Archives for category: Jindal, Bobby

In an interview, John White made it clear that he wants to keep his $275,000 job as state superintendent in Louisiana. Bobby Jindal pushed the state board to hire him after his brief stint as superintendent of the Néw Orleans Recovery School Diistrict. White loyally implemented Jindal’s agenda of vouchers, charters, for-profit schools, and attacks on teachers’ due process, as well as test-based evaluation. But then Jindal and White locked horns over Common Core. Jindal wanted out, White didn’t. (White’s only school experience is TFA. Also he attended the unaccredited Broad Superintendents’ Academy.)

Now one of the leading candidates for governor has said White has to go. Open the statement for links.

John Bel Edwards issued the following statement;

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: media@johnbelforlouisiana.com; 225-435-9808
Edwards: John White Will Never Be Superintendent On My Watch

BATON ROUGE, La. – State Representative and candidate for governor John Bel Edwards (D-Amite) responded to news that State Superintendent John White wishes to remain in his current position under the next governor’s administration.

“I have no intention of allowing John White, who isn’t qualified to be a middle school principal, to remain as Superintendent when I am governor,” Edwards said. “We have so many highly qualified candidates right here in Louisiana that we don’t need to go looking in New York City for our next head of K-12 education.”

White’s tenure as State Superintendent has been frought with controversy and accusations of wrongdoing. In 2012, White was embroiled in scandal after emails revealed political motives behind his fight to ensure that expanded school vouchers were approved by the Louisiana Legislature. Thanks to testimony by Rep. John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana Supreme Court later found the voucher scheme to be unconstitutional, because it did, as White denied, illegally divert funding designated for local city and parish public schools. Later, voucher schools approved under White’s watch were shown to lack a requisite number of teachers, lunch rooms, and other resources common to any proper school. In 2013, he was accused of having purposefully inflated letter grades for certain schools. For at least three years, White knew about inequities in special education funding which violated directives in the La. Constitution, but declined to take action to correct the problem even after the Legislature urged and requested that he do so in 2014. Under White’s watch per pupil funding for public k-12 schools was frozen despite many new unfunded mandates. During the same time period the per pupil amount paid to private schools through the state voucher program increased each year.

Citing these controversies Edwards said,”We need genuine leadership at the helm of the Louisiana Department of Education. We will have that when we elect a genuine leader as governor.”

White’s only formal training in educational administration was earned during six weekend trainings at the Eli Broad Superintendent’s Academy, meant to be an introduction to issues facing Superintendents at the local level.

Mercedes Schneider says that Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2015 sounds remarkably like Governor Bonby Jindal in 2012.

Amazing resemblance:

“In Louisiana in 2012, second-term-elected Governor Jindal commanded the legislature. As for his test-driven education agenda, Jindal had the legislature pass Act 1, commonly known as the Teacher Tenure Law, in short order. That is the legislation that officially ushered in Louisiana teachers’ being graded using their students’ test scores, with 50 percent of the annual teacher evaluation based on student scores and 50 percent, on administrative evaluation. Teachers are rated in one of four categories–“highly effective,” “effective,” “effective emerging,” and “ineffective.” An “ineffective” rating via test scores is enough for a teacher to be declared “ineffective” overall.

“For teachers to have tenure, they must be rated “highly effective” for five out of six years.

“Looks like Cuomo has taken his 2015 State of the State teacher evaluation ideas from Louisiana in 2012.”

Jindal didn’t get far with his teacher-bashing agenda. Most of it was declared unconstitutional by the courts. It’s time for teachers in Néw York to Send In the Lawyers to stop Cuomo from destroying the profession.

James Kirylo is a professor of teaching and learning in Louisiana and president of the faculty senate at Southeastern Louisiana University. Since the media lets Governor Jindal say things without challenging him, Professor Kirylo sets the record straight here.

 

 

 

A Response to Governor Jindal’s Appearance on Meet the Press

Governor Jindal recently appeared on Meet the Press. The host Chuck Todd peppered the Governor with a variety of questions, asking why he didn’t expand Medicaid, being that it would be helpful for the 200,000 uninsured people in the state (although the number is likely more toward the 750,000 range).

Todd also reminded the Governor how Louisiana nearly has a billion dollar hole in our budget; how at every midyear review, our deficit has grown; how the big tax cut at the beginning of the governor’s term has not been followed by revenue; and that a majority in Louisiana disapprove of his job as governor.

Governor Jindal predictably deflected much of what Todd said, and stated at the onset that he doesn’t care about the poll numbers and never has. He also proudly mentioned that he’s cut our state budget 26%, cut the number of state employees 34%, and declared how not spending on Medicaid is another dollar we don’t have to borrow from China, and that we shouldn’t waste those federal tax dollars.

Furthermore, the Governor asserted how we’ve actually improved healthcare access and outcomes here in our state. Citing an example—how it used to take ten days to get a prescription filled—now one can get it done in ten minutes. Finally, the Governor also touted his so-called school choice program, and concluded that he has balanced the budget every single year without running deficits, and without raising taxes.

As I watched Meet the Press, listening to the least transparent governor in the nation, I was amazed, though not surprised, by what the Governor did not mention, some of which I will, therefore, do here. First, when the Governor says he does not care that the majority of Louisianans disapprove of his job as governor, it obviously means he doesn’t care what I think, what state workers think, and what the hundreds and thousands of us who have been greatly harmed by his policies think. It is obvious there is only one person the Governor cares about.

Of course, he didn’t mention that when he talks about how he has sliced and diced the state budget, it has resulted in the near decimation of higher education. Indeed, universities have been cut 80% in the last several years, tuition has exponentially risen, and the LA Grad Act is simply a devious scheme that fosters a system that unduly taxes students in order to fund higher education. In a poor state like ours, this is simply a formula that further widens the opportunity gap, and further widens the gap between the proverbial “haves” and “have-nots.”

He also didn’t mention that numerous underpaid university people have endured near poverty wages, have endured furloughs, have had no cost of living allowances now inching toward the ten year mark, that numerous individuals can’t afford health care, that top flight faculty have left the state, that public school teachers have been blamed for everything that ails our state, that Louisiana has the nation’s fourth highest high school dropout rate, that our high school graduation rate ranks 45th in the nation, that we have one of the highest childhood poverty rates in the country, and that we have the highest incarceration rate in the country, if not the world.

Of course, he didn’t mention that Louisiana ranks 50th among the states in overall health, and that we lead the nation in the highest infant mortality rate, the highest diabetes-related death rate, and the highest rate of death from breast cancer, and third-highest rate of cancer deaths overall.

And of course, he wouldn’t mention that according to a Washington Post report a short while back, the state of Louisiana is expecting a $1.2 billion budget shortfall next year, which has now risen to 1.4 billion. And this is despite the Jindal administration hiring a New York-based consulting firm for $7.3 million to find ways to generate and save revenue. Finally, he didn’t mention what can be characterized as the Office of Group Benefits (OGB) scandal, where many are asking about the half of the $500 million dollars that was in the OGB reserve fund, but is now gone.

It should be no surprise critics are calling Jindal’s handling of the budget his blind-spot. But that is not his only blind spot. The other one is that he is blind to the fact that he has hurt the lives of so many hard-working Louisianans. And the irony of ironies when the Governor concluded his visit with Meet the Press, he stated that the American Dream was in jeopardy and that should he run for president, he would focus on restoring that dream.

It was then I turned off my television set, had to shake my head, and grabbed my dictionary to double-check the definition of delusional.

 

 

 

James D. Kirylo is an education professor, a former state teacher of the year, and his most recent book is titled A Critical Pedagogy of Resistance. He can be reached at jkirylo@yahoo.com


James D. Kirylo, Ph.D.
Professor
Faculty Senate, President
Southeastern Louisiana University
Department of Teaching and Learning
SLU 10749
Hammond, LA 70402

“To be called an educator is an incredible responsibility and an earned privilege. Not only does teaching require command of subject matter, but it also involves a deep understanding of human behavior. A conscientious educator is always in process striving toward excellence within the complexity of a multi-cultural society. Indeed, teaching is an extraordinary journey that requires one to negotiate through a channel of multiple challenges, dilemmas, and opportunities.”

Crazy Crawfish (aka Jason France, who was a data analyst at the Louisiana Department of Education) offers a fascinating insight into the political machinations behind Governor Bobby Jindal’s effort to ditch the Common Core.

Jindal was an enthusiastic supporter of CC until last June, when he suddenly became an opponent. The state commissioner of education, John White, a steadfast ally of Jindal, announced that he would fight the governor. The state board of education joined White, including two of Jindal’s appointees.

In Louisiana, Jindal is known as a governor who does not tolerate disloyalty. He swiftly punishes dissidents in his ranks. Yet no one of Jindal’s former allies faced retribution for opposing him. Something smelled fishy.

Then came the trial of Jindal vs. White on the Common Core, and Jindal’s lawyer didn’t call any witnesses. Jason France thinks he threw the fight. He thinks the fix is in. Jindal doesn’t want to get rid of the Common Core, he wants to appear to be trying because Common Core is a liability among the conservative voters that Jindal needs for his presidential aspirations.

France concludes:

“The chaos we are experiencing was intentionally fomented by John White, Chas Roemer and Bobby Jindal to distract people and wear them out. This betrayal was planned.

“Sadly, this is just another ruse perpetrated by those in power to avoid listening to parents’ real problems, and another reason parents are right to fear and fight Common Core. I expect this distraction to last until Jindal leaves office. John White and Chas Roemer were correct when they stated Jindal’s opposition to Common Core was politically motivated. The irony is that they were quite likely complicit in the deception from the get-go; to increase all of their profiles. That ploy has worked. Now we get to decide if their profiles are ultimately positively or negatively impacted by this fiasco.”

A Louisiana judge ruled against Governor Jindal in his efforts to dump Common Core and PARCC.

Mercedes Schneider read the court decision and concludes that Jindal lost in court against proponents of Common Core because his lawyer didn’t make a good case. She says he better get a better legal team or be prepared to lose again.

Well, I gave you an update on the latest episode in the Louisiana battle over Common Core. But of course I don’t know as much as Mercedes Schneider, who teaches in the state and stays abreast of the latest news and gossip.

So here is the scoop, from the inside.

Who will sue whom?

What tests will be used?

Will the governor beat the superintendent that he once loved and the board he appointed?

On June 18, Governor Jindal announced that Louisiana was pulling out of Common Core and dropping PARCC testing. State commissioner of education John White disagreed. The state board of education supports White.

Wow! The Governor versus the state commissioner!

Mercedes Schneider brings us up to date on this epic struggle between the governor and the state commissioner he once strongly supported.

The state board of education and White wants to sue Jindal, but apparently they need Jindal’s approval to sue him. Do you think they will get it?

Jindal has put a lid on the Department of Education’s spending. Can they afford to make a new testing contract?

The deadline to sign a contract for PARCC testing is July 30, with a down payment of 15%. Hmm. That could be a problem for Commissioner White and the state board since Jindal holds the purse strings.

Poker, anyone? Chess?

While Governor Bobby Jindal and State Superintendent John White continue to slug it out over Common Core and PARCC testing, a new wrinkle has been added.

Blogger Louisiana Voice reports that John White’s office is being investigated for payroll fraud:

“LouisianaVoice has learned the Legislative Auditor’s office is conducting an investigation of DOE that could involve payroll fraud, according to sources inside the department.

“White, as we have reported several times in the past, has loaded up the department with unclassified appointments at bloated six-figure salaries.

“There are apparently three major problems with that:

“Many of these appointees seldom, if ever, show up for work and apparently are required to perform few, if any, duties to earn their keep;

“The department did not have enough money in its budget to pay their salaries so they are reportedly being paid from federal funds earmarked for specific purposes;

“The appointees are not assigned to areas for which the federal funds are allocated.

“If true, these are serious allegations and even more serious violations that could prompt a federal probe in addition to the investigation already underway by the Legislative Auditor.”

Stephanie Simon reports at politico.com that Governor Bobby Jindal’s lawyer advised him he has the right to withdraw Louisiana from the Common Core and the federally-funded PARCC tests.

State Superintendent John White said in an interview that Jindal was wrong. He went even further and accused the governor of breaking the law: “State Superintendent John White has accused the governor of breaking the law, trampling the state constitution and crushing the dreams of low-income minority students by rejecting the Common Core and scrapping plans to give students new exams aligned to the standards.”

“White said his attorneys are reviewing the legal memo. His team is also working to compile reams of documentation about the state’s contacts with PARCC and its plans to administer the PARCC test — including invoices, contracts, meeting minutes, calendar entries, memos and emails.”

Jindal can’t fire White. White works for the state board of education. This is one of the most startling developments in the saga of the Common Core: a governor who signed the memorandum to adopt the Common Core and now wants out vs. the state superintendent, who is fighting to keep the Common Core and tests.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/jindal-ally-blasts-common-core-illegal-108321.html#ixzz35mTvI6H1

Stephanie Simon interviewed State Superintendent John White, who blasted Governor Bobby Jindal for dropping Common Core and PARCC testing. White said that Jindal was denying children their “civil rights.” Isn’t it weird how these privatizers like to use “civil rights” as a rhetorical weapon without any meaning? It used to refer to the right to attend a desegregated school, the right to vote, the right to be equal before the law, now it is allegedly means the right to take the same standardized test? Since it is a well-demonstrated fact that standardized tests favor those whose family income and family education are high, one could easily argue that a concern for civil rights requires an education in which standardized tests are minimized or completely absent.

Here is the summary of the Simon interview. It links to politico.pro, a website with a big paywall. I inquired about subscribing and was told it costs $3,400. [Breaking: Stephanie Simon informed that the story about the interview is now available free, not behind a paywall. It is here.]

“JINDAL TAKING FIRE: Louisiana State Superintendent John White told POLITICO in an interview that Gov. Bobby Jindal is breaking the law, trampling the state constitution and crushing the dreams of low-income and minority students by trying to scrap the Common Core and PARCC exams. The two state leaders previously worked hand-in-hand on far-reaching education reforms, expanding the state’s school voucher program and standing together during a federal investigation into the program. Jindal and White lambasted the Obama administration for investigating the voucher program, saying the federal government was violating the civil rights of the mostly black, low-income students in the program. But now White is turning that rhetoric on Jindal. “It is high irony,” White said, “that people who support the civil right to choose a school don’t support the civil right to have all students take the same test.” He added pointedly: “Lowering expectations comes in many forms.” Stephanie Simon has the story: http://politico.pro/1wzkUoY”

“- Jindal spokesman Mike Reed dismissed White’s allegations. White’s education department is violating the law, he said. “These accusations are silly,” Reed said. “Under Louisiana law, the Louisiana Department of Education is required to issue a request for a proposal for an assessment, and the department has not done that. The department needs to abide by Louisiana law, do its job and issue an RFP.”

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