The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) recently hired a new executive director, and, following a disturbing trend, selected the candidate with connections with Teach for America rather than traditional public education credentials. This selection, from outside our state, leads me to offer a revision to the “Louisiana Believes” slogan ... “Louisiana Believes ... Not in its Products!” Why are we putting so much emphasis on increasing student achievement in Louisiana?

The action taken by BESE on Wednesday, August 15th, is, in my opinion, indicative of its belief that our residents are not competent enough to accept the challenges of leadership. There were definitely applicants from Louisiana who could have effectively assumed the BESE Executive Director responsibilities. Among the applicants were attorneys and those with Ph.Ds. One individual had first-hand knowledge of the operations of BESE and was not afforded an interview.   

Unfortunately, some of these individuals do not possess Teach for America (TFA) connections. It is evident TFA is the common thread that links many in leadership roles within the state Department of Education today. It is indeed unfortunate that we snub our “products” when our mission is to educate students and have them believe that opportunities await them in Louisiana.

While our residents look on, our jobs are being outsourced.  Wake up, Louisiana!

Lottie P. Beebe, District 3
Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

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