Tomorrow Louisiana goes to the polls to elect their new Governor, Lieutenant Governor, but also BESE members for districts 6 and 4.
Kathy Edmonston is running to represent the people and children of district 6.
Her opponent, Jason Engen, is running to represent business and industry, as he explained in his own words.
The Hayride first asked Engen why he’s running for BESE. He says he’s in the race because no one represented the business side who he calls the end user of the education system.
And business and industry are supporting Engen to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, most of which is used to smear his opponent and to mislead the public about his views. Engine claims he is against Common Core and for local control. Engen even claims he wants to reject the status quo in his advertisements, but when you ask him what that means. . .
The Hayride asked Engen what are the major issues he was running on in this campaign. “To me the most important one is we’ve seen some reforms kick in over the last few years that I think we need to maintain and to the extent possible we need to maintain.” said Engen.
. . . it means maintain the status quo . A status quo that has seen our NAEP scores plummet for the first time in more than 20 years. A status quo that doesn’t only promote, but even worships Common Core and embraces all of its glaring flaws as “rigor”.
To Jason Engen, local control means forcing Common Core and PARCC tests upon homeschool parents.
The Hayride asked Engen about homeschooling and whether he supported further regulating them. While he supports homeschooling, he supports subjecting them to high standards similiar to what public and private schools are subjected it.
Jason Engen contacted me via text message last month because he wanted to complain about my blog posts about him. At that time I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions. Some he answered and vehemently denied, some he chose not to answer. I will leave you to determine what that means.
Did Grigsby promise to pay for your kids to go to private school if you do his bidding? I know he told you that John White stays, regardless of what he’s done. . . [Me]
Have a good day. The point was to leave each other’s kids out of it. [Engen]
Will there be magical scholarships from a mysterious benefactor? You will be ruining public schools so you won’t want to send your kids there under your “leadership” [me]
Just tell me he didn’t make White’s staying a condition of his support. When he brags about it to folks later it might make you look bad. . . [me]
Engen’s backers are intent upon taking rights away from parents and destroying public schools. Based on his ethics report filings Engen does not seem to make enough money to enroll his 3 children in private school by his this wife, and 4th child by an earlier wife, on his lone salary. (His current wife does not work.) Engen’s primary benefactor of both his campaign and the SuperPac that supports him is Cajun Industries CEO and LABI chairman, Lane Grigsby, whom I spoke with earlier this year.
Lane explained to me at that time that he was a great champion of poor kids and that he “personally paid for a number of scholarships for those people that can’t seem to take care of those kids they keep making” to attend private schools. In his opinion this meant he cared more about education than anyone else and he must be making the right decisions for the right reasons about education.
I figured, what would a few more scholarships be to a guy who pays for so many already? But Engen refused to respond to this question so I left him with these thoughts and a promise.
I know this is all fun and games and career advancement opportunities to you, but you are not leaving my kids out of it. Supporting this agenda, driving off their teachers, bankrupting their school district, forcing ridiculous PARCC tests down their throats. That pisses me off. That pisses a lot of people off. You have no idea what you’ve gotten yourself into, but I think you may very well find out Saturday night. [Me]
Don’t expect me or other parents to ever stop defending our kids from you and your ignorance and recklessness. [Me]
Kathy Edmonston needs your vote to send a message to all the Engen’s and Grigsby’s out in the world that some of us can’t be bought.
Kathy needs your vote to protect our children and save our schools.
Kathy needs your vote to be one of our lone voices on BESE.
Please do what you can tomorrow to ensure Kathy wins and Engen fades back into obscurity.
Your vote tomorrow is what I expect at the very least. But what we need is for you to make sure all of your friends and relatives vote for Kathy tomorrow too. Please do your part to help Kathy. Help us defeat those like Engen, who will trample on our rights and do irreparable harm to our children and communities in the years to come.
We need you.
(P.S. if you live in district 4, the Caddo/Shreveport area, please do the same to help Mary Harris. Her opponent, Tony Davis, is every bit as deceitful as Engen and we need them both on BESE to replace the great champions for public education and Louisiana children, Carolyn Hill and Lottie Bebee, that we lost in October.)