Jason France’s Leadership in the Common Core Fight in Louisiana and Why He is the Best Candidate in District 6

One of the re-occurring questions I get on the campaign trail is my position on Common Core.  So let me say this in no uncertain terms – Common Core is a disaster for Louisiana.

I was one of the first people in the state to raise the alarm bells about Common Core, starting about 3 years ago.  Before being against Common Core became cool, I was one of the lone voices against this federal overreach, and one of the earliest leaders in the movement and I received a lot of ridicule in those days. 

Before Governor candidate John Bel Edwards had formed an opinion on the subject Lee Barrios (running in BESE district 1) and I met John Bel to educate him on the topic in a CC’s coffee house a few years ago.  Edwards had not made up his mind at that point, but we did our best to set him on a path to asking more questions. 

I was a speaker at the two largest rallies against Common Core in Baton Rouge (one held on the steps of the Claiborne building, September 28th 2013 sponsored in part by the Greater New Orleans Tea Party, and another on the steps of the capital on June 14, 2014, sponsored by the Libertarian Party of Louisiana.


Me at Claiborne Rally

Me at the First anti-Common Core rally on steps of Claiborne building (I was a speaker and tied this banner to the staircase – September 28, 2013. 

Before the national consciousness was awakened, I was fighting and writing about Common Core on my blog.  I wrote a piece as a parent that received national attention and was used an example in national articles alongside comedian Louis C.K.  My signature piece also won the notice of Motoko Rich, from the New York Times, (who came down to Louisiana to meet with me and parents I recommended) Aljazeera America, NPR, among others. 

I am not just a statewide recognized opponent of Common Core, I am a nationally recognized one.

Here is a piece by New York Times education writer Motoko Rich where I am quoted and referenced:


Others who oppose the Common Core in Louisiana said the governor’s actions were more political theater than anything else. “If his intent was to stop it, it was very ineffective,” said Jason France, an education blogger who plans to run for the state education board next year. “All it’s done is lead to chaos.”

As noted in the preceding article, Common Core is one of the reasons I decided to run for the state school board.  I announced my intentions in April of 2014 and identified Common Core as one of the issues I wanted to address.

Here is one of my more popular pieces on Common Core that gained nationwide and even international attention with many tens of thousands of views and republications.


That piece starts with an intro of the situation in Louisiana most people were unaware of.  Louisiana’s BESE board adopted Common Core in 2010 before the standards were even completed and without following the Administrative Procedures Act or providing a chance for the public to provide input.  In fact, the public could not easily have provided input because the standards were not even finalized!

If you would like to see 60 or so more essays/articles from me dealing with Common Core and PARCC exam problems, why not visit my blog?




Believe it or not, that’s not all of them. 

I also wrote Op Ed pieces for various Louisiana newspapers on Common Core and the opt out movement.  The newspapers that dared publish my pieces received heat from the business community most of them were removed from being displayed online.  However I posted one on my blog that I sent to the American Press in the Lake Charles area.  I think it’s a pretty good piece and helped spur one of the greatest opt-out movements in the state.

To PARCC or Move On: https://crazycrawfish.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/to-parcc-or-move-on/

Frankly I doubt anyone in this state has written or published more about Common Core than yours truly. 

  • I am the fighter you want in your corner on the BESE board for this issue and countless other ones. 
  • I have been following and writing about this issue intensely for years. 
  • I am the only candidate in district 6 with kids in the public school system.  (The other Jason talks about his kids under 4 in commercials, but what he doesn’t talk about is his 12 year old daughter named Lille who’s only ever been in private school or that he never attended public school either. )


I have cute kids too, but unlike Engen, mine are actually in public schools. I also don’t need to exploit them in commercials and mail outs for votes or to make myself seem qualified – unlike somebody else I know. . .

I guess Engen’s 12 year old didn’t make the cut – since she would be an inconvenient truth that he is only interested in this position for big business:


You see, Engen is backed by Big Business.  That’s why he can afford to spend hundreds of thousands on commercials running round the clock (for an unpaid position. Engen even decided to run because he felt no one was looking out for big business’ interests

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.

Engen did not decide to run to help out Louisiana families, but to plug children into a business pipeline (he said this at the Leaders with Vision forum on October 6th) for his employers and his single significant backer, LABI/Lane Grigsby.

In contrast, I am backed my dozens and dozens of small donors.  I have no PACs supporting me, no corporations, no out of state billionaires, no unions, no big businesses, no real-estate firms, no technology vendors – no one but folks like you. 

I am your candidate and I hope you will be my voters.

October 24th is less than a week away.  I hope for all our sakes, and the sakes of my children in our public schools, that you understand I’m not just the right choice, but the only one that’s already been there for you when you needed me most. 

Will you be there for me now? 

Please help me help you with your vote this Saturday, October 24th.  I am Number 45 on your ballot.


Jason France

Candidate BESE district 6 (Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston, Tangipahoa, Washington)


P.S. Take a look at a few of my other projects over the years in the fight to rid our state of Common Core.

Common Good

Me presenting at the Common Good Preserving Public Education Conference (Diane Ravitch recommended me and gave my intro to conference) talking about the dangers of Common Core and need Liberals and Conservatives to work together to kick out Common Core. 


Acadian patriots meeting common core

At the Acadian Patriots meeting, talking about the false PR campaign for Common Core and the tactics used by the LDOE to trick parents and teachers.


common Core mardi Gras

Part of campaign I started to raise awareness of the dangers of Common Core during Mardi Gras last year.


Common Core bible

A graphic I had commissioned for a blog post explaining the dangers of Common Core with a shout out to Matthew.


My Common Core billboard

One of several large billboards my blog was featured on (bottom left corner) and recommended for parents to research the dangers of Common Core.

Beyond Bricks BESE candidate forum tonight at Woodlawn High School for district 6

Come out tonight to see me and the 4 other candidates for district 6 battle it out on a stage for your votes for the upcoming October 24 primary election.

Millions of dollars is being spent by PAC’s funded by out of state billionaires like the Waltons and Eli Broad. This may be one of your last chances to hear my vision of what our public education system needs and what we could accomplish without the hedge fund managers that brought about the Great Recession telling us what they think our public education system should look like.

Come support me as I discuss ending Common Core and Louisiana’s obsession with standardized tests we never see or use.

Let’s take back our public education system for our children. I can’t do this without your help and support.

Registration starts at 5:45.
Doors open at 6:00.
Event is scheduled intil 7:30 but I will be around before and after to talk to voters and provide campaign materials.


Jason France

Forum Registration Link

BESE Campaign News as of 9/28/15

I want to apologize to my regular readers of the blog.  I have been remiss with  my postings of late and there are a lot of great stories to write about.  However one of the biggest potential stories is the campaign I am working on now, my own, and it’s been keeping me very busy.

Some curious and wonderful events have transpired that most of you are not aware.  For starters I made my candidacy to BESE official.  I am on the October 24th ballot.  That’s just 4 weeks away folks.

In addition the incumbent, Chas Roemer, announced at the last minute (during the qualifying period) that he would not be seeking re-election for a third term.  This announcement was made a few hours after I registered my candidacy.  I’m not sure if the two are related, but I like to think so.  I have not been easy on Chas these last few years and I had plenty of material I was saving up to use on him in the primary had he chosen to run.

This last minute announcement of the incumbent not seeking re-election lured three new challengers to the race for district 6.  One of these challengers is backed by business and industry and Roemer.  All three are relative unknowns, just as myself and my original campaigning counterpart.

This race could be very interesting.  District 6 is a very conservative district by the numbers, by the way it was gerrymandered, although not all parishes and people are aligned that way. Public sentiment is very anti-common core, especially among conservatives, and I was one of the very first people in our state to speak out against Common Core publicly, and certainly the first person in my race.

In addition, a new group called “FlipBESE” has formed with parent activists across the state which has honored me with their endorsement.  FlipBESE has endorsed a candidate in every race in the state which is a stark contrast to the incumbent or challenger supported by the business and industry lobby “LABI”.  This year there is a unified message and slate of challengers to the business and vendor sponsored status quo and most races are head-to-head match-ups and with only one party on the ballot (Republican or Democrat.)

My race is the exception and will be one of the few requiring a run-off.  My race has 5 candidates.  Four candidates are Republicans and one candidate is a Libertarian.  The Libertarian candidate happens to be me.

My platform is to remove the destructive influence of the state and federal government and to restore our local education systems to our local governments.  Our state and federal governments don’t have a clue what’s going on in our schools, and they don’t seem to care.  Rather than working with children and parents they prefer to work with numbers and percentages.  They impose unjust and unreasonable burdens on our local systems at the behest of lobbyists and politicians far removed from our children and our communities.  I believe we need to limit their influence to whatever extent we can.  BESE is charged with overseeing the state department of Education, and as a BESE member I aim to turn the department around to have a look at itself, and what it is doing wrong, and to leave our local districts alone.

Rather than the top down, authoritarian approach to education that has led us down a road of ruin, I will encourage a collaborative one, where school districts tell the state what they believe works and what they think they need in terms of support.

We have delivered hundreds of signs and push cards to our supporters.  After making those purchases and the qualifying fee we are running low on funding and could use all the help you can spare.  If you planned to donate to the campaign, but were just waiting for the right time to do it, now is that time.  We won’t be able to efficiently and effectively spend money in the days before the election, so any last minute mailings or PR needs to be planned and purchased ASAP.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support (verbal, financial and volunteer work.)  We would not have made it this far without you, and now we are in the final stretch.  We actually have a pretty decent shot of making the run-off and winning this contest.  Please do what you can, especially if you live in district 6 or have have friends or relatives that do.

Jason France

Below are the links to volunteer or contribute:



Louisiana Charters Are by Far the Worst According to 2011 8th-grade NAEP Anaysis


People take John White and LDOE at their word that RSD is doing outstanding. Independent analysis continues to show otherwise. RSD is not a separate agency from LDOE, it is a part of it.

We would never consider taking a teacher’s word, alone, as proof they were the best teacher in the state. We don’t let principals evaluate their schools for us and tell us how great they are or if they are struggling. We don’t let any other districts in the state evaluate themselves except RSD, which is always self-evaluated as outstanding and revolutionary, every year. Yet even with all these “vast improvements” it still ranks at the bottom of our state by just about any positive metric you can find. And that, my friends, is before we even touch on all the scams they pull like exiting 10% more of their 9th grade cohorts out of the country than the sister, parish run district, colocated in New Orleans. That means that their grade rates, which are worst in the state, are a minimum of 10% lower than they’ve claimed. If a 50% graduation rate is what you are looking for, then RSD might be for you. It will cost you though. In the first years after the storm per pupil amounts were more than 4 times the average per pupil amount in the state.

Originally posted on deutsch29:

One of the primary problems with Louisiana’s state-run, all-charter Recovery School District (RSD) is that the same state that is in control of data (and the official word on its data) is also committed to representing its state-run district in the best light.

For this reason, independent analysis of data on Louisiana’s schools is particularly valuable, especially when the researchers are able to procure data independently of the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE).

Such is the case of an analysis of student-level eighth-grade 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data by two researchers from the University of Arizona, Francesca Lopez and Amy Olson. The Lopez-Olson analysis is featured in this Network for Public Education (NPE) policy brief. Specifically, Lopez and Olson compared traditional public schools to see what notable differences there might be between charters and traditional schools on eighth-grade 2011 NAEP outcomes.

Lopez and Olson’s analysis of charters…

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Hurricane Katrina Truths

The success of schools in New Orleans is more fiction than fact.  People in the United States prefer stories with a positive ending, where the good guys win, challenges are face head-on and overcome, and everyone lives happily ever after.  For too many kids in New Orleans, this is not the truth.

The improved matriculation rate is almost entirely due to using a new matching file.  You will see that over time this rate will no longer increase  The old rate did not include all Louisiana colleges or any out of state colleges.  You will see the largest increases in the better schools – because their best students were going out of state to flee the disaster that Bobby Jindal has made our Higher Education System into.  For now, this number has served its purpose by making many of you think New Orleans (and Louisiana for that matter) has achieved a miracle under John White.

The Recovery School District has been exiting as many as 18% of their 9th grade cohorts out of state or country.  This removes them from being calculated in School Performance scores, removes the impact of them actually dropping out, and raises graduation rates.  This rate has been steadily increasing for years to show increased performance to impress folks out of state looking to implement an RSD type solution.

The New Orleans system is divided between haves and have-nots.  The selective admission system has grown and done well.  The RSD competes not on quality but fancy advertising to draw new students – according to a survey of their own principals.

The population of New Orleans has changed.  It is less poor than prior to the storm as many of the poorest families were unable to return because they lacked the resources or any suitable housing.  There are no more housing projects in New Orleans and a lot less low income housing.  Comparing the two populations is not appropriate if you recognize poverty as a factor impacting performance.  By bringing up the poverty level of New Orleans in a recent op-ed, John White clearly does.

State Standardized Test Scores have been lowered by as much as 15% to improve the performance of RSD.  In other words, a student performing at Basic required 15% fewer correct answers than prior to John White’s arrival to achieve a “Basic” score, or about 40% of the material on our LEAP and iLEAP tests.

T (turnaround) schools occur every year and these schools do not appear in the “official statistics.  There is a perpetual population of students getting shuffled around and not being counted or considered in the success or failure of New Orleans schools.

Families often do not get their “choice”.  The choice selection is made by a computer program, not families.  Often the children are placed at schools very far away and require hours of busing to and from school.  Families with multiple children often find their children assigned to schools on opposite sides of the city making parental participation a nightmare or all but impossible.  Some parents report waking their kids up at 4am to get them ready for a bus that won’t bring them home until 7 at night – when there is only time for homework, a bite to eat, maybe a bath, and bed.  This forced separation destroys families.  Families that don’t like the choices assigned to them have the option of standing out unsheltered in the 100+ degree heat to try and make changes.  Thousands of families are forced to do this every year while Recovery School District Staff lounge in their luxury, climate controlled, downtown offices across from the Superdome.

Can you handle the truth?

Network for Public Education Endorses Jason France for Louisiana BESE


For those of you who didn’t already know, I received a very treasured set of endorsements today by NPE (The Network for Public Education) and legendary education champion Diane Ravitch, as well as my great friends and allies Dr. (and teacher blogger and author) Mercedes Schneider and New Orleans education activist Karran Harper Royal.

I am very proud and honored to receive this, and it could not have come at a better time.

Please take the time to read this and pass it along to your friends and family.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

In the last two state board elections in Louisiana, millions of dollars flowed to candidates from corporate reformers, mostly from out of state. They elected board members who support privatization and high-stakes testing. Now the people of Louisiana have a chance to elect Jason France, a oublic school parent who knows the inner workings of the state education department (having worked there). Jason needs every dollar he can raise to win. If you want to help him, his website is http://www.jasonfrance4la.com. I debated his opponent, Chas Roemer, a few years ago in Lafayette, Louisiana, and found him to be a true believer in vouchers, charters, letter grades for schools, and high-stakes accountability for teachers.

The Network for Public Education is proud to endorse Jason France for Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), District 6. Jason France, also know as the education blogger Crazy Crawfish, is a former Louisiana…

View original 710 more words

Now this is more like it. . . Blogging to Victory!

I want to thank all of my new and return supporters who came through last night.  As a result of your generosity I pulled in an additional $500 in donations and pledges.  I also picked up two new volunteers I hope to be able to leverage.  This phenomenon, and some recent conversations I’ve had with constituents and supporters, triggered some thoughts. . .

People need something to serve as a conversation starter about education issues with their friends and neighbors.  In some cases it might be a sign, or a pushcard sitting on a table, in other cases it might be an email or post about what is going on with Louisiana in terms of public education, and what we can do to fix it.

For quite a few months I’ve abandoned my blog in favor of face to face meetings and behind the scenes planning sessions.  Those will be ongoing, but I realize I’ve been sitting on my primary resource for reaching voters and impacting change, my blog.  I listened to a lot of political consultants and enemies who claimed fundraising could not be accomplished from online contributions, and that blogs are only read by a small subset of the electorate and the vast majority don’t know what’s going on and can be easily swayed by simple messages and false promises and propaganda.  As it was put to me by one of our chief opposition leaders – and I’m paraphrasing only slightly based on questions I put to them and their answers:

“…whomever has the most money to get their message out is the winner in this day and age.  It doesn’t really matter what your message is, who you are, what you record is, or what you stand for.  Right and wrong doesn’t matter.  Truth can be bought.  All the messages are lies and the best politicians are the best liars.  To win you just want to be the best funded one.”

Maybe this is true?  This election will provide some evidence to verify this claim or refute it.

The truth is our schools are under siege by the Louisiana Department of Education, it’s unqualified and callous leader, John White, and his cadre of inexperienced minions.  Anyone who raises and objection or steps out of line is punished by a department that is driving our education system into the ground with its junk analytics and criminally disruptive policies.  

I don’t want you to take my word for it.  Please go ask your neighbors, your local school board members, your local superintendents, your principals.  Ask them off the record, where other ears cannot hear.  You might just get some truth and begin to understand the depth of the problems we face and get a glimpse of the tyranny of the Louisiana Department of Education.

This agency needs a new leader, many new leaders in fact.  It needs a new direction and ethos based on support, encouragement and collaboration, not the masochistic punishment based system riddled with tragically flawed “metrics” that prey disproportionately on the weakest members of our society, our poorest children, our children with disabilities, our children that need the most support and guidance and get the least under the guise of “choice” and “accountability”.

If you believe as I do, that John White should be fired and the LDOE restructured to support our schools, school districts, parents and teachers please consider passing along this post, making a donation or volunteering to help.

My campaign website is http://www.jasonfrance4la.com

donations can be made atwww.jasonfrance4la.com/contribute

write me at jasonfrance4la@hotmail.com

To find out which district you are in and which candidate you should support to protect our schools, teachers, and children please visit:FlipBESE