Why I am voting for Mary Lynch for School Board in East Baton Rouge district 1

I am voting for Mary Lynch on November 4th. Mary is mother of 2 and public active school parent. She is a certified long-term substitute teacher and has been helping out our schools in that capacity for years. She is an active school volunteer and current EBR School Board Member and voted against the reduction in school board seats which has diluted public representation and made it easier for Lane Grigsby and out of state privatization forces to manipulate our local elections and school boards for their own interests.

Lane Grigsby, the Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce and out of state interests are trying to destroy our school district for profit. It took me a little while to figure out who to vote for because the Chamber of Commerce put pressure on our existing School Board to reduce the number of seats in the parish just before this election. EBR voted to reduce their seats from 11 to 9, but the measure only passed by one vote (6/5). The maps were redrawn to put multiple incumbents that were against the measure against each other. They were redrawn to improve the chances of Lane Grisgby and the Chamber in this election gaining control of the EBR school board so they could continue to force charters upon East Baton Rouge, even though the majority of such charters have been resoundingly rejected by parents and the community and most lay abandoned and ruined and the children that previously attended them are bussed across the parish to create overcrowding situations in on our remaining public schools. The new maps would have required a review process prior to the Supreme Court’s overturn of some of the provisions of the unanimously approved Voting Rights Act. Now it will require lawsuits, after the fact, to have them reviewed. By then the damage will be done, our schools will be sold off to the highest bidders, along with our children who will be treated like miniature cash cows in charter school barns.

Mary’s opponents are Mark Bellue and Jennifer Andrews, a Republican and Democrat on paper and at the ballot box, although neither have been endorsed by their respective parties. District 1 was gerrymandered to allow these two puppets to run against Mary. Mark is the horse the money is backing. He is getting dollars roll in from out of State PACs, (Like Stand for Children Louisiana which is actually funded from Portland Oregon and Future PAC which was created this summer based in Athens Georgia.)

 

Future PAC, logo, not at all creepy or scary

Because we really need PACs outside of Louisiana building our schools to their liking

 

If you are a Republican favoring local control, I’m not sure you had out of state millennials picking your school board members in mind as your idea of local control.

 

Here are a list of Mark Bellue’s contributions and theoretical dates. I say theoretical because it seems like I saw signs up for much longer than mid-September. These reports came in in the last 30 days and last week so it was hard to get a handle on his support until now.

 

ContributorName

ContributorAddr1

ContributionDate

ContributionAmt

SHIRLEY BELLUE

10077 E. Pomona

9/18/2014

$500.00

BETTER SCHOOLS BETTER FUTURES PAC

PO Box 104

9/9/2014

$2,500.00

DAVID TATMAN CAMPAIGN

16710 Gingerwood Ave

9/9/2014

$1,000.00

MICHAEL S DEPAUL

7521 Saint Edmond Court

9/9/2014

$200.00

MILTON G GRAUGNARD

2929 Svendson Dr.

9/11/2014

$2,500.00

L. LANE GRIGSBY

PO Box 104

9/10/2014

$2,500.00

TODD W GRIGSBY

1125 Ingleside Drive

9/15/2014

$2,500.00

HARLEY M. BROWN A PROFESSIONAL LAW CORP.

854 Main Street

9/18/2014

$200.00

LIPSEY’S

PO Box 83280

9/17/2014

$500.00

LUBA CASUALTY INSURANCE CO.

PO Box 98082

9/12/2014

$1,000.00

SIF CONSULTANTS OF LOUISIANA

2351 Energy Drive

9/9/2014

$1,000.00

HARLEY C BROWN

1735 Sharp Road

10/1/2014

$100.00

DAVID TATMAN CAMPAIGN

16710 Gingerwood Ave

10/14/2014

$1,500.00

FUTURE PAC

564 Laurel Street

10/7/2014

$5,000.00

CARLINE JENKINS

58249 Mount Pleasant Road

10/4/2014

$100.00

GARY PATUREAU

10721 Sandringham Ave

10/4/2014

$100.00

NAOMI RAWLS

59331 Spring Valley Road

10/3/2014

$100.00

JAMES TRAMEL

406 Thorngate Drive

10/9/2014

$20.00

STAND FOR CHILDREN LOUISIANA PAC

1732 NW Quimby St.

10/20/2014

$1,000.00

     

$22,320.00

 

Better Schools Better Futures is of course a Lane Grigsby PAC and shares the same PO box with Grigsby. Grigsby and his allies also donated to David Tatman (who is running for School Board unopposed) so Tatman could then donate to candidates on Grigsby’s behalf.

Jennifer Andrews submitted a statement that she has raised no contribution of more than 200 dollars and has no sizable expenditures. She is an APEL Executive Director and friend with Stand for Children executives and her sole contribution to this campaign is the “D” beside her name to draw the low information voters away from Mary Lynch, who is running as an Independent.

Please help Mary by voting for her. If you can volunteer to help her canvass this Saturday please give her an e-mail at marylynch.ebrschoolboard@cox.net or a call at 225-324-7658. She is canvassing this Saturday; a final push tomorrow. She is asking volunteers to meet her at her house at 9:00am 12495 E. Milburn Ave, 70815 at 9am. If you help her inform voters about who is on their side, and who is on the side of Lane Grigsby and out of state PACs we might be able to preserve schools in EBR from being turned into unaccountable charters that no one wants except people who don’t send their children to public schools.

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LDOE does not follow public records law (Letter from BESE Rep. Lottie Bebee)

Letter to the Editor– from Lottie P. Beebe, Ed. D., BESE Representative for District 3

Often I receive complaints from parents and citizens stating that the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) is not following the Public Records Act of Louisiana. The law requires government agencies to provide access to public records as requested by citizens within three business days of the request.   The statute’s intent is to ensure transparency in government.

But the complaints I receive indicate the LDOE is slow to respond – if it does at all – to citizen requests for public information. I am aware of at least two lawsuits filed by frustrated citizens who were compelled   to take the LDOE to court in order to gain access to public records. The court agreed with the citizens and required the LDOE to adhere to law and to pay for court costs.  Citizens, or a BESE member, should not have to take legal action to force LDOE to give them access to information that is publically available; nor should citizens’ taxes be used to pay for unnecessary and expensive legal fees due to the LDOE’s lack of transparency. 

Unfortunately, not only is the LDOE resistant to providing public information to citizens, but so is BESE.  In July, 2014, I filed a formal request for public records and did not receive any response until I added an item to the BESE agenda and voiced my frustration.  At the October 14, 2014 BESE committee meeting, I proposed that the LDOE report to BESE at each of its formal meetings on the number of public records requests and the status of each.  The majority of my BESE colleagues thought this reporting requirement would be too cumbersome for LDOE staff; the committee instead voted to require LDOE to report only once in 2014 regarding the number of unanswered public records requests.

I was not satisfied with such limited oversight of LDOE’s compliance with the public records law and objected.  Unfortunately, the committee recommendation for a one-time report on LDOE’s unanswered public records requests was rejected at the October 15, 2014 BESE meeting.  Therefore, BESE – and the public – will not have any knowledge of how many public records requests the LDOE is ignoring and whether lawsuits are filed to obtain the records, and the cost for settlement.  This lack of transparency from LDOE – and intentional lack of oversight from BESE – is troubling.

In closing, it is evident the BESE majority’s response is no accountability for White and the LDOE!  Too cumbersome for staff members…yet, citizens, school districts, and other agencies are expected to be compliant with state law. Why not the LDOE?  

Sincerely,

Lottie P. Beebe, Ed. D., BESE Representative –District 3

 

Anti-Common Core Forums and Town Halls Feed John White a Healthy Helping of Crow

Anti-Common Core Forums and Town Halls Feed John White a Healthy Helping of Crow

Despite what John White claimed a few weeks ago in the American Press newspaper, a local paper serving the Lake Charles area, opposition to Common Core and Eureka is not confined to a few isolated communities that only appear numerous because they take photographs from small rooms. It is a vast, broad and growing coalition of parents across most parishes and the political spectrum.

“They tend to show up at school boards in numbers that are not large relative to the size of the parish,” White told the American Press editorial board Tuesday. “But they’re large relative to the size of the room where the school board meeting is held.”

The only supporters of Common Core appear to be paid henchmen of corporations, affiliates of LDOE, LDOE and Teflon groups like Stand For Children and LaBAEO that get their funding from outside corporate forces are led by former LDOE executives. (Check it out, mainstream news media. I dare you.)

I honestly can’t go to all the town halls I’ve been invited to speak at. They are occurring just about every other weekday and sometimes on the same day. Fortunately these groups all have their own local champions. I would invite the media to contact the organizers of these townhalls and verify my claims for themselves. Some are even being hosted by legislators who have received so many calls from constituents the only way to talk to them all is in giant forums. Tonight, for instance, there are actually two forums, one in Vermillion Parish and one in Tangipahoa. These are new parishes coming to the public Common Core fight, although resentment and anger has been building and simmering for months, if not years.

Vermillion, Abbeville, 10/28/14

There will be a town hall meeting Tuesday to talk about Common Core.

The public is invited to attend the meeting, which will be held at Magdalen Place, downtown Abbeville.

It will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Those putting on the meeting are encouraging parents and teachers to bring questions.

Sen. Jonathan Perry and Rep. Bob Hensgens, and Rep. Brett Geymann will be on hand.

Also, BESE Board member Jane Smith and Anna Arthurs, a grass roots Common Core activist.

“The people were left out of the process in the adoption of Common Core,” said Rep. Geymann. “This town hall meeting is an opportunity for their voices to be heard and a way for them to learn how they can be involved in taking control back, regarding the education of our students.”

Rep. Hensgens added, “Brett is correct. The BESE Board went around and asked for the crowds grass roots help on exiting Common Core and protecting Louisiana’s sovereignty in education.”

 

Tangipahoa 10/28/14

Tangipahoa Parish Library

Central Ave., Amite Louisiana, 70422

630 – 8:00 pm

 

Here is a small 2 mile long room of anti-common Core activists in a parade: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hb8Tc9-wtS0

And here is a small room of 800 people, in Calcasieu.

 

Today’s radio show on WBOK covers latest release of SPS scores

Michael Deshotels will be on the New Orleans Imperative WBOK  AM1230 show on Monday October 27, 2014 at 10 am to discuss the recently released SPS scores.  Below is a description of the program: 

How history defines the privatization of schools in New Orleans

You can also go to their website to listen to the live program online.

Www.wbok1230am.com

Another Data Fiasco at LDOE, and Another Reason Charters Pose a Danger to Our Children and Communities

It’s been a few weeks since this story first broke, and I expected more folks to cover in more depth than it has been. I have been focused on election related posts and research and let this one go in the hopes someone else would pick this up and explain the implications, but so far that has not happened. What’s even more disturbing is that this is a crisis in motion and the public has not been truly informed about what happened and what is going on.

Mercedes Schneider does a pretty good job summarizing the story by Danielle Dreilinger. LDOE released the news on Friday, October 10th, hoping it would be lost in the weekend news cycle, which it largely has been. Hundreds of laptops were surplussed, with hundreds Social Security numbers and quite likely, disability records, home addresses and phone numbers. The only reason this was discovered was when some recent purchasers of the equipment notified the department.

According to Patrick Dobard, the RSD has never verified any of the equipment they’ve surplussed, over the entire existence of RSD, has been wiped of very sensitive, very valuable student data.

The Recovery system oversees about 50 charters in New Orleans, plus more in Baton Rouge. Every year, a small number of charters have closed. Dobard said his office has trained charter staff on property-disposal procedures but not checked up on devices until now. “We relied on the operators actually following the protocol,” he said.

The RSD has been in existence since 2004. It has taken the state 10 years, and a concerned citizen, for the department to realize student data needs to be protected, and that charter schools that have been disbanded and have no employees are not the best custodians of data or the future of our children.

The former spokesman for Future Is Now, which was running John McDonogh, when it was shut down by the State, said it best and in a way so obvious it makes you wonder how RSD could not have foreseen problems with its approach. Namely, to expect charters that no longer have employees to follow protocol is ludicrous.

Former Future Is Now spokesman Gordon Wright said the organization had no response, because it no longer exist[s]. [emphasis mine]

Many charters, like Future is Now/John McDonogh, have been shut down for acting irresponsibly. This school is a saga all in and of itself, and was closed before its charter was officially up for review. How ridiculous and irresponsible is it to expect poorly run, or irresponsible organizations to follow proper protocol when they may not have money to pay salaries or any employees to follow said protocol and have not exhibited the best judgment when they were in operation?!?

Dozens of charters have closed down and changed hands, and even more RSD direct run schools have come and gone. By their own estimates, RSD has lost control of over 1600 items, including laptops. Those are the items they lost or miscoded in the last 4 years. They have lost so many items over the 10 years they have been in operation there is probably no way to account for them all.

A 2013 state audit faulted the Recovery School District for not being careful enough about handling property. It said 1,633 items had been lost or stolen over a four-year period, totaling $2.7 million. Dobard said at the time that 70 percent of those items were miscoded and still in use elsewhere.

This does not include the many thousands of items they have intentionally auctioned off to anyone with an IP connection and a computer or cellphone. One of the easiest ways hackers can obtain information is from lost or stolen computers, or computers that have simply been handed over to them, courtesy of, John White, Patrick Dobard, and the State of Louisiana.

Over the course of the existence of the RSD, they have spent over a billion dollars of taxpayer money. This year alone they will be running no schools and will be funded with close to 20 million dollars that goes to the mostly 6 figure salaries of RSD personnel. Their only job is to oversee the schools they’ve chartered to dozens of entities, many with shaky backgrounds, like they’ve done so well with laptops over the past 10 years. Patrick Dobard is the head of RSD, and he needs to be fired immediately for allowing this to happen. The entire RSD organization should be shut down and a reputable firm should be contracted with to handle oversight of the RSD schools, which specified duties and consequences and liabilities for failure to perform those duties, like not handing over hundreds of thousands of SSN’s to hackers annually.

As bad as all this sounds, this situation is much worse than most people realize. While the most obvious data people would find on these laptops belongs to the students served by these schools, there is much more potentially at risk here. Schools have access to the entire roster of food stamp recipients in the state. This is called the FNS file or the “SNAP” file. It comes from Social Services every year and lists every food stamp recipient. It gets matched by schools and school districts to their student rosters. (Of course I know about this because this was just one of the many programs I oversaw at the state.) Almost every school district, and charter school, downloads a complete listing of this roster every year. These files are used to determine which students qualify for Free lunches without the need of filling out a Free Lunch application. This roster contains, First name, Date of Birth and the SSN of every citizen (not just students every man, woman and child) in the State of Louisiana that received Food Stamps in the past year.

We never had entire school districts suddenly cease to exist before, so the chances of this falling into the wrong hands was minimized by these files only being known to a few experienced individuals that would remain employees of school districts. In the charter school churn era, there is no question in my mind that hundreds of thousands, perhaps as many as a million, of Louisiana citizens have had their information turned over to hackers for years now because of the lax regulation of charter schools, and the intentional charter school churn. This churn, to date, has not resulted in most charter schools doing any better than traditional public schools, and many charter schools have done much worse. Charter schools and the Recovery school district have left school facilities they took control of that were in perfect working order, in condemned states when they leave. They abandon the kids they were unable to serve in worse educational straits than when they found them. And now we have clear evidence they act without any regard for student privacy or safety in regards to handling student data. What’s more, we LDOE and RSD failing to take even the most basic step to safeguard our children, and even our adult citizens of this state. It is time for the failed experiment that is RSD and LDOE led school reform to come to an end.

DOA is sending employees around the state to wipe the laptops from just the last batch of auctions. They have been working around the clock, nights and weekends, to fix the absurd failings of the RSD and LDOE. Unfortunately their work will only scratch the surface. These laptops and desktops and servers have been sold for as many as 10 years without anyone bothering to ensure they did not contain millions of SSN’s of ordinary Louisiana citizens. This is what happens when you put people in charge that worry more about their 6 figure salaries and accommodating charter schools than protecting Louisiana children and citizens. Where are the organizations that pretend to stand for children, like Stand For Children, when children really need them? They are standing with the charters that abuse our children. They are standing with the charters that discard our children and their data. When real danger rears its head, when children are really put in danger, these groups fail to respond. That’s when you know what they are really all about. . and what they are not.

Patrick Dobard, admitted RSD never verified any of the equipment they’ve surplussed has been wiped. Dobard acknowledged he can’t even keep track of the items they theoretically still possess.

We have clear evidence charters are not wiping their equipment, leaving thousands of student records complete with, name, SSN, DOB, discipline, disabilities, grades, addresses and phone numbers.

Millions of student and adult records have been getting exposed for years by an irresponsible RSD that is immune from criminal and civil prosecution.

Current measures will only address the most recent exposures, doing nothing to address 10 years of negligent neglect.

RSD had plenty of money (over a billion dollars) but no common sense and no duty to act unless forced to by outside forces.

This is another clear example that charters schools are only tied to our communities as long as they are receiving a paycheck, and not one second longer.

This is a systemic problem.

RSD and LDOE are refusing to acknowledge how big a disaster this really is. The threat inBloom posed our students was significant, but also theoretical to some degree. This is an actual, verified threat, one that has been going on for a decade, and one which will probably continue under the current management and RSD structure.

The current approach by LDOE is to bury this story on a Friday and get the most recent laptop purchasers to sign affidavits they didn’t use the data for illegal purposes. If these are criminals that have already used this data, would this matter to them? What about the thousands of purchasers over the years. Will anyone be visiting them?

 

 

Defenders of Public Education Recommends Candidates for the City of Baker School Board

Contact: Michael Deshotels

Defenders of Public Education

Phone 225-235-1632

mikedeshot@aol.com

22505 Fairway View Dr.

Zachary, LA,  70791

Defenders of Public Education

Press Release

Defenders of Public Education Announce Their Support for City of Baker School Board Candidates

Defenders of Public Education Finalize Their Selections for the November 4th City of Baker School Board Elections

Baker, LA, October 21, 2014:  The Defenders of Public Education (DPE) have announced their candidate selections for the November 4th City of Baker School Board races.  DPE is a non-partisan group formed in 2013 that is comprised of thousands of public school educators, parents, and advocates from across the State of Louisiana.  Our mission is to promote quality public schools and qualified and committed education leaders that will always put children before profit and will fearlessly represent the voters in their districts.

DPE submitted a survey to all candidates in the City of Baker School Board race and based on the records of candidates and their responses to our survey, DPE has chosen the following education leaders to recommend to voters:

District 1: DPE recommends Elaine G. Davis  Ms Davis stated: “As a member of the Baker school board, I voted to convert one of our elementary schools to K-8 magnet. That school is now a B school.”

District 3: DPE recommends incumbent Troy Watson who opposes school taxes going to profit making charter school operators: “Charter schools using public funds should not be profit institutions/organizations” Ms Watson pointed out in her questionnaire.

District 4: DPE recommends, Jerrie Davenport-Williams who supports the full implementation of the teacher bill of rights.

DPE did not make recommendations in races where candidates did not fill out the questionnaire.

Defenders of Public Education Release Recommendations for East Baton Rouge School Board Races

Defenders of Public Education

Press Release

Defenders of Public Education Announce Their Support for East Baton Rouge School Board Candidates

Defenders of Public Education Finalize Their Selections for the November 4th East Baton Rouge Parish School Board Elections

Baton Rouge, LA, October 21, 2014:  The Defenders of Public Education (DPE) have announced their candidate selections for the November 4th East Baton Rouge Parish School Board races.  DPE is a non-partisan group formed in 2013 that is comprised of thousands of public school educators, parents, and advocates from across the State of Louisiana.  Our mission is to promote quality public schools and qualified and committed education leaders that will always put children before profit and will fearlessly represent the voters in their districts.

DPE submitted a survey to all candidates in the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board race and based on the records of candidates and their responses to our survey, DPE has chosen the following education leaders to recommend to voters:

District 1: DPE recommends Mary Lynch.  In stating her opposition to BESE takeover of local public schools she stated:  “Our tax money should be spent on EBR students, not funneled elsewhere.”

District 2: DPE recommends Vereta Lee who opposes school taxes going to profit making charter school operators: “All education dollars should go to benefit our children, not outside managers.”

District 4: DPE recommends Tarvald Smith, who stated, “I will continue to fight the forced imposition of charters and vouchers in our district by outside interests.”

District 5: Based upon their equally strong support of the proper management of all public schools by our elected school board, the Defenders recommend both Jerry Arbour and W. T. Winfield.

For the sake of simplicity DPE did not make recommendations in races which were uncontested.