Official Press Release (Text)

Press Release

2015 BESE election to have a fresh face: Jason France, a.k.a. “The Crazy Crawfish” seeks to remove Chas Roemer as he announces his candidacy for the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) district 6.

Jason France, a father of two East Baton Rouge public school children in BESE district 6, former Louisiana Department of Education Employee, controversial education blogger, and nationally recognized privacy and public education activist has announced his intent to seek a seat on BESE.

Baton Rouge, LA, April 7, 2014: Jason France has announced his candidacy for the district 6 seat on Louisiana’s State Department of Education. The district 6 seat is currently held by longtime politician, BESE President Chas Roemer, the son of former Governor Buddy Roemer, whom has not indicated whether he will seek another term. District 6 encompasses the eastern half of East Baton Rouge Parish, Ascension Parish, Livingston Parish, Washington Parish, Tangipahoa Parish and the City of Bogalusa.

Jason will be a dramatic change from the current office holder in charge of the state’s public schools and students, Chas Roemer, who has never attended a public school or university, and who sends his children to a non-public school that does not endorse Common Core because they find the standards inferior and does not participate in PARCC testing because they believe those tests are a waste of learning time and money, and yet actively promotes CCSS and PARCC for other children’s kids.

Since resigning from the Louisiana Department of Education over 2 years ago Jason has been active in fighting for student, parent and teacher privacy rights and for Louisiana to drop the substandard federally funded and promoted curriculum known by the misnomer as the Common Core State Standards as the State takeover of local schools and school districts and the rubber stamp approval process of substandard voucher and charter schools throughout the state.

Jason has been one of the driving forces behind the grassroots movement organizing to preserve Public Education in Louisiana. Jason hopes that by seeking this office he will be able inspire others to enter races across the state and to undo the damage wrought by influence bought by large national and multi-national corporations and organizations, as well as out-of-state billionaires seeking to profit from Louisiana children and de-professionalize the teaching profession in favor of temporary low cost, low quality alternatives.

Jason has attended Magnolia Woods Elementary Magnet School, South East Middle School and is a graduate of Scotlandville Magnet School Engineering Program in East Baton Rouge Parish, and is a proud graduate of Louisiana’s flagship public university, LSU, where he obtained his BA in Business Administration. Jason blogs under the pseudonym “Crazy Crawfish”, at The Crazy Crawfish blog. Jason is also a featured writer at the National Education Policy Center and at Public School Shakedown, and a strong ally of the Network For Public Education, Parents Across America, Class Size Matters and the Southern Education Foundation and has contributed his opinions and analysis to articles featured in the New York Times, Reuters, Monroe News Star, The Advocate, and Washington Post.

For more information about the campaign please go to www.JasonFrance4LA.com

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Jason France, a.k.a “The Crazy Crawfish”, formally announces bid to seek Chas Roemer’s district 6 seat on BESE

Jason France, a.k.a “The Crazy Crawfish”, formally announces bid to seek Chas Roemer’s district 6 seat on BESE

As I watched events at the capital unfolding over the last month I knew it would come to this. Our “elected” officials that are supposed to look after our interests have tuned us out and sold us out. Hundreds of you made the trek to the Capital last week and experienced the three ring circus that our legislative process has become due to apathy, corruption and backroom deals. We have a few valiant legislators and BESE members left (and believe me I am eternally grateful to them), but not nearly enough to stem the tide of the opposition (privatizers of public education and exploiters of our children) and their enormous stacks of hundred dollar bills they rain down upon anyone willing to sign up with them and their destructive agenda. For this reason I am throwing my hat in the ring and I sincerely hope others will follow my lead and challenge the bought education policy dictators that sponsor curriculum, policies, and exploitive practices they themselves are rarely (or never) subjected to.

How did we get in a place where our State School Board is comprised of people paid to support Common Core (like Holly Boffy) folks paid to support TFA and charter schools (like Kira Orange Jones) and lawyers without public school children, like BESE President Chas Roemer who sends his kids to Our Lady of Mercy Roman Catholic School in Baton Rouge.

For the second time in three years, the Louisiana Student of the Year finalists include a child of Chas Roemer, president of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and son of former governor Buddy Roemer. Charles Roemer V is a fifth grader at Our Lady of Mercy Roman Catholic School in Baton Rouge, where his sister, Adeline, was a 2012 state finalist when she was in fifth grade.

The finalists “are not only superior students but have superior character and leadership abilities,” Education Superintendent John White said in a statement. The awards are given to students in the fifth, eighth and 12th grades

I have been told Our Lady of Mercy does not have any intention of adopting the Common Core State standards because they see them as vastly inferior. Chas Roemer feels the 700,000+ non-public school children he oversees need these standards to succeed, and need the PARCC test to evaluate their progress and record their every thought and feeling. Any attempt to modify, delay, or remove Common Core is met with statements like these he recently made to Superintendent of Ascension Schools Patrice Pujol (who is also the President of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents).

“Certainly there seem to be a number of people from a number of different groups who are getting together to make an attempt to stop the progress we’ve made,” Roemer says. “It’s disappointing that they’d do something like this … we’ve got some adults who are making political deals for their own personal political reasons.”

“Tomorrow you will see educators, business leaders and civic leaders from across the state standing up against this bill,” he says. “Despite their attempts to make a backroom deal to derail the progress that we’ve made, I think we’re going to win the day, and here’s why: It’s important to our state and it’s important for our kids,” Roemer says.

I find it so touching that Roemer would care so much about my kids taking Common Core and PARCC examinations throughout their educational careers, while his own kids are free to take extra languages, violin, soccer, and high school classes in his elementary school while mine are puzzling over explaining why 1+1 =2 or why 1+1 =3.

Chas Roemer said he had nothing to do with the selection process. Any suggestion that his child received special treatment was “political hogwash and they don’t know my son,” he said. “He won because of the merits of what he did.” If anything, “I think my son is probably black-balled” due to his family.

He said his son speaks three languages, has taken high school-credit work, served at his church, plays the violin and competes in soccer with sixth graders. He had to pass several interviews, with different judges each time. “If it meant I had to resign from BESE so that my kid could be recognized for his accomplishments, that’s what I would do,” Roemer said. [No objections here]

I also found it touching Chas would choose to dramatically to reduce funding for public schools and public school teachers throughout his tenure on the BESE board and as BESE President. That is a maneuver that saved him some money I imagine, while our children continue to struggle by his own words and estimations as he pushes for Common Core, Workforce development, PARCC, underperforming voucher schools, unaccountable charter schools, and a disastrously failed State takeover of local schools in the form of the Recovery School District, RSD.

  • If Roemer really cared about our children, why we he hand them over to unproven and unmonitored charters and voucher schools?
  • Why would he demand they submit to non-instructive and tortuous PARCC exams?
  • Why would he inflict an unproven federally developed and untested curricula on them (that he feels is beneath his own children)?
  • Why would Chas support sending data to irresponsible Data Warehouses (public school kids only again). If the services these vendors provided were so great, why did he not push for private schools to participate, at least in words?
  • Why has Chas allowed fraudulent Course Choice providers free access to our children’s data and encouraged them to roam our neighborhoods seeking victims to enroll in their “programs” that would funded from the money allocated to public school children? Why would he not require these vendors to be properly vetted or have any certifications at all?
  • If Chas cared about our children, why would he endorse policies that drive off our most committed and experienced local teachers to replace them with inexperienced out of state temp workers?

Chas Roemer has been a strong proponent of eliminating public schools in favor of unaccountable charter schools and private school voucher programs that perform dramatically worse the state assessments our kids (not his) must take. While our kids are languishing preparing for and taking tests for weeks on end to evaluate their teachers (not to help our children), his kids are taking violin, playing soccer and mastering advanced classwork and earning student of the year awards, of course on their own merits and not because of his standing as the President of the State BESE board, or because of his sister’s (Caroline Roemer Shirley) who holds the Executive Director (top banana) position on Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools.

Chas Roemer is a longtime politician and the son of a former governor. He is backed by out of state interests and a few wealthy Louisiana citizens not afraid to bend a few rules to get around donation laws so they can lower their tax burdens or to make money off of our children. The folks running our schools today do not want our public schools to succeed for our children or our families. They want our schools to be profitable while they exist and they want them to be ground into the ground to make way for hedgefund manager created charter schools that will emphasize profits over parents and children.

Please visit my Campaign Headquarters today and consider making a donation, volunteering or even running for office yourself. The testing companies, textbook companies, data miners bullying billionaires can’t buy you or trick you unless you let them. We can’t change the minds of those who have already been bought, we can’t stop these corporations from wanting to harvest us for dollar bills, but we can all vote with our wallets and with choice of who represents us on the political stage. Please join with me in fighting back against those who think they own our political system and us. Throw the bums out, and the let the “Crazy” in.

I’m only crazy if you radically disagree with me. We can all be crazy together and take back our country one office at a time, one school at a time.

Start your journey here: www.jasonfrance4la.com

BESE 2013 district map