Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Good Choices for BESE Seats

Several experienced, and dedicated educators have qualified for election to BESE along with several incumbents who have already proven themselves to be friends of public education. Voters will have a choice of electing practical decision makers to the state's most critical school board and to remove those who would privatize our public schools. If elected, I believe the leaders I have highlighted will adopt only tested and effective polices that will move education forward in Louisiana.

The following are highly qualified educators and solid public school leaders who have qualified for election to BESE. Within the next week, this blog will inform you of any endorsements made by the Coalition for Louisiana Public Education for BESE elections. It is my understanding that the Coalition will recommend persons who are qualified, who are supportive of sound education improvements, and who truly believe that schools should be directed by elected school boards rather than self appointed privatization groups.
  • In BESE District 1, either Lee Barrios or Sharon Hewitt , should be considered. Ms Barrios is a retired teacher who has been active in testifying before BESE and the Legislature and has demonstrated a superior knowledge of education issues. Sharon Hewitt is a highly respected business and parent leader in the St. Tammany public school system. She is highly regarded and trusted by local St. Tammany School Board members. The incumbent, James Garvey, from District 1 has in my opinion blindly followed the dictates of former Superintendent Pastorek. He has been a poor representative of public education.
  • In BESE District 2, the incumbent, Louella Givens has proven to be a strong supporter of public education. She is knowledgeable about what works in education, and is not swayed by the latest privatization schemes. She is opposed by Kira Jones, the director of Teach For America in New Orleans who would be the worst choice for public education.
  • In BESE District 3, Lottie Beebie is a personnel director in St. Martin Parish schools who has extensive experience as a teacher and a principal who has served as a school board member in St. Landry Parish. She is very knowledgeable about the critical issues in education. The incumbent, Glenny Lee Bouquet, has not been responsive to the recommendations of public education leaders in her district and had not planned to run until encouraged to do so by Governor Jindal.
  • In BESE District 4, Walter Lee, the incumbent who is a strong supporter of public education is unopposed.
  • In BESE District 5, Keith Guice, the incumbent is also a strong supporter of public education. Mr Guice who is a former local superintendent has always been willing to make practical, educationally sound decisions on BESE. He deserves to be reelected!
  • In BESE District 6, Donald Songy who has extensive experience as a teacher, principal and local Superintendent deserves the strong consideration of all educators and all voters wanting a practical yet innovative approach to public education. He has testified before BESE and the Legislature on critical education issues. He is a member of the Coalition for Louisiana Public Education. His opponent, Chas Roemer, the incumbent BESE member in District 6, has been an enemy of public education and has supported destructive BESE actions such as the new grading system for schools which I believe is very unfair to schools and will damage efforts to get positive parental support.
  • In BESE district 7,  Dale Bayard has been a fighter for public education. He is always willing to listen to the professionals in the field and is not swayed by the privatizers of public education. He deserves to be reelected! His opponent is supported by the Lane Grigsby PAC.
  • In BESE district 8, outgoing BESE member Linda Johnson is not running for reelection. She has told the Coaltion that she will support attorney, Demoine Rutledge who has experience representing local school boards. Other candidates in the race are Russell Armstrong, Jimmy Guillory, and Carolyn Hill. I am not familiar with these other candidates.
Please watch for future posts on this blog that will inform you of all candidates recommended by the Coalition for Louisiana Public Education in all 8 BESE districts.