Tag Archives: Billionaires

Billionaires Won; Our Children Lost

Money Wins Elections

Congratulations to the US billionaires. You’ve proven that nothing is beyond your grasp, not even BESE.

Thanks to over $3.5 million pouring into Louisiana, the select few have chosen our educational board for the next four years. Actually, they are just renewing their lease from 2011.

And let us not forget, we have Governor Bobby Jindal to thank for this travesty.

In 2011, when he wanted to nominate the highly under-qualified John White at State Superintendent, he needed eight votes and could only muster seven. Four were implacably opposed to appointing someone who attended six weekends’ worth of seminars at the unaccredited Broad Academy to earn his Superintendent credentials.

No problem. It was an election year, and Bobby called in the heavy hitters and their cash. They targeted all races, but specifically poured heavy amounts into the races of the four who sat in opposition. Two seats switched, and now Jindal got his Superintendent.

Be careful what you wish for.

Jindal now has buyer’s remorse, but there’s nothing he can do about it. Governors may appoint, but only BESE can hire or fire a Superintendent.

Those millionaires—Lane Grigsby especially—and the billionaires combined for a repeat performance, but this time poured in even more money.

The end result was they pummeled the three elected officials who constantly stood up for students, parents, and teachers. The moneyed elite defeated Dr. Lottie Beebe, the one they couldn’t defeat four years ago. They also defeated Carolyn Hill and forced Mary Johnson Harris into a runoff.

But it doesn’t matter. They won the majority they needed—six seats out of eleven—to reinforce keeping Common Core and resist any changes to the corporate reform model plaguing education.

The only silver lining is that both gubernatorial candidates are opposed to Common Core and get to appoint three members to BESE. I find it hard to believe they would support reappointing John White to another four years.

The new governor can also veto any changes the review committee comes up with for Louisiana standards. Considering how recently, a Review Committee member resigned in disgust over the lack of changes coming through the committee, I don’t foresee any credibility to the process.

Someone told me early in the evening that we have hope.

The only hope I have is that I should live long enough to see this grand experiment of Common Core, PARCC, VAM and corporate reform die a painful death.

Well, there is something else for which I hope.

Ten to fifteen years from now, all the students who were forced to go through this grand experiment will become voters.

These students experienced badly-written tests designed to confuse them and claim they were deficient. Some of them cried and gave up as they read a test that was reportedly written two grade levels above their reading ability. They will now look at BESE and essentially ask why that Board’s members put them through this?

I want to watch those BESE members squirm as they try to explain, with a straight face, what they did.

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What do Businesses and Billionaires Sometimes Have in Common?

Flip BESE 2

Recently I read an article from Barry Erwin about will Louisiana be honest when PARCC scores comes out. Almost immediately afterwards, a friend linked me to a Washington Post article about billionaires from outside the state pouring money into our local Board of Elementary and Secondary Education elections.

I guess thirty pieces of silver is no longer the going rate for demonizing the teaching profession and abusing students as young as kindergartners with more and more tests.

Business and Billionaires, I thought, are trying to continue their strangle-hold on the present BESE Board, where they possess—some say bought—a solid majority of votes in favor of endless testing and attempting to quantify student results in a way that compares us to other states.

The Post article factually reported that Eli Broad, California-based billionaire, and Alice and Jim Walton, heirs to Sam Walton’s fortune, have poured some $650,000 into Empower Louisiana, a PAC founded and funded by Baton Rouge millionaire Lane Grigsby. The PAC, in turn, funnels money for flyers and ad space for the BESE candidates who favor continuing the test-till-you-drop method of student and teacher accountability, and increasing the flow of public money to private, charter institutions.

I guess thirty pieces of silver is no longer the going rate for demonizing the teaching profession and abusing students as young as kindergartners with more and more tests.

I think I donated $25 once to a campaign. I wonder how much bang I might get for my buck.

I also didn’t realize that our BESE Board elections were so interesting to outsiders that they felt compelled to pour that much money to get certain candidates elected. How about the simple merits of their positions and the strength of their arguments?

Naïve me. Those things don’t win anymore in this modern age.

Or do they?

I sincerely hope that the public realizes that groups like Council for a Better Louisiana, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, Stand for Children, Teach for America, and numerous others have been bought and paid for with Bill Gates’ money. He’s the ultimate billionaire who funded the price tag to create the behemoth called Common Core.

I sincerely hope that the public views the video “2011: When the Billionaires Bought BESE.” It’s an eye-opener about the election some four years ago that set us on this disastrous path.

Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Alice & Jim Walton, John Arnold, Paul Tudor Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, just a few of the billionaires out there trying to drown out educators’ and parents’ voices with their hefty pile of dollar bills.

People of Louisiana, don’t be fooled by this glittering display of money that would have been better served helping children get out of poverty. Avoid the slick words of the snake oil salesmen who think so little of Louisiana parents and teachers. Make an informed choice, devoid of the spectre of the loudest, bawdiest people who try to outshine integrity with their vulgar display of wealth.

And then I realized, in this fateful moment, what business and billionaires have in common: they’re bullies, trying to buy their way to what they want because of the paucity of their ideas.

It’s time to stand up to the bullies.

Business, Billionaires, and Bullies: what a devastating combination for Louisiana’s children, educators, and parents.

 

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