned a few more random names. It just so happens I had Dr. Madden in college at LSU, and have seen him around the department of education numerous times and chatted with him several times when he was hanging around at LDOE. Dr. Madden was my calculus teacher, and he is a math professor, about as far away from a child psychologist as you can get.

So what this was a farce. When I finally got a chance to speak I’ll admit I was a bit fatigued by waiting all day after getting up with my daughter at 6 am in the morning. When I was interrupted during my 2 minutes to justify how my comment was Common Core related I was a bit thrown, because I had been speaking to a topic that was already covered by three previous speakers. This forced me to juggle a bit and I was sloppy trying to bring my thoughts back together. I had reports that John White was getting his network leaders to bring 5 teachers or reps from each of their regions. They did this, but all that did is drown out the voices of parents trying to finally be heard over the din of the corporate machine arraigned against them. I’m not usually a conspiracy theorist, but I think everyone who attended that meeting on behalf of their children and without the urging of LDOE and related organizations felt the oppression in real and personal terms.

Parents and teachers we can’t do this alone. Hundreds of you confirming you are going to the meeting, but not showing up is not going to do it. If this is something you feel strongly about, if you care about your children, your neighbors children and grandchildren and believe what is going on is wrong, now is the not the time to leave the heavy lifting to someone else. You need to contact your legislators. I am now more convinced than ever that BESE is a pointless mission except to make a public statement. Those folks are largely bought and paid for and powerless to reverse the Corporate Common Core Curriculum. No parents there were against high standards. Standards that are not age appropriate are not rigorous, they are ridiculous. Standards that are 2 years behind the math we teach now do not raise the bar, they lower it to the least common denominator (a math term CCSS proponents must have never learned.)

Chaos is not necessary, but it is desired by John White. While we were there BESE approved by a 9/2 margin a charter operator in a B+ district the local board and superintendent rejected, and which had significant financial questions and a dubious track record in other states. The ultimate objective of John White and reformers is destroying all public schools and converting them into profit centers for corporations and they are only too happy to tell any lie, and endanger any children they need to, to do it.

I heard a lot of bashing on school districts that did not adopt Common Core before the standards were mandated by the state. Those districts and superintends, in their dysfunctional; “fiefdoms” as John White as said at conference in DC recently, are at fault. The parents, teacher and children who are suffering by the hurried implementation be damned. If we accept this as the status quo for our children and our state, then so are we all.

Some children are steak, some have to be the hamburger


My thanks to BESE member Lottie Beebe for putting this on the agenda (I hear she’s a doctor so I wonder why Garvey doesn’t ask her opinion more about everything. . .  he sits right next to her) and to all the stalwart parents and champions who did show and support the speakers or speak their peace.  I am proud to know you and humbled by your actions.

13 thoughts on “Common Core Rally – BESE update for Oct 15 2013

  1. Yep, this about sums it up! Thank you for an honest article! The legislator is where change is going to come from. The BESE meeting was a dog and pony show of all those who have a financial interest with CC implementation. Mr. White was ‘tweeting’ all day about how great he is rather than listen to the legitimate concerns of those testifying before him, SHAMEFUL! I waited 9 hours to be heard! Parents will NOT GIVE UP! We fight on! Our only interest is the well being of OUR children!

  2. Not only that, but considering that the BESE board has unlimited funds and fancy PowerPoint presentations with hours of graphs and tables, but we were cut off at the knees when they only ‘allowed’ a two minute rebuttal!

    I cannot put into words my anger and frustration. I was bulldozed and fatigued, made to look like a fool, and then ignored.

    We must find a judge to file an injunction to cease…I see this as the only answer.

    RalphPierre @

    1. I am totally with you, Ralph. I am a combination of depressed and infuriated at the same time. They literally insulted and denigrated everyone there who was voicing a problem and acted like it was their fault or of no concern to them and they had nothing to do with it. They are a joke and you could see all the moneyed interests rabidly defending their kill, salivating over the still bleeding carcass of public education.

  3. Spot on analysis of the meeting. It was certainly eye-opening for me. Dog and pony, for sure. The obvious attempt by Garvey to belittle and undermine St. Tammany teachers made me so disgusted and infuriated. And of course, it was absolutely planned down to a science by having the opposition dangling all day to ensure they are exhausted and off their game, while the supporters were trotted in and out. I still think that we did well, considering. It was to be expected that what we said was going to fall on deaf ears. Sure, it was depressing but we will not be beaten down. We will continue to fight this!!!

  4. Did any of you at the BESE meeting last night notice what was missing from the rhetoric of every pro common core person/group (namely the Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Stand for Children, Exxon – Mobil, CABL, LABI, Board of Regents, etc.?

    None of them will address the cradle to grave data bases that are an integral part of the Common Core Initiative.

    Last night, while driving home, I finally realized why. How can you have “high standards” and at the same time have “low ” (in reality no) morals(sensitive, private information secretly collected/shared on children without parental knowledge and/or consent)? No matter how you spin it – it doesn’t fly. The fact that these standards are tied to various secret data bases reveals the stealth and immorality of the entire Common Core Initiative. Members of BESE, Bobby Jindal, John White – you can keep your untested, immoral, developmentally inappropriate, child data tracking Common Core Standards and the invasive, expensive PARCC Test for your own children( I feel sorry for them), but LEAVE OUR CHILDREN ALONE!

    The truth shown bright last night as the true advocates for children and teachers emerged. Thank you parents, grandparents, concerned citizens, Dr. Lottie Beebe, Ms. Carolyn Hill for your tireless efforts to protect our children from this ruthless reform regime. Your efforts go way beyond the walls of the Louisiana Purchase Room – Sadly, a perfect name for this BESE Board.

  5. I was actually expecting a new power point from John white. He gets his information as to what he should be dishonest about from garvey. Garvey hung around talking to myself and other parents for quite a long time after the St. tammany parish school board meeting on October 10th. It was obvious to me that he was on another ” fishing expedition” for John white. These clowns need to be dealt with. Parents I suggest you keep a power point of your own which lists every person and business that is for the abuse of our children. Deal with these people and businesses the way that they deserve to be dealt with… Parents, you know what to do. I will personally pass up the Exxon station etc…

  6. Where do the BESE members’ children go to school? Are any in private school and therefor relatively unaffected by CCSS?

    1. I believe Chas Roemer’s kids are in or were in private school their entire lives, as was Chas. I’m not sure where Garvey has his kids or if he has any. Not sure any of the other members have kids in pubic schools or have kids at all. Grandkids perhaps?

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