Tuesday, April 15, 2014

John White Has LA Teachers' Backs

Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana had barely finished joining the crowd of politicians dancing rapidly away from various aspects of Common Core when State Superintendent of Education John White continued his streak of bad wrong no-good comments by sticking up by the people who will be most hurt by something as wild and crazy as dumping the PARCC testing. White wanted to speak up on behalf of the people whose interests have always been at the forefront of his policy decisions in the past.


White had previously offered the fanciful notion that the PARCC test would be a money-saver, or at least break even. Did he not know that the PARCC tests are not free? Mercedes Schneider told him.

But in today's Advocate, White is quoted expressing his concern over the probable ship jumpification of Jindal.

Just from a teacher’s perspective, it is deeply confusing and probably troubling that they now go into the remainder of the school year with leadership across state government not giving them the clarity they need and deserve and they have had for several years.

White's education training comes courtesy of a stint in TFA and training from the Broad Academy, so you know he really gets where teachers are coming from. He worries about teachers getting what they deserve, and clarity has always been his guiding principle, and does my internet connection now access some alternate universe, because from out here in the cheap seats it has been clear for years that Louisiana is one of the poster children for how the Masters of Reforming Our Nation's Schools can get pretty much everything they want and yet have no actual success to show for it.

White jumped into the Core a year sooner than needed, and rolled out PARCC practice without actually saying that's what was up. He got caught lying about the exposure of student data, and he presided over a busticated version of VAM even worse than the "original." And then there's the ongoing loot-and-pillage by charter interests going on under his watch.

But he is worried about the poor confused teachers, God bless them.

It's an impressive pivot. The more standard MoRONS move is to invoke the children and how they will suffer without the benefits of the super-duper awesome tests, tests whose magical powers automatically cause knowledge to bloom within the brains of even the dullest young person.

But no. White doesn't want to make things confusing for the teachers.

“I think it is just a shame from the teacher’s perspective,” White said of the debate over test plans. “You really have no idea whether to go right or go left.”

Yes, that's sweet. Because I am sure that the teachers of Louisiana have known exactly where they were going previously, much like Thelma and Louise knew exactly where they were going at the end of their adventure.

But reading this article, I don't so much smell as I catch the faint whiff of panic sweat.

“What would we do? We don’t have a test for next year. We have been planning for years, it is no secret, to purchase this test,” he said of PARCC.

I had plans. I had backers. I had money lined up. I made promises to people who are expecting me to deliver.

No, White is not sounding like someone who at long last is worried about the care and feeding, the health welfare and safety of teachers. He sounds like a guy who is in to his bookie-- his big, burly bookie with the enforcer with arms like tree trunks and a pierced eyeball-- for a whole bunch of money, and he just saw snake eyes roll up on his last big bet.

But I wouldn't worry about him. He's Bobby Jindal's boy, his pushed-for-hire, and I'm sure that even if Jindal queers White's PARCC deal, he'll still have White's back. Just like White is looking out for all of Louisiana's teachers.

[with a big hat tip to the reporting of Mercedes Schneider and Crazy Crawfish]


  1. please add a pic of yourself so the pinterest button will work....i share all your stuff on the BATs pinterest board, and it is a process!!! if you had a picture on your blog, your pinterest share option would make it one step sharing....don't underestimate the power of pinterest.....great blog again, btw.....

    1. Thanks. There is a pic on the site specifically so people can post and pin. Not sure why it's not working in pin-land, but I'll take a look at that problem.

  2. I have been meaning to post a note saying how much I love your blog but.... John White! A piece about that little weasel provides the perfect opportunity. As the mother of 4 elementary students in Louisiana I am watching this interlude between Jindal, White and Roemer (President of our state school board) with great interest. I hope something good will come out of it. Anyway, thank you for this post and for everything you write. There are a number of education sites that I check frequently but I stop by here almost every day. "Reformy" stuff combined with a snarky sense of humor is a powerful combination. Keep up the great work!