Gannett needs to stop reporting that Louisiana Superintendent of Education, John White, has suddenly decided to enact “tougher standards” on schools that he qualified for taxpayer subsidization as a part of the state’s voucher program. It’s simply and flatly untrue, a complete fabrication, a purposely cynical attempt by Superintendent White to spin his constitutionally-mandated responsibilities as some sort of personal and political triumph. And with all due respect to the reporters who have seemingly bought into the narrative sold to them by Superintendent White, you’ve been hoodwinked, and it’s embarrassing.

John White continues to block public records requests about the schools he qualified for taxpayer funding. Records that speak directly to his decision-making process, records that demonstrate his negligence, his lack of oversight, records that could show his alleged collusion with the operators of private schools and the “walking quorums” he apparently spearheaded. Months after attempting to “muddy up the narrative,” John White now seeks to clean the waters, but it’s not going to work.

There’s absolutely nothing noteworthy or praiseworthy about John White’s decision to audit the schools that receive voucher funding. That was already required; John White isn’t imposing any “tougher” requirements; in fact, he’s insisting that taxpayers foot the bill for these already-mandated audits.

Despite what Gannett reported, John White has not done a single thing to insure that accountability standards for voucher schools will be “tougher.” Quoting:

BESE is expected to adopt the tougher standards at its October meeting.

White said one factor that will play a more significant role is whether the academic curriculum is “equal to what is expected of public schools.” Also, teaching methods and effectiveness will play a more significant role.

It’s just a flat-out lie. Regardless of how BESE votes, this is already required by the Louisiana State Constitution. And so is auditing.

Put another way, John White is essentially saying that, after months of not doing his job, he’s now thinking about it. Somehow, this makes him “tough,” and somehow, fortunately for him, Louisiana’s mainstream media is too lazy and too underfunded to report otherwise.


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