I am not happy.
I’m actually quite pissed off and had to take extra blood pressure medication today to prevent my head from exploding off my shoulders. I think I am like a lot of people that supported John Bel Edwards for Governor for his stands on education, who got the shaft after the election.
Is John Bel making all the decisions on education committees and BESE picks?
Whomever is doing it however is doing a piss poor job.
I contacted Edward’s Facebook page, Onward Louisiana site, and a number of close contacts to inquire about his education agenda and to offer my help or input. I was ignored in some cases, and told to wait until after he takes office before brining my concerns or ideas so John Bel could tackle the budget crisis and his top priority, Medicare expansion. Doing so has proved to be a disastrous mistake on my part, compounded by horrible decisions by his education team.
While I was waiting numerous education reformers secured a seat at the various tables and parents and regular teachers who fought so hard and for so long were left walled out and cut off. Leslie Jacobs, Queen Reformer of Louisiana and Architect of the Recovery School Disaster was given a seat on a 53 member committee that included many union reps, and other reformers, but none of the folks that crossed party lines to vote for John Bel and for education. The list did include these folks however:
- Ronnie Briggs Board Chairman of The Good Shepherd School (“School Choice Champion”)
- Gwendolyn Hamilton Community Affairs, New Schools for Baton Rouge/CEO EBR Redevelopment Authority (unelected and unaccountable private Charter School Authorizer)
- Leslie Jacobs Former BESE Member (Queen of the Recovery School Disaster, wealthy donor for education reformers across the state, owner of misleading pro-referom propaganda organization EducateNow!)
- Dr. Andre Perry Principal, A.M. Perry Consulting (infamous and outlandish eduction reformer and charter proponent from NOLA – I think he’ll like that title)
Of course the presidents of the two unions were there.
- Debbie Meaux President, Louisiana Association of Educators
- Steve Monaghan LA Federation of Teachers President
And one of the 3 people this panel decided to appoint to BESE on John Bel Edward’s behalf was also on this panel.
- School Doris Voitier Superintendent of St. Bernard Parish School System
Wow. I wonder if she voted to appoint herself? (Well, technically I did that too but I was one of a 400 thousand people or so.)
About half the panel was composed of current or former union reps and members. More than 10% of it consisted of notorious education reformers who had no doubt campaigned and donated hard against John Bel (and plan to shiv him in the shower at some point in the near future).
These are Education Reformers who opposed John Bel and all the FlipBESE candidates and who raised obscene amounts of money from out of state billionaires and have been buying our BESE elections for more than a decade. They spent close to 10 million dollars with over 90% coming from out of state donors and PACs and won 7 BESE seats.
I’m told Edwards wants to include everyone in his governing. However those folks were already more than fully represented. What I didn’t see was an anti-Common Core activist or activist parent that’s been fighting with me at BESE and the legislature. I didn’t see one of the candidates nominated that won close to 50% of the vote in their districts and even after being out raised/spent between 40 and 100 to one.
Already this administration is making the same mistakes as the last one by wooing the wealthy and ignoring the regular folks who are just trying to be heard and thought John Bel would make that happen.
In my opinion, John Bel owes his win to us, the FlipBESE candidates, as much as anyone else. We forced these organizations to spend all their time and money on us. That money would have been used against him and those organizations would have campaigned against him and his unions if they had not been so concerned about the threat we flipBESE candidates posed. That 10 million would have been about what John Bel spent for the governors race. I wonder if he could have done as well as a flipBESE candidate if he had the same monetary disadvantage we had.
(For perspective, that would have been more than 1 billion dollars.)
About half the state voted against Common Core and John White, and they have no champion on this panel or among the 3 recent BESE appointees. the LABI backed candidates actually ran for local control and against Common Core, and some people believed them, not knowing those were complete lies. Here’s some of the ads one of my opponents ran.
(Most of the ads run by the LABI candidates were identical carbon copies with the same points, music and typeface. These were corporation sponsored and run campaigns. If you want to see what I mean check these 2 ads out that even ran back to back on the same channels.
Taylor Generic Empower/LABI commercial
I think a lot of people are going to pissed when they find out they voted against Common Core and thought they elected a candidate that was against it, only to find it was rebranded and actually made worse, as the review committee has reportedly done by the various folks who have resigned from it in protest.
Do you think they are going to blame their BESE candidate (that they probably don’t remember now) or the Governor who ran against Common Core and John White?
Education Reformers have been crowing for well over a month that John Bel cut a deal and John White is safe. I don’t hear one peep of complaint out of them either. Meanwhile many of the folks that brought John Bel to the Governor’s Ball are left out in the cold and we are not happy with what we have seen so far.
In case you’re wondering what the story will be when John White stays, Leslie Jacob’s website, Educate Now! is already delivering for mass consumption.
Governor-elect John Bel Edwards has chosen his three appointees to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education: Doris Voitier, superintendent of St. Bernard Parish schools; Thomas Roque, superintendent of the Diocese of Alexandria; and Lurie Thomason, assistant professor in the Criminal Justice Department at Grambling State University. While Governor-elect Edwards may have wanted a new state superintendent, he does not have the votes to replace John White, and his three BESE appointees said in an interview they would be “open” to working with White.
For those who make excuses to say John Bel can’t remove him because he doesn’t have 8 votes, here are my rebuttals and questions:
- If you can’t replace John White, why on earth would you make that promise after the BESE elections?
- If you can’t replace John White, why would you appoint three people open to working with him?
- If you can’t replace John White, why would you let John White’s allies choose who the appointees are!?!?!?!?!
My understanding is the plan all along was to trade those appointments and to take it easy on John White, in exchange for cooperation on other projects like the Budget Crisis and Medicare.
No doubt the budget and Medicare are noble causes, but I’m not a chess piece and neither are my kids.
I’m told I should look to John Bel’s “history” of supporting Public Education and to trust that he will do right by us.
This is what history tells me:
Louisiana Governors, like JBE’s predecessor Bobby Jindal, promise anything to get elected and then once they get in office they are immediately corrupted by power and bound by reality and wall themselves off in their ivory towers and let their minions take the heat.
Oh, I knows my Looziana history alright.
I was asked to give Edwards time to get situated before lobbying him on education issues. I guess the education reformers that campaigned hard against him didn’t get that memo. Now John Bel has named 3 permanent appointees (for the next 4 years) to BESE that he cannot revoke, while I was waiting patiently. He was able to do that before he took office.
Wanna know what I have to say about that?
Total. Bull. Shit.
John Bel, I was told if I wrote a blog about this, you would never ever see it and that I needed to go through the proper channels (like the ones that have already failed me to date).
Let’s see if that’s true or another lie.
It appears to many on the outside that you seem to have taken the side of education reformers, and taken great pains to include them in your Kumbaya moment while also excluding around 50% of the population that hates Common Core and John White and his policies.
We were screwed over by corporations and billionaires from out of state and we looked to you to help make it right. That’s not what many of us see happening. I feel my trust has been abused, but to be fair I have not spoken to you and you may not be aware things aren’t being seen as going smoothly outside your circle.
Gimmie a call and let’s rap sometime. . .when you’re not too busy. My number is 225-892-4410.
Thanks and good luck getting rid of White! I, and a lot of others, are counting on you.