Friday, July 10, 2015

Your Guide to BESE Elections

Why the John White Controlled BESE is Wrong for Louisiana

All elected seats for BESE will be up for election in the October 24, 2015 primary election. There are 8 elected members on BESE that run in districts similar to the old Louisiana Congressional Districts. Five of the present elected members have been closely aligned with State Superintendent John White and have consistently voted for policies that have done great damage to our public education system and to the status and wellbeing of our professional educators. It is my hope that these individuals will be defeated and replaced by persons who believe in public education governed by local voters and our elected local school boards. We need candidates who respect professional educators and who value their professional opinion on education matters. 

There are three elected members of BESE that have stood for local control, and that have opposed policies that are harmful to public education who should be reelected. These very positive, pro-public education members of BESE are Dr Lottie Beebe representing the 3rd BESE district,  Mary Harris representing the 4th BESE district, and Carolyn Hill representing the 8th BESE district. I am asking my readers who live and vote in these three districts to please vote for and assist these good BESE members in getting reelected.

The flawed policies of the John White majority on BESE

·      Privatization of public schools: The John White controlled faction of BESE has consistently supported the approval of privately managed charters schools that use MFP funding over the objection of our local school boards. These charter managers are not responsible to the voters in each local district and can pocket a large percentage of our tax dollars without voter approval and at the same time deliver a substandard education to Louisiana children. Some takeover school managers have been allowed to choose their own governing agency and are not being returned to the local school boards as the original law intended.  This is an abuse of public trust. See this recent new story about a charter manager using our taxes for personal credit card expenses and his sweetheart deal with LDOE bosses.
·      Substandard accountability for Charter and Voucher schools: The John White controlled faction of BESE allows some voucher and charter schools to operate without proper professional staff and facilities. This shortchanges the students attending these schools financed by our tax dollars. Some of these privately managed schools use mandatory entrance interviews to cull out hard to educate students and serve fewer handicapped students, (This fact has been documented by a lawsuit against the Recovery District and the LDOE) Many charter schools dump discipline problems and low performers back to the real public schools, and counsel out students that would lower their school performance scores.
·      Unfair VAM Evaluations of Teachers: The John White controlled faction on BESE has approved BESE polices that require 10% of all VAM rated teachers must be found to be ineffective each year even if overall student performance on state standards improves. This inherently unfair and error plagued process for teacher evaluation that is driving away good teachers will not be changed as long as White controls the majority on BESE.
·       Damage to the Teacher Retirement System: Present BESE policy allows charter schools and voucher schools to opt out of the teacher retirement system while still retaining the full MFP allocation for each student. This policy puts a growing burden on our local school boards and provides a windfall profit to the charter managers.
·      Refusal to consider legitimate criticisms of Common Core by parents and teachers: The John White faction of BESE has repeatedly ignored legitimate complaints that portions of the Common Core standards are not age appropriate and that some methods required by the standards are impractical and counter-productive. The only reason the standards are now being reviewed is because the legislature and the governor have demanded it in recent legislation.
·      Control by Out-of-State Interests: The biggest problem with our John White aligned majority on BESE is that they are basically controlled by out-of-state and privatizer interests. Big contributors such as Michael Bloomberg, Lane Grigsby, K-12 Virtual schools, USA Charter Schools,  and Teach for America supporters, all make huge contributors to BESE campaigns with the condition that their candidates will support John White in basically all his policies. This puts one person (who is not even qualified to serve as an assistant principal) with a flawed philosophy in charge of our educational system instead of the parents and taxpayers. These BESE members must be changed if we are to restore local control of our public school systems and to prevent misuse of our tax dollars.  Our public education system was set up to insure that all children have an opportunity to get properly educated. It was not set up so that profiteers could make money using our tax dollars. The issue of school choice has been perverted to serve the interests of a few wealthy contributors to BESE and legislative campaigns who are misusing our school taxes while shortchanging students. Only the defeat of the John White "yes" men and women on BESE will change this trend.

The following candidates have great credentials and platforms to serve on BESE and have made it clear that the John White privatization machine will not control them:

District 1; Candidate Lee Barrios, is a retired educator who has been very active in supporting parents and educator rights. This district includes St Tammany, Northern Jefferson and part of Orleans. Ms Barrios' campaign website is Contributions may be sent to Lee Barrios Campaign, P.O. Box 1456, Abita Springs,  LA 70420.

District 2; No challenger has announced yet for the district, which includes much of Orleans, St Charles, St John and St James.

District 3; Incumbent Dr Lottie Beebe represents southern St. Landry, southern Pointe Coupee, St. Martin, Iberville, Iberia, St Mary, Terrebonne, Lafourche, southern Jefferson, St. Bernard and Plaquemines. She is the local superintendent for St. Martin Parish Click here for her Facebook page. Email is

District 4; Incumbent Mary Harris is a school principal in Caddo Parish and has proven that she will be independent and support professional educators and parents. This district includes Caddo, Bossier, Webster, Bienville, Red River, Desoto, Sabine, Natchitoches, Winn, and Vernon. Click here for her Facebook page. Email is 

District 5; Candidate Johnny Fatheree is an excellent well educated candidate who supports reading improvement in the place of endless testing and opposes Common Core. He believes in supporting professional educators. This district includes the parishes of: Claiborne, Union, Morehouse, E. Carroll, W. Carroll, Madison, Richland, Ouachita, Jackson, Caldwell, Franklin, Tensas, Concordia, Catahoula, LaSalle, Grant, Rapides, and Evangeline. Click here for his Facebook page. Email: Campaign contributions to: PO Box 976 Farmerville, LA 71241.

District 6; Candidate Jason France is a parent of public school children, is an expert in state education policies and opposes Common Core and state and federal interference in our schools. His blog, Crazy Crawfish has exposed some of the most serious improper conduct of John White and his administration. This district includes the southern portion and far North portion of East Baton Rouge Parish,  and all of Ascension, Livingston, Tangipahoa, and Washington Parish. Click here for his web site. It includes a contribution button and volunteer button. Email is

District 7; Candidate Michael Kreamer is a school principal who has made his position clear in opposition to school privatization and interference in our schools by federal authorities. This district includes Beauregard, Allen, Calcasieu, Jeff Davis, Acadia, Lafayette, Vermilion and Cameron. Click here for his Facebook page. Email: Contributions may be sent to MikeKreamerforBESE7, 2851 Johnston St., Lafayette, LA 70503.

District 8; Incumbent Carolyn Hill is a professional school social worker who has repeatedly taken firm stands against the John White machine. She has shown true compassion for our students and supports parent and educator rights. This district includes Avoyelles, North St. Landry, North Point Coupee, West Feleciana, East Feleciana, St. Helena, and West Baton Rouge, and North EBR. Click here for her Facebook page. 

Another important source of BESE election information is the Flip BESE Facebook Page.

Please visit the Facebook page of the candidate in your district and offer them the support they will need to go up against the big money supporting the John White faction of BESE. Small contributions from many people can make a big difference. Please "like" your candidates' Facebook page and send it to all your friends with your recommendation of support. Or you could help in the old fashioned way by just talking to your friends and relatives about supporting the good candidates that will help us to Flip BESE!