In the wake of a rough couple weeks for Johnny White, word is that he will be slapped with an ethics complaint next week. The story has now hit the Advocate:
A longtime critic of state Superintendent of Education John White said Friday she and others plan to file an ethics complaint next week naming White and four members of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The complaint will also delve back into the saga of BESE member Kira Orange Jones, who somehow holds the dual position of head of Teach for America (TFA) in Louisiana while also serving on the board that approves TFA contracts. No ruling on TFA, but that whole arrangement seems about as corrupt as possible. But we digress.
Jones’ election in 2011 was key to the appointment of John White as Superintendent, assuring that Bobby Jindal had a super-majority on the BESE board in support of White.
It’s all coming apart for the smug ed reform crowd, isn’t it?
“But what about the children!” – said everyone disingenuously.
This has been a rough few months for ed reform beauty queen John White. Super White has often been the belle of the ball around these parts, winning praise over the years from widely diverse constituencies, from liberal education reformers in New Orleans, to conservative business elite the state over. He leads a cult of young, idealistic followers at the DOE, many of which are religiously devoted to data-driven education revolution. White’s ascension to Superintendent, with massive infusions of money to swing BESE races in his favor in 2011 (including hundreds of thousands of Bloomberg money to elect pro-White BESE members, as chronological at this anti-Common Core blog) has been swift. His fall might be swifter.
White’s been able to deal with criticism before, including getting an LPB reporter fired for negative reporting on education reform. Unfortunately, White has run into a rough patch from which no amount of his own bs jargon or political hatchet work can extricate him.
Since last year, Bobby Jindal has been ratcheting up his rhetoric against Communist Core, the hated red takeover of public education that threatens to teach our kids that socialism union hordes should be able to forcefully gay marry anyone they want while burning the American flag and singing the French national anthem. Here’s Jindal crossing over to the dark side last year:
Wading into a national debate, Gov. Bobby Jindal said Monday that he is concerned Louisiana public school classrooms would be saddled with a “federalized curriculum” sparked by a series of tougher standards called Common Core.
At the time, White was also buffeted by the blooming national “populism,” including the election in New York City of Bill de Blasio, who promised to backtrack on White’s work as a former NYC school deputy chief. After Jindal’s waver, White went to the right-wing American Enterprise Institute to plead for sanity:
“An aggressive form of populism has asserted itself in the rhetoric of our day,” White is expected to say at the conservative American Enterprise Institute’s headquarters in Washington. “I see it in a tone that is skeptical of reformers in the same populist way our country today is skeptical of authority generally. This is, I believe, greatly damaging for an education reform effort that has done good in America and that needs to be sustained.
That was just the beginning. Jindal announced earlier this year that he was done with Communist Core, and weighed in in support of legislative efforts to end Louisiana’s participation.
White’s fired back a number of times, most recently with a useless meeting last week. But Jindal hasn’t been pulling punches. He’s ripped White’s contracting authority and generally abused him in public, going so far as accusing White of corruption. An investigation at DOE over payroll fraud isn’t helping White’s case.
Now, White is crying uncle.
Johnny Golden Boy has only been the subject of praise and reverence throughout his career. Now, running into the buzzsaw of a Louisiana politician with an ax to grind, White can’t take it anymore:
In a sign of rising tensions over Common Core, state Superintendent of Education John White told Louisiana’s top school board Wednesday that he is being unfairly targeted personally for possible wrongdoing by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration and its allies.
“I am no stranger to politics, and I know that political rhetoric can be heated,” White said in a four-page letter to members of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
“However, to have multiple officials alluding to the potential of purported and unfounded malfeasance within our agency and within my office, all within days of one another, is worthy of concern,” according to the letter.
Giving up won’t stop this assault. White is going to have to quit. Everyone can see that now. This cry for uncle is only the beginning. White better start packing his bags.
Bobby Jindal’s slow-motion voucher disaster continues to roll. The State Legislative Auditor released a highly-critical new report focused on the lack of accountability and potential for graft in Jindal’s voucher scheme:
The state Department of Education has inadequate criteria to make sure schools are academically prepared to handle the number of voucher students they serve, Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera said in a report issued Monday morning.
The agency also lacks enough oversight to ensure that the schools have the physical capacity for the students they request, Purpera said in a two-page summary that accompanied the review.
The auditor goes on to say that, in essence, the state basically has no idea if the schools receiving tax dollars for voucher kids are even physically equipped to educate children, let alone meet academic standards. More:
The review said that, while public schools have to be rated A or B by the state to accept voucher students, “there are no legal requirements in place to ensure non-public schools that participate in the program are academically acceptable.”
The state Department of Eduation’s review process “lacks formal criteria to ensure that schools have both the academic and physical capacity to serve the number of scholarship students they requested.”
The proficiency rating for schools particiapting in the voucher program is 41 percent, the report says, which is based on the percentage of students who scored at grade level or above on standardized tests during the 2012-13 school year, which was the first for the expanded program.
Purpera also said the department has not set standards or measures in its accountability system for removing a school from the program for academic performance.
The state also overpaid or underpaid 41 percent of the 118 schools that took part in the 2012-13 academic year, according to the Legisltive Auditor’s office.
No institutional control. A failure of administration of the highest order. But Jindal continues to stick by his corrupt schemes and his embattled Department of Ed chief, John White. And by the looks of this work, this spiraling embarrassment has only just begun.
Horrible news for Louisiana children as Jindal uses a dead news day before Thanksgiving to dump a load of terrible voucher school results (and potentially just the tip of the iceberg, as DoE hasn’t released all the stats yet).
At least 45 percent of students in Louisiana’s controversial voucher program last year attended schools with performance scores in the D to F range of the state’s grading scale, according to data the state released Wednesday.
The full impact of the program cannot be assessed, however, because the state released scores only for one-fifth of the 118 schools in the program. The schools for which data was provided served 2,888 of the nearly 5,000 students who used vouchers last year.
And it gets worse. Vouchergate continues to spiral out of control, blowing millions of tax dollars on horrible private schools that don’t help kids succeed:
The limited data raises questions about how the high-profile program can be held accountable to taxpayers. Voucher schools are only lightly vetted on the front end, with state Superintendent John White promising in 2012 that he would hold schools accountable based on academic results. The average voucher costs $5,245, meaning possibly $11 million in state dollars went to schools with no publicly released accountability score.
The state released the scores in a report Wednesday, several days after a federal judge ruled the U.S. Department of Justice had the right to monitor the program to ensure it does not worsen racial segregation. In the political fight over the case, Gov. Bobby Jindal has said vouchers gave underprivileged children a shot at a better education.
Bobby Jindal’s experiments on Louisiana have spawned a Frankenstein monster of calamities. From burning down Higher Education in Louisiana to crushing public hospitals, to a completely broken budget, to vouchergate; the Jindal administration continues to pile on failures.
Originally posted on CenLamar:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 10, 2013
Re: Zachary S. (“Zack”) Kopplin, Citizen versus John White, in his Official Capacity as Superintendent of the Department of Education, a Department of the Executive Branch of the State of Louisiana
Baton Rouge, Louisiana—On Monday, September 9, 2013, education activist Zack Kopplin filed suit against Louisiana Superintendent John White and the Department of Education in order to compel White to release a series of public records concerning the school voucher program, teacher evaluation methodology, the Louisiana Science Education Act, the influence of lobbyists on policymaking, and policies related to the retention and destruction of public records. The suit is designed—at long last—to ferret out what the process was leading to Jindal’s sweeping education changes—including whether there was a lack of record making or so-called “off campus” records retention, which is a particularly non-transparent practice of some government officials to hire consultants or third party…
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Blogger Lamar White pummels Louisiana school chief John White in a weekend letter to the editor to the Times-Picayune, crushing his absurd claims that the voucher program is nothing but an embarrassing, unconstitutional boondoggle created to deprive public schools of critical funding:
On July 1 The Times-Picayune reported, “out of the 117 schools participating in the state’s student voucher program … only one violated rules for using taxpayer money.” Although it is true only one school, New Living Word in Ruston, was removed from the program for “violating rules,” the two audits actually reveal that Louisiana’s voucher program is plagued by an alarming and systemic disregard for accountability, transparency and competence.
The Times-Picayune failed to note 107 of the 117 schools (or 91.4 percent) could not or would not furnish records related to their expenditure of taxpayer dollars, primarily because these schools did not maintain separate accounts for voucher funds. The independent auditor could not effectively determine whether those voucher schools were in compliance. Despite Superintendent John White’s claims to the contrary, the audit also revealed at least 13 schools were overcharging voucher students, a clear violation of the rules.
Lamar goes on to smoke out White’s spin as a desperate ploy to avoid the scrutiny this program deserves:
Superintendent White’s spin on this story is brazenly disingenuous; the two audits did not demonstrate the Department of Education’s commitment to “accountability.” If anything, in claiming that 116 of the 117 audited schools were in compliance, Superintendent White is implicitly promoting a system devoid of accountability and ripe for abuse. If New Living Word School had been savvy, it would have simply deposited its voucher money into its general account, and no one would be the wiser.
The people of Louisiana deserve better. Instead of reinvesting in our shared civic institutions and re-dedicating ourselves to a robust, competitive and quality public education system, we are draining millions of precious dollars into fly-by-night church schools, many of which refuse to teach basic science. Fundamentally, this issue is not about political ideology; it’s about priorities and results. Sen. Bob Kostelka, a Republican, recently lamented Gov. Bobby Jindal’s veto of $4 million in critically important services for the developmentally disabled. “Yet he (Jindal) put $30 million to $40 million more in the school voucher program that is unworkable,” Kostelka said. As we now know, the voucher program is not only unworkable, it is completely unaccountable.
Lamar White Jr.
Bob Mann gives a little context on the Jindal Gold Standard of accountability and ethics, especially in light of his DOE’s squandering of at least $600,000 MFP dollars on a sham “school” through the corrupt and unconstitutional voucher program:
Would you pay $6,300 in tuition to send your child to a private school with uncertified teachers, insufficient computers and no proper classrooms, and at which the “teaching” occurred mostly by plopping students in front of televisions to watch lessons on DVDs? Of course you wouldn’t. But the Louisiana Department of Education would.
And worse, White continued to lie to Louisiana about the results of “independent” audits conducted of the voucher schools. While the audits were mostly incomplete, White trumpeted them as absolving the voucher schools of corruption. Quite the opposite:
In fact, the audits revealed that the afore-mentioned standard “could not be completed for forty-nine of the fifty-one private schools reviewed.” One audit is littered with the following statement, concerning the records of dozens of voucher schools: “We were unable to perform the procedures because the school did not have a separate checking account or other procedures to account for scholarship expenditures separate from other expenditures.”
Most of the schools were also unable to verify that their “expenditures do not constitute gross irresponsibility and are not individually enriching.” These are not insignificant findings except, apparently, to White. The state will spend about $45 million in the current fiscal year on vouchers for about 8,000 students.
To suggest that the audits uncovered “no violations” is a bit like saying that since I didn’t file my taxes for the past five years, and because the IRS can’t yet determine if I actually paid any taxes, there’s no problem.
For those “accountability” and “excellence” loudmouths in the Education reform movement, this should serve as a bitter pill of irony. White’s lack of accountability is embarrassing. And he should pay the price.
“Financial Irresponsibility and Incompetence”: Louisiana Superintendent John White Perfectly Describes School Voucher Program
#Louisiana’s largest #voucher recipient school ousted from program for “financial incompetence” #Jindal
Originally posted on CenLamar:
Yesterday, after more than a year of sustained criticism in the state, national, and even international media, Louisiana Superintendent John White (no relation) announced the Department of Education was banning the New Living Word School in Ruston, Louisiana from participating in the so-called Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program (the SSEEP), more commonly known as the school voucher program. Under the direction of Governor Bobby Jindal and the majority Republican state legislature, Superintendent White is responsible for rolling out and implementing the most expansive school voucher program in the nation’s history, a program that potentially qualifies as many as 56% of Louisiana students.
And until very recently, New Living Word was the single-largest voucher school in the entire program, having initially been approved to triple its enrollment and provide 193 voucher slots. After considerable discussion, the state reduced the number of slots to 165, and according to Superintendent…
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Diagraming the foibles of clowns like John White and Bobby Jindal might be our raison d’etre, we admit. Yet, it goes without saying that there’s an awful lot of elite slobbering over clowns like Jindal and Bloomberg on this issue, and that needs to be held in check.
We don’t suppose that teachers unions want to hear this, but they’ve lost too many battles in this war to be held in any high esteem. We’re not interested in carrying water for well-meaning, but strategically tone-deaf, education unions on this point or any other. We can tell what’s right.
What is clear is that there’s a whole lot of snooty “experts” and “policy wonks” going around slapping each other on the back while slurping big gulps of corporate shill cash. These elitist tools wave around one-pagers on “reform” with key buzzwords they themselves don’t even understand. “Charters,” “Choice,” “Excellence,” “Teacher evaluations,” “Testing,” they exclaim!
How about this buzzword, you human paraquats: POVERTY. Poor kids can’t learn as easily or as thoroughly as rich ones because their lives are messed up by the crushing lack of basic resources. And thanks to other elitist fucktards, austerity is ripping even the most basic sustenance from the mouths of babes. David @ Salon has more:
Reality, though, is finally catching up with the “reform” movement’s propaganda. Withpoverty and inequality intensifying, a conversation about the real problem is finally starting to happen. And the more education “reformers” try to distract from it, the more they will expose the fact that they aren’t driven by concern for kids but by the ugliest kind of greed — the kind that feigns concerns for kids in order to pad the corporate bottom line.
“LIKE A ROLLING STONE, I KEEP ROLLIN’ ON” – LA Super Johnny White
Originally posted on Crazy Crawfish's Blog:
John White is likely to be gone by the end of June but Louisiana will still have its work cut out cleaning up the messes he will leave behind. Some of those messes off the top of my head are:
- Unmonitored, standardless voucher program is an utter failure and a poorly performing messfrom what little White has permitted us to see
- The Course Choice program is fraught with fraud which will cost Louisiana millions of dollars annually as it stands now
- Charter schools are not reporting most of the data they are required to and John White has refused to comply with the law in regards to the small amount of monitoring required
- MFP (the public school funding formula) has never been approved under his watch
- Pimping of our students and their data to unsupervised and unaccountable data pirates like inBloom and Agilix
- Falsified dropout and graduate numbers
- Common Core standards designed…
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