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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SEP 17 This post on Time could make Bobby Jindal smile and cry all at the same time. It gives him credit for "subtly shaping" GOP agenda. However, it also says his fast-talking style and "wonk status" (does that mean nerd?) make him "an unlikely fit to be a major party presidential nominee."
SEP 17 The controversy continues at Louisiana College, as some seem loathe to release their grip on the status quo. After the school's accrediting agency suspended the school's ranking and criticized its pattern of dishonesty, four board members had wanted a change in the chairman's position. When that didn't happen, they resigned in protest, the Alexandria Town Talk reports here.
SEP 17 Blogger Lamar White Jr. takes a look at Louisiana's Tea Party, and the decision to classify it as an LLC instead of a political party. He also throws in some illuminating facts about the so-called IRS "witch hunt" against Tea Party groups -- which, it turns out, was nothing of the kind.
SEP 17 This post on CNN features Bobby Jindal being supremely indifferent to poll numbers that have him (as blogger Tom Aswell has so poetically stated) coming in 12th in a 10-man race. Bobby's decision won't be based on poll numbers, he says; he's thinking and praying. Hey B - maybe God's trying to tell you something?
SEP 17 A state district judge ruled the so-called Edmonson Amendment unconstitutional in Baton Rouge Tuesday, and declared it null and void, the Picayune tells us in this post. Edmonson himself is saying (now) he always felt it wasn't right, and is so glad this happened. Uh... what?
SEP 17 Blogger Tom Aswell gives us his take on the demise of the Edmonson Amendment, and reveals the use of a "hurt feelings report" by a state police official. The report, which resulted in the firing of a football coach in another state, is pretty bad.
SEP 17 If the "when white people fight" video was the war side, blogger Mighty Favog has found the love side. Here's a video of two (let us hope they aren't sober) inebriated white people who got so carried away in their demonstration of, er, affection that they fell. In Tiger Stadium. During the game. The best part is the reaction (or lack thereof) among their fellow fans. (Hey, there's a game going on!)
SEP 17 When someone tells you that New Orleans is lousy with singles, the first thing that comes to mind might be a fist full of stripper bait. But, as this story on NOLA Defender tells us, NOLA leads the nation in single people. That's a good thing, NoDef says, because they are full of fresh ideas. (Yeah - and kale.)
SEP 16 Here's something for LSU to be proud of. It's a video of some (presumed) 'frat boys' manhandling another young man who is not wearing a polo shirt and khakis on the parade grounds prior to Saturday's LSU football game. The best part of this brief video is the look on the face of the guy who shot it, who also is (presumably) responsible for the title of the tape.
SEP 16 Finally, something useful from a daily newspaper. Here's a story in the Picayune about the Jambalaya Calculator, a free-to-download spreadsheet that helps hungry Cajuns calculate ingredients for the dish.
SEP 16 Here's a post from the Facebook page of the Al Berard Music Festival, announcing the date of the new event to honor the musician's memory and to raise money for the Al Berard Memorial Music Fund at Community Foundation of Acadiana. They're seeking volunteers, if you want to help.
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