An investigation by The Nation follows the money and connects the dots in last year’s state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education elections. The campaigns generated 10 times more spending than the 2007 election as some powerful, wealthy, out-of-state education reform supporters including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg donated tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars to select BESE candidates, ensuring that the board would be stacked in reformer-in-chief Gov. Bobby Jindal’s favor as he rammed sweeping changes to public education through earlier this year.
Much of the campaign cash, Nation writer Matthew Cunningham-Cook reports, was poured into BESE candidates supported by Jindal. Only one candidate opposed by Jindal, the outspoken Lottie Beebe, beat the odds. Six others backed by the out-of-state benefactors and related political action committees won their races, outspending their opponents to order of nearly 12-to-one. BESE is an 11-member board, so it’s now controlled by Jindalistas backed by this across-the-border largesse. And Jindal had a singular goal in mind, one shared by Bloomberg: getting John White approved by BESE as state superintendent. As Cunningham-Cook reports, that soon came to pass:
The new reform-minded board was sworn in on January 9, and two days later the BESE called a special meeting to confirm John White as state superintendent. It wasn’t long before the state’s political class, led by Governor Jindal, began discussing educational privatization on a scale incomparable to anywhere else in the nation, save for what happened in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
White, a champion of school reform and Teach for America alumnus who previously served as deputy chancellor of NYC public schools before a one-year stint as superintendent of the Recovery School District — in 2011, the year of his tenure, the RSD received a state score of D — has been a dutiful champion of Jindal’s ideological embrace of reforms that effectively dismantle public teacher unions and siphon millions of tax dollars away from the public school system and into private and charter schools.
It’s a tangled web, indeed. Read the whole story here.
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NOV 28 Bill Cassidy says the story about his possible double-dipping from taxpayers is a "non-issue," the ABC News politics blog reports here. The story, broken by bloggers Lamar White Jr. and Jason Brad Berry earlier this week, is probably an issue for some taxpayers.
NOV 28 Blogger Tom Aswell writes about the next step for the 6th Congressional race. Former Gov. and ex-con Edwin Edwards plans to take some shots at opponent Garret Graves by pointing out that Graves is buddies with Bobby Jindal.
NOV 28 Blogger Ian McGibboney responds to a troll-like poster who had a problem with his most recent post about the Saints. Since people are rioting in Ferguson, Ian shouldn't talk about football, this individual opined. It's possible to care about more than one thing, Ian counters.
NOV 28 Yet again, we're hearing about budget cuts that are necessary because of a big budget hole, this editorial in the American Press says. This raises some questions, the paper says, such as: Why does this keep happening? And how can this be so when we're being told our economy is doing great?
NOV 28 Blogger Jason Brad Berry, arguably the only guy in Louisiana who is truly paying attention to the BP claims process, has a little something to say about a Picayune story on the audit reports. He wants to know if the reporter has ESP, or just wrote her story based on a press release. He also has links to the documents she wrote about - so you can judge for yourself.
NOV 28 The publishers of the Forward Now blog post this disclaimer about their social media accounts. They don't monitor who "likes" their articles, the publishers say, and they aren't trying to manipulate Facebook likes. Say what?
NOV 26 Jim Brown, like many of us Louisiana voters, seems fed up with out of town know-it-alls trying to tell us what to do. Bill Cassidy can't make it through the day without flying someone in to "tell us political retards" how to vote, he says.
NOV 26 Zach Kopplin, who we came to know and love when he was a Louisiana high school student lobbying for the continued inclusion of science stuff in science class, pens this post in The Atlantic about a "textbook" available for social studies instruction in Texas that discusses how Moses contributed to the Constitution. (Oy! Texas rednecks love Jews. Who knew?)
NOV 26 Blogger Tom Aswell is writing about the behavior of the two finalists in the 6th Congressional District race: Edwin Edwards and Garret Graves. Edwards has come out swinging, but Graves' campaign seems bent on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, Tom says.
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