Friday, July 21, 2017

We Are Not A Small Group Of People – Educate Louisiana

We Are Not A Small Group Of People – Educate Louisiana:

We Are Not A Small Group Of People

President Lyndon B. Johnson

Let’s face it. Politics reside in our classrooms whether we like it, or not. In the Spring of 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). If I had to pinpoint when politics entered the classroom, I’d say it was the moment Johnson laid down that pen.
Though largely ignored by people who aren’t educators, political influence over the classroom has increased steadily with the passage of each major piece of education legislation, including No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). From the moment John White was appointed as Superintendent of Education, political influence over education has become an increasing topic of conversation at the dinner tables and in the living rooms of Louisiana.
In the 2015 elections, there was a tremendous unified effort to regain control over our elected Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). While we didn’t gain full control over BESE, we did manage to elect one seat to our advantage and essentially blocked their ability to reappoint John White. The people involved in this effort were parents, grandparents, teachers, and other community members. This was an impressive grassroots effort to fight the Goliath sized education reform candidates who were financially backed by large lobbying organizations and out of state billionaire philanthropists. In BESE District 7, Mike Kreamer had a campaign budget just over $20k, and opponent, Holly Boffy, had well over $100k. In addition, a political action committee funded by out of state billionaires financed a negative media campaign against Kreamer, and Mary Johnston Harris in District 4, spending roughly $250k. The result? A 6% spread between Kreamer and winner, Boffy. Just 3% more of the vote would have been a victory for Kreamer. Same outcome in the District 8 race. Carolyn Hill received 48% of the vote despite the smear campaign launched against her, and Jada Lewis grabbed a victory with We Are Not A Small Group Of People – Educate Louisiana:

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