Archives for category: Louisiana

Governor Bobby Jindal says he will not ask for John White’s resignation. They disagree. Jindal says the state is dropping Common Core and pulling out of the PARCC test. White says the governor is wrong. White says the state is staying in Common Core and PARCC.

The governor has canceled funding for PARCC and called for an audit of the state department of education.

Stay tuned.

State Commissioner John White says Louisiana will NOT drop Common Core or the PARCC tests.

John Whiite issued this statement:

Jun 18, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. – The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the Louisiana Department of Education today reaffirmed that the state will implement the Common Core State Standards, as well as grade 3-8 test forms and questions developed by states within the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) for the 2014-2015 school year. The Department will deliver and score the grade 3-8 tests using the state’s currently active contract for grade 3-8 testing, awarded through the state procurement process.

In 2010, after a public review process, BESE adopted the Common Core State Standards as minimum expectations for reading, writing, and mathematics. The Governor, the BESE President, and the State Superintendent then signed a commitment to developing test forms and questions that would allow the state’s performance to be measured in comparison with other states. Nearly 45,000 Louisiana students tried out the resulting PARCC forms and questions in March and April of 2014.

The plan to continue implementation fulfills BESE’s legal role and obligations. Under the Louisiana State Constitution, BESE “shall supervise and control the public elementary and secondary schools and special schools under its jurisdiction and shall have budgetary responsibility for all funds appropriated or allocated by the state for those schools, all as provided by law.”

State law requires that “[t]he state Department of Education shall, with the approval of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, as part of the Louisiana Competency-Based Education Program, develop and establish statewide content standards for required subjects to be taught in the public elementary and secondary schools of this state.”

Regarding the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and the PARCC tests, state law mandates that “[b]eginning with the 2014-2015 school year, standards-based assessments shall be based on nationally recognized content standards.” State law also mandates that “[t]he rigor of each standard-based test, at a minimum, shall be comparable to national achievement tests” and “student achievement standards shall be set with reference to test scores of the same grade levels nationally.” The plan reaffirmed by BESE and the Department today meets with these legal requirements.

“For years, the law has required that BESE measure literacy and math achievement,” said BESE President Chas Roemer. “Four years ago, our board committed to measuring learning in comparison with states across the country, and two years ago the Legislature put this plan into the law. BESE is continuing to implement that law.”

“State and federal law have long required that Louisiana measure literacy and math performance through standards and annual tests,” said State Superintendent John White. “By using test forms and questions that make results comparable among states, we are following the Legislature’s mandate that we not only measure but also compete.”

For further information on Louisiana’s plan to raise expectations and compete with other states, click here.

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Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal held a press conference today to announce that the state is dropping its participation in PARCC and Common Core. He directed the state board to develop its own standards and assessments.

Civil rights activists lodged a federal complaint about abuses of the rights of African-American children in the Recovery School District. State Commissioner of Education John White referred to their complaint as a “farce” and a “joke.”


The complaint, written by Karran Harper Royal of the Coalition for Community Schools and Frank Buckley of Conscious Concerned Citizens Controlling Community Changes, said the state’s policy of closing and chartering conventional schools is racially discriminatory. It said the decisions put black children disproportionately in low-performing schools, while the higher-scoring schools have admission policies designed to favor white children. Similar complaints were filed the same day against Newark, N.J., and Chicago schools.


The state Recovery School District took over about 80 percent of New Orleans’ public schools after Hurricane Katrina. After a last wave of closures, it is now an all-charter system. The complaint asks the government to freeze charter renewals and sought to stop the final closures, of Benjamin Banneker, A.P. Tureaud, George Washington Carver, Walter L. Cohen and Sarah T. Reed.


Royal and Buckley called for White’s resignation:



June 4, 2014


John White
State Superintendent of Education Louisiana Department of Education 1201 North Third Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802


Dear Superintendent White:


On May 15, the Times-Picayune reported that you referred to a civil rights complaint filed by New Orleans community groups as a “joke” and “political farce.” As Superintendent, you should take seriously and investigate any charge of discrimination that harms students of color in Louisiana. Your comments are reprehensible and prove you are not fit to be Louisiana State Superintendent of Education. Therefore, we demand your immediate resignation.


The discriminatory effects of school closures that students of color and their families experience in New Orleans are no laughing matter. We find no humor in our school communities being dissolved, no amusement in being forced to send our children to charter schools that are unaccountable to our families, and no comedy in schoolchildren waiting outside before sunrise for school buses to take them across the city because we have no neighborhood schools left. It is with utmost seriousness that we have called for a civil rights investigation of the harmful school closure policies that have shuffled countless black and brown children from failing schools to other failing or near-failing schools, year after year.


Under your department, the Recovery School District has suffered the following harms:

  •  More than 30 traditional public schools have closed in the last several years.
  •  Last week, the district’s five remaining public schools closed, making it the nation’s first all-charter school district.
  •  Of the students impacted by this latest round of school closures, approximately 1,000 are black. Only five are white.
  •  Many students, mostly children of color, have experienced multiple school closures.
  •  The majority of Recovery School District schools are ranked “C,” “D,” or “F.”

    Communities of color are forced to bear the burdens of these damaging policies, with no neighborhood schools in New Orleans that serve majority black neighborhoods. When schools close, students lose crucial community relationships, have their educations painfully interrupted

and are often pushed into failing or near-failing schools. As a result of selective admissions practices, these black and brown students are often not admitted to “A” and “B” schools. African-American students are over 80 percent of the student population in New Orleans, but only around 30 to 47 percent of the population at most of the high-performing schools.


Closing schools often forces students to travel further for their education. In February, a six-year- old boy was killed crossing the street early one morning to catch the school bus. In 2010, a female student was raped as she walked home from school. Many students in New Orleans East have to catch the bus as early as 5:30am to travel to their schools.


The New Orleans community has been very vocal about these harms. Last year, a mother filed a civil rights complaint documenting them. Your department did not investigate her claims. Despite repeated protests and complaints about school closures and pro-charter policies, you have dismissed these concerns – and along with it the lived experiences of countless families. That you would now refer to this current civil rights complaint as “a joke” further shows your disregard for the discrimination experienced by students of color and their parents. We have had enough of your misguided, paternalistic policies and request your immediate resignation.


Your real allegiance is to the pro-charter, pro-privatization agenda. It has become clear that you will lie, bribe, and turn a blind eye to discrimination to benefit this agenda. In 2011, you told the parents and students of John McDonogh Sr. High School that they would have to convert from a direct-run school to a charter school in order to receive $35 million in much-needed renovations. After they agreed, you failed to provide these funds.


The May 13th civil rights complaint was filed by New Orleans community members – people who have advocated for students for decades – in collaboration with Journey for Justice, an alliance of grassroots organizations advocating for neighborhood public schools across the country. New Orleans partners include Coalition for Community Schools (CCS) and Conscious Concerned Citizens Controlling Community Changes (C-6). To mischaracterize the complaint as being “dominated” by teachers unions, as you did according to media reports, is not only incorrect but another example of your dismissal of the voices of communities and families.


Your irresponsible comments make you unsuitable to be State Superintendent of Education. There is no place in the education of children for individuals like you, Mr. White. We respectfully request your immediate resignation and a moratorium on school closures.




Frank J. Buckley, C-6 Karran Harper Royal, CCS


CC: Anurima Bhargava Chief

Educational Opportunities Section
U. S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division 601 D Street NW, Suite 4300
Washington, DC 20004

Catherine Lhamon
Assistant Secretary
Office for Civil Rights
U. S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue SW Washington, DC 20202

Charles Roemer
Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education 1201 North Third Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802






Vote here:

Crazy Crawfish, aka Jason France, used to work in the assessment division of the Louisiana State Department of Education. He has sources there, and he knows the games that officials can play to make data look better or worse.

In this post, he asserts that State Commissioner of Education John White, with two years in TFA and a few years in Joel Klein’s NYC Department of Education, came to Louisiana with a strong view of what to do and how to lead the change that he thought was needed.

France says that White did not agree with Governor Jindal’s voucher plan, but went along.

He says he knew that the VAM plan was problematic.

But he also knew he had to produce higher test scores to claim victory.

What he had going for him is that the media opin Louisiana is passive, and the public can’t or won’t follow stories that involve math. That provides plenty of leeway for officials looking for a win.

Jason France, better known in the blogosphere as Crazy Crawfish, plans to run for the seat on the state board of education now held by Chas Roemer, son of a former governor, and brother of the head of the Louisiana charter school association. Jason is one brave man. He is a Crazy Crawfish, and all those who want to see a change in Louisiana’s heedless, madcap, irresponsible privatization should support him.


Press release (Professional design)

Contact: Debbie Sachs: Press Secretary and Media Relations: 985-626-3595

Press Release

2015 BESE election to have a fresh face: Jason France, a.k.a. “The Crazy Crawfish” seeks to remove Chas Roemer as he announces his candidacy for the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) district 6.

Jason France, a father of two East Baton Rouge public school children in BESE district 6, former Louisiana Department of Education Employee, controversial education blogger, and nationally recognized privacy and public education activist has announced his intent to seek a seat on BESE.


Baton Rouge, LA, April 7, 2014: Jason France has announced his candidacy for the district 6 seat on Louisiana’s State Department of Education. The district 6 seat is currently held by longtime politician, BESE President Chas Roemer, the son of former Governor Buddy Roemer, whom has not indicated whether he will seek another term. District 6 encompasses the eastern half of East Baton Rouge Parish, Ascension Parish, Livingston Parish, Washington Parish, Tangipahoa Parish and the City of Bogalusa.


Jason will be a dramatic change from the current office holder in charge of the state’s public schools and students, Chas Roemer, who has never attended a public school or university, and who sends his children to a non-public school that does not endorse Common Core because they find the standards inferior and does not participate in PARCC testing because they believe those tests are a waste of learning time and money, and yet actively promotes CCSS and PARCC for other children’s kids.


Since resigning from the Louisiana Department of Education over 2 years ago Jason has been active in fighting for student, parent and teacher privacy rights and for Louisiana to drop the substandard federally funded and promoted curriculum known by the misnomer as the Common Core State Standards as the State takeover of local schools and school districts and the rubber stamp approval process of substandard voucher and charter schools throughout the state.


Jason has been one of the driving forces behind the grassroots movement organizing to preserve Public Education in Louisiana. Jason hopes that by seeking this office he will be able inspire others to enter races across the state and to undo the damage wrought by influence bought by large national and multi-national corporations and organizations, as well as out-of-state billionaires seeking to profit from Louisiana children and de-professionalize the teaching profession in favor of temporary low cost, low quality alternatives.

2015 BESE election to have a fresh face: Jason France, a.k.a. “The Crazy Crawfish Jason has attended Magnolia Woods Elementary Magnet School, South East Middle School and is
a graduate of Scotlandville Magnet School Engineering Program in East Baton Rouge Parish, and is a
proud graduate of Louisiana’s flagship public university, LSU, where he obtained his BA in Business
Administration. Jason blogs under the pseudonym “Crazy Crawfish”, at The Crazy Crawfish blog. Jason
is also a featured writer at the National Education Policy Center and at Public School Shakedown, and a
strong ally of the Network For Public Education, Parents Across America, Class Size Matters and the
Southern Education Foundation and has contributed his opinions and analysis to articles featured in the

New York Times, Reuters, Monroe News Star, The Advocate, and Washington Post. For more information about the campaign please go to


Rodolfo Espinoza reports that Lafayette, Louisiana, is experiencing a major exodus of teachers who have resigned because of confusing and conflicting directions from the state bureaucracy. Espinoza is president of the local teachers’ association.

He writes:

Lafayette is in a crisis of employee resignations and early retirements. Changes in state policies spearheaded by unqualified state leaders, combined with the failure of our local district to advocate for its employees have left teachers overwhelmed and frustrated.

Since 2012, 556 teachers have left our system. Resignations are far outpacing retirements with 343 teacher resignations compared with 184 retirements since 2012. In 2012 alone, teacher resignations doubled from 81 to 164.

Bureaucracy created by the current data-driven accountability system is a major source of teachers’ frustrations. The state and districts are consumed by a school letter grade, the formula for which constantly changes under State Superintendent John White and BESE. For example, high schools are now judged on the ACT scores of all students, regardless of whether or not they are going to attend college. We now require students to take not only the ACT but also the “Practice ACT” plus hours of ACT test prep. This numbers game does little to help struggling students academically or emotionally. It is yet another mandate that allows adults sitting in offices to say they are helping “the kids” and holding schools accountable, while Johnny still can’t comprehend what he’s reading. This year in Lafayette, a typical sophomore will take 25 district and state standardized tests, consuming 25 percent of the school calendar for the sake of “data.”

The outcome: A predictable school letter grade that punishes schools and the personnel who serve at-risk populations.


At some point, even Louisiana has to worry how they will replace the teachers who have retired and resigned. And who will want to become a teacher when working conditions are so poor and teachers are treated so poorly by the state education department.

Auditors are supposed to audit, but when the auditor for the voucher schools said they had some serious problems, the voucher advocates said he had overstepped his bounds. They don’t want no stinking audits. They just want to keep diverting public money to unaccountable schools.

Once again, the Louisiana legislative auditor’s December report on the state’s school voucher program has come in for criticism.

At a hearing last week, state Sens. Mike Walsworth, R-Monroe, and Robert Adley, R-Benton, said Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera had wandered into the area of proposing policy rather than simply determining if a government agency is complying with state law. Similar objections to the audit were raised last year.

Purpera was criticized because he suggested legislators consider revising the voucher program to include a requirement that nonpublic schools participating in it be academically acceptable.

It didn’t seem to matter to Purpera’s critics that he was within the bounds of the state law that created his office. It says audits may include “evaluations of the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness” of the programs being audited.

Though public schools may take part in the voucher program, their participation is just about non-existent. Public schools that want to accept voucher students have to be rated A or B by the state, but no similar rules apply to private schools.

John White, the TFA-trained State Superintendent said he would be the judge of quality.

The auditor’s report was not reassuring.

Last year, 30 percent of the 118 participating schools overcharged the state, asking for more money than the school’s regular tuition. Five schools had voucher students who were not economically eligible for the program. Auditors were unable to perform all of their audit procedures at a whopping 97 percent of schools because the schools had failed to keep a separate account of the use of voucher funds.

Here’s the real eye-opener: 18 private schools have student bodies where voucher students make up more than 50 percent of the enrollment — 13 in New Orleans, four in East Baton Rouge Parish and one in Jefferson Parish. Voucher enrollment at one New Orleans school is at 87 percent; another six of those 18 schools have more than 70 percent of their students on vouchers.

Vouchers are supposed to give parents an alternative by letting them choose schools that have proven themselves in a competitive market. But it’s not hard to conclude that many of the participating schools might have been crushed by market pressures if it weren’t for voucher money keeping them afloat.

A judge tossed out a significant part of Governor Bobby Jindal’s law denying due process for teachers. The judge said the teacher did not have a fair hearing.



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