Last week, I spoke with State Representative and gubernatorial frontrunner John Bel Edwards on a variety of issues. I asked Rep. Edwards how he would deal with the eleven members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (more commonly known by the acronym BESE), including the six who were recently elected on a pro-Common Core platform. If elected governor, Edwards would be able to appoint three additional members. Quoting in full:
I believe in our democratic system and duly-elected BESE officials are going to take their seats, and I am going to work with them, just like I am going to work with members of the legislature regardless of party, regardless of geography.
I am convinced that reasonable people can sit down and chart a path forward, and that is what I intend to do.
My BESE appointments will be people who are committed to the education of our children, and who understand that we are over testing our children and spending too much money testing our children.
We are driving school districts to teach to the test because of the way the accountability system currently works, and that is not in the best interest of our children.
I also asked Rep. Edwards if he believes that John White, the controversial Superintendent of Education, should keep his job. Quoting, again, in full:
I do not believe John White can stay as Superintendent of Education while I am Governor. And to the extent that I can control that, that will not happen. Because I do not find him to be honest and credible when he deals with the legislature and other members of the public in Louisiana.
I know, for example, from some of his dealings with me, and some of the things he has said about me.
We know he went into a Senate Education Committee meeting with the intended purpose of muddying the water as opposed to telling the truth. He did it to promote a bill that was patently unconstitutional, that he had to have known was unconstitutional: funding vouchers through the Minimum Foundation Program. That is a problem for me.
There are plenty of fine educators in Louisiana who actually meet the qualifications for that office. They are experienced educators with credentials in education, and why we would not put one of those people in that office I will never understand. Why we would go out of state to find somebody who lacks the minimum credentials necessary to qualify for the office is beyond me. That is not the approach that I think we should be taking.