The LPB Common Core Cover-up Continues

Recently the producer of LPB’s monthly Louisiana Public Square, Kevin Gautreaux, reached out to me to address some concerns I raised on my blog about LPB’s recent show on Common Core. The show was horribly biased, you can view it here.

I wrote a post condemning the obvious one-sidedness of the whole production.

At best you could say the pre-recorded intro spots were balanced. The majority of the production most certainly was not.

Kevin tried to convince me that he was not aware that Maya Bennett was a Common Core advocate. I find that exceptionally hard to believe considering their own byline for her indicated as much.


Nevertheless, here is part of Kevin’s response to me.

I made an effort to include an equal number of pro-CCSS folks – LDOE rep and ExxonMobil Rep – and con-CCSS folks – Retired Educator and State Legislator. It was my understanding that Maya Bennett was not an advocate for the CCSS but invited to participate to address questions that would arise from teachers having difficulties with implementing the standards since that is what she does as a Teacher Leader. I agree that she was definitely an advocate.

Kevin Gautreaux, the producer for LPB’s monthly “Louisiana Public Square.

He agrees she was definitely an advocate. . .

Ya think?

I don’t think John White is as big an advocate of CCSS as Maya.

I wonder what finally gave it away?

Kevin needs to tell us who gave him the “understanding” that Maya was just an ordinary teacher. Kevin was gravely misled, or he is misleading us. There is no way the person that referred Maya to Kevin did not know of her background, which was easily googleable.

Kevin might also want to read LPB’s own bio of Maya on his website promoting this piece and Maya Bennett. Her title is Common Core teacher leader. Her title on the program is the same. How on earth could she not be considered an advocate??? Come on Kevin and LPB. Are you that stupid, or do you think we are that stupid?


Here’s the link to Maya’s Linkedin for additional goodies on her background as just an average Louisiana teacher.

Maya is a former Miss Teach for America, a Stand for Children All-star and literally the LDOE poster child for Common Core. She stars in an introductory video that LDOE produced and loaded to their CCSS Toolbox, (which will probably get more hits from my referral than the last year it’s been available for viewing because by most accounts I’ve heard the toolbox is a useless cruel joke used to torture teachers into believing LDOE wants to help them.

Link to LDOE video here: with their CCSS star Maya Bennett.

You know, just a random undecided teacher LPB decided to include to represent Louisiana teacher viewpoints.

Before this show I was not sold on the idea that there is a “Common Core conspiracy.” After watching this LPB show, which is supposed to represent the public, not a specific viewpoint as the moderator Beth Courtney did, as the majority pre-selected or moderator selected audience did, and as the panel selection obviously did, now I’m starting to wonder if maybe there isn’t more truth to that than I thought.

The proponents brought up the “conspiracy is ridiculous” argument themselves multiple times and derided it, but there is this manipulation of a public broadcasting station for private and governmental gain.

Methinks they doth protest too much.

What thinks thee?

30 thoughts on “The LPB Common Core Cover-up Continues

  1. Me thinks u r awesome supposed intelligent people have gone plain stupid when it comes to promoting this debacle. They see it slipping away so they r willing to put everything on the line, including their reputations.

  2. It was absurd. I’ve tried to get folks to talk together and have gotten through to some pro-common core folks and have heard their arguments but this was straight-up propaganda masquerading as journalism.

  3. Way to hold their feet to the fire, Jason. As I’ve said before, I didn’t watch the program but I could tell by the website alone just how biased LPB was and is.

    1. You can still watch it to see what I’m talking about. This isn’t about Common Core, this is about LPB serving state and corporate interests and not those of the public they are entrusted to serve. They are a PR machine for the wealthy and connected. Beth Courtney has pimped them out and musy be replaced. They have zero credibility, maybe even negative credibility after that fiasco.

  4. This makes me so angry. They would have known about Maya, if they’d done any due diligence on her. She always testifies in favor of Common Core and COMPASS, and against bad, lazy teachers all the time. She has very little teaching experience, and I can’t imagine how one would discover her in a search for an experienced, unbiased teacher with an opinion about Common Core.

  5. Do a records request; LPB is a state agency, right? Try to get the emails, the memos while the program was in pre-production. That should tell us all what he actually knew- or did not.

    From their website:

    Louisiana Public Broadcasting is a state network of six non-commercial television stations licensed to the Louisiana Educational Television Authority (LETA), established in 1971 by the Louisiana Legislature.

  6. I am shocked that Kevin presented his position falsely. I can add this to the conversation.

    Kevin called me initially to ask for my participation. I immediately agreed. He said he would call back with more information as to panel and structure. He called back couple weeks later (I may have the timing wrong) and told me that Ken Bradford and Maya would represent CCSS and I along with Steve Monaghan of LFT would be against. 4:2 right? The next communication I had was the official announcement that Rep. Geymann and EXXON were included and no mention of Steve. I had never spoken to Geymann so wasn’t sure how he would represent CCSS.

    I was told that an audience of approximately 30 people would be invited with an effort to have balance on the issue. Kevin also asked me if I knew a teacher he could interview for the opening piece. I recommended Dr. Schneider’s whom he immediately recognized and asked for her contact info.

    He said audience members would provide the questions. Typically when questions are asked, all members of the panel are invited to respond if they desire to. That was not the case although I pushed several times to jump in. When Bradford called me a “liar” about the writers of CCSS, the moderator should have followed up. I could have provided my source -NGA a website. However, a Rep. Geymann did a masterful job of supporting my position without directly challenging Bradford. One has to weigh the consequences of being silenced if too aggressive in a situation like this so neither of us made attempts to expose Maya, EXXON or Bradford for their political/professional paid connections to CCSS. All three are what I call paid shills for their benefactors. I pay my own expenses and am an independent expert on education.

    A ll in All , I am satisfied with the broadcast although I see they added commentary on the website but did not include me or Geymann.

    1. So really at this point Kevin has zero credibility.  He is perpetuating a lie and creating new ones to back it up. Didn’t you see Beth challenging you on many points even asking you if your position  was poor children couldn’t learn???  LPB is a joke, but not a funny one.

      Sent via the Samsung Galaxy Note® 3, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

  7. I discovered just yesterday that the Teacher Leader Cadre (Maya) is being financed through a federal grant to PARCC and SBAC. You may be aware that U.S.Ed is funding the development of the tests for both. That, in spite of their steadfast position that the federal government did not “create” CCSS or its national curriculum.

    I sent a FOIA today to LDOE for information relative to this initiative funded by U.S.DOE.

    Click to access ELC%20Guide%20for%20Policymakers-Final.pdf

    Page 3 above describes Louisiana involvement.

    I questioned the “contracts” approved by BESE at the last meeting that pays Louisiana “Teacher Leaders.” See agenda item here. I believe it added up to about $150,000. The contracts say federally funded. Now we know that these federal funds are laundered through PARCC. U.S.Ed has made no secret that PARCC and SBAC are funded by them and yet they say that Common Core does not represent federal standards/curriculum/tests.

    Click to access AF_2-2_LDE_Under_50K_Contract_Forms.pdf

  8. Lee , thank you for your work! You are quite the sleuth. Please create a blog, on this topic, with a brief narrative. I’d like to tweet and FB post your findings. Thx.

  9. Okay. A final clarification. My sentence, “It was my understanding that Maya Bennett was not an advocate for the CCSS but invited to participate to address questions that would arise from teachers having difficulties with implementing the standards since that is what she does as a Teacher Leader.” should have read “It was my understanding that Maya Bennett was not invited as an advocate for the CCSS but invited to participate to address questions that would arise from teachers having difficulties with implementing the standards since that is what she does as a Teacher Leader.” Of course, I knew she was a Teacher Leader for Common Core. Again that was the reason for her invitation. The obvious poor implementation of CC in the state has constantly been highlighted by teachers saying they have not been provided enough resources for teaching the standards. The selection of Ms. Bennett for the panel had been for her to contribute responses to questions from teachers – which we anticipated to be many – along the lines of, “I’m now expected to reach this XYZ standard but don’t see how that is possible.” Ms. Bennett could then jump in to give the perspective of someone who assists teachers in implementing Common Core as a Teacher Leader. So, I foresaw her role as that. Not as someone who would be there to advocate for or against Common Core. But since she was singled out in at least one question that I can remember, she explained why she supports Common Core. Despite what you have convinced yourself into believing, there was no nefarious intention implied by her participation. You may obviously not hold her in high regard, but she is a Teacher Leader in Common Core and currently schools in Louisiana are using Common Core. And as to another point you make, had we wanted a teacher on the panel who was against Common Core – though that was not ever an intention since we already had Ms. Barrioss and Rep. Geymann on board as the opposition – it would not have been as easy as you think it would have been to find someone. I reached out to Stop Common Core early on to find a teacher opposed to Common Core to interview for the backgrounder piece. Despite reaching out to the large number of their Facebook followers, they were unable to find someone willing to speak on camera. I got Dr. Schneider’s name from Ms. Barrios.
    As to the names sent to Ms. Barrioss early on, those should have all been identified as “tentative panelists.” I never know early on who will say no or have a conflict in their schedule. And if one person is unavailable, that may mean shuffling of other panelists. Rep. Geymann was chosen over Mr. Monaghan because in addition to being a legislator, he intends to introduce legislation this session relating to Common Core.And thank you, Ms. Barrios for saying that overall you are “satisfied with the broadcast” and not that it was a “miserable failure.” I’m not sure what commentary you are referring to that we added unless it’s the soundbites, but those came from interviews not the show.

    1. Sure you don’t want to amend any more statements or make any further clarifications? Its getting hard for me to keep up.

      Do you agree or disagree. Despite your best intentions your show was unbalanced in favor of Common Core in terms of moderator, guests and audience question. A simple agree or disagree answer will suffice. Note: If you say you disagree I will compile the stats.

    2. Kevin – I get that you expected Maya to answer questions from teachers about difficulties with CCSS. What you got was the same rhetoric we have been hearing ad finitum lauding the efforts of LDOE and the benefits of Common Core. That is all you will ever get.

      The mistake is that you expected a non-teacher, not certified, not experienced and if I am not mistaken not in the classroom to tell long time professionals how to do their job. That is John White’s modus operandi and it is an insult to real teachers. Somebody didn’t do their homework. Maybe you didn’t know what to expect from me either.

      As far as expecting working classroom teachers to participate in a venue they are not familiar with, with the expectation that their job would be on the line, it is no wonder they weren’t lined up at the door. John White claims to have 2,000 (and pledged to enlist 2,000 more) PAID teacher leaders who are currently teaching full time. Surely most of those are real certified teachers. Why didn’t you contact those on that list? I would have gladly directed you to the list.

      That also begs the question, why did you invite me if you didn’t consider my credentials and in depth knowledge of Common Core? I understand the dismay of many who watched who once again saw the rhetoric go unchallenged. I would have welcomed any challenge put before me as I have evidence ready to provide. Responses like, CCSS is internationally benchmarked, however have no basis for truth and it was never questioned.

      I am pleased not only because two of us were able to explain our position in this broadcast venue but because our opposition once again showed the weakness and repetition of their arguments in addition to providing false information publicly which they will be held accountable for. I do question your engaging me for such a public venue without making sure I was aware of the panel makeup. There are plenty of speakers who would have refused to go on when they realized they had been misled.

  10. Actually, the title “Teacher Leader” does not mean advocate. I’m a CCSS Teacher Leader who did not drink the Koolaid.

  11. Kevin,

    If you had trouble finding a teacher opposed to the “standards” of Common Core, you surely didn’t look very hard. As a 13 year former veteran teacher, myself, my wife (also a 13 year veteran teacher) and every one of my friends and colleagues who are still in education loathe Common Core implementation and everything that comes with it. I say former teacher, because I left public education last spring for the private sector. My wife left also to teach at a private school. We just couldn’t take it anymore. Too many “education experts” making sweeping decisions about education, even though these “experts” spent little time, if any, in the classroom (not supervising, or “coaching”, but actually teaching children in a traditional classroom setting)
    The vast majority of the quotes and commentary I read and see in support of Common Core come from people who have only a monetary interest in the implementation of the standards; probably because they lack any real world connection to educating children. You know, like having a degree in education, and actually having taught as a certified teacher in the state of Louisiana for more than 2 years.
    Many, many teachers are leaving the education profession. I highly advise the “powers that be” to be careful not to bite down too hard on the hand that feeds; otherwise, there won’t be enough “education experts” left to man the trenches of daily classroom instruction for kids that actually want to learn.
    Unfortunately, my time being a hard-working, dedicated, passionate, and caring certified, highly-qualified teacher in the state of Louisiana is over. However, feel free to contact me Kevin when looking for a certified educator who is opposed to the implementation of Common Core. I would be happy to speak to you. My email is

  12. Kevin,
    You could have simply posted on the Facebook page or Twitter that you were seeking teachers who were anti Common Core. You could have filled the studio. I suggest you do another episode of Decoding the Common Core, called Undecodable Common Core.

  13. Ms. Barrioss, you did a wonderful job! I got so aggravated when someone would cut you short, not allow you to speak when it was obvious you had something to say, and especially when the moderator twisted your words. Yet you still had respect for those that showed you little or none. The show itself and the way everything was handled speaks for itself. Thank you for the work you do.

    To those who have not checked out the website, there is a wealth of knowledge you can find there. The NGA and CCSSO created the agreement that was signed in 2009 to formally create the Common Core State Standards Initiative, and now they have all copyrights to Common Core publications. Hmmm… And what exactly convinced 51 states and US territories to sign an agreement to commit them in participating in the development of this initiative? A report that was released in 2008 by the NGA, CCSSO, and Achieve, Inc. called Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-Class Education. If you haven’t read this report, I encourage you to. It clearly states the need for federal and state governments to come together as one to make a change to…(well most of you know how the rest of this goes). And exactly who is Achieve, Inc? It’s another non-profit, but this one was created by a group of govenors and business leaders after the 1996 National Education Summit. Yes sir and yes mam, the governmental and corporate executive attempt at nationalizing educational standards has been around for quite some time. And it is time for the government and corporate businesses to stop hendering our US students’ educations for their profits. They don’t realize it now, but it will hurt our economic future.

    1. I agree. Lee did outstanding even with all those cards and moderator stacked against her. Not many people could have withstood that barrage with such grace and thoughtful, calm, responses.

  14. I have a question about teacher leaders. If I am reading Maya’s Linkedin correctly, she was in a classroom for two years, or is she still a classroom teacher? What are the qualifications for a teacher leader?

  15. Thanks for keeping us ordinary people up to date! Periodically I watch dramas on LPB, and I happened on the discussion of Common Core that day. It only took me a few minutes to see how skewed the whole program was, and that it was just a pr piece for the pitiful John White-Jindal duo who seem to know even less than I about Education. So I changed the channel wistfully, remembering a time when LPB gave fair and accurate reports. These days what comes out of Baton Rouge automatically reeks of ignorance and self-interest. Surely Jindal will take White with him when he disappears…….and let’s hope it’s soon!!!

  16. At last Ms. Bennett is doing something other than sleeping with other womens husbands.. Only in EBR would she e celebrated.

  17. Maya Bennett has very little teaching experience and this is typical of Louisiana and its commitment to education. She has no business speaking for educators or children.

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