Home Opinion Letters Long: La. Power Coalition at BESE Meeting

Long: La. Power Coalition at BESE Meeting

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BESE Board met on July 1, 2014 and it was a long day for the representatives from Louisiana Power Coalition. The short but contentious agenda at hand, scheduled a battle royal between the proponents and the opponents of the Executive Orders on the PARCC testing from the Governor’s office. The executive order from Governor Jindal’s pen was to defund the PARCC test. PARCC testing is the Common Core aligned tests. It was a long day and there was no solution making it an even longer wait mid-Summer for a solution for the students testing.

Now we must wait for the legal battle between Superintendent White and Governor Bobby Jindal. BESE board members, Jane Smith, Carolyn Hill, and Lottie Beebe did their very best to stop the rest of the board from a counter-productive resolution to go directly to legal counsel. These three members’ request to resolve the problem of scheduling then and there by using the Leap and I Leap tests used last year for this upcoming school year fell on deaf ears by Chas Roemer, Holly Boffy, Connie Bradford, James D. Garvey, Jr., Dr. Judith M. Miranti and Kira Orange-Jones.

The bottom line is this. These proceedings were the culmination of governmental struggles between two monumental ideas. On the one hand, you have the proponents which were fewer in number as attendees at the meeting who believe in Common Core and the standardized testing that will eventually create a workforce for big corporations and big government. On the other hand, we had the majority of the attendees at the meeting who want to stop Common Core. The majority represented there spoke passionately about what Common Core really represented and what this education reform was truly leading our country to and why they refuse to allow their children and grandchildren to continue down that road.

As a reminder, Louisiana Power Coalition, representing the concerned citizen, came to the BESE board to discuss the ensuing problems with Common Core last year but the majority of the BESE board members did not hear us. We have returned this year to demand that BESE follow Governor Jindal’s Executive Orders. Governor Jindal did hear the people and he has responded to them with the Executive Order to get us out of Common Core aligned testing. The argument went on and on between Chas Roemer who offered his constant obstructionist techniques to derail or stop opponents to his resolution to derail another RFP. His do or die objective, was to collectively vote to head straight to legal counsel to sue the Governor for his Executive Orders. At one point in the public meeting, there were people calling “Fire White!”

The legal problem at hand was to find out if Superintendent White had followed the state procurement laws regarding the Request for Proposals which would allow other testing vendors to bid for the tests administered in the schools. The other problem at hand was the way to proceed. Roemer and White repeatedly wanted clarity, clarity, clarity on who really has the authority to order what tests the students in Louisiana are to take. Was it Superintendent John White or Governor Bobby Jindal? If we heard clarity once in the six hour ongoing debate we heard it one hundred times. Would BESE continue with legal counsel or would they lay down their own objections and proceed with the Request for Proposal to ask for other testing vendors to provide other tests? Of course, White and Roemer are hell bent on having things their way.

I believe neither side has addressed the public outcry! In the end, some of BESE’s elected members are just that ELECTED. They can still be recalled by 33.3% of the district they serve. In the end the people shall prevail. We will see, in approximately two weeks, by July 18th, whether the Governor’s office and John White’s office have had their discussions. We will see if the outcome will benefit the children of this state or will it benefit Superintendent John White and Chas Roemer and their PARCC consortium? If they are unable to come to a resolution, then legal council will be sought and this matter will be in the state courts.

It seems that we the people should call for Superintendent John White to resign. If he wants clarity I suggest we can get that easily by asking for his resignation. It is our children’s education that is at stake here. It is time to demand the Request for Proposal and tell the BESE board to stop their delays.

Diane Long
President of Louisiana
Power Coalition, LLC