There have been ridiculous bills filed in the Louisiana Legislature. In fact, you can just about count on at least two or three each year.
But HB 648 by freshman Rep. Steve Pylant (R-Winnsboro) is the most asinine monument to waste and corruption in decades of wasteful and corrupt legislatures.
Even as LouisianaVoice reveals case after case of more than 1100 bogus registrations for Course Choice courses in three north Louisiana parishes, HB 648 would actually require the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to “adopt rules and regulations that require all public high school students, beginning with those entering ninth grade in the fall of 2014, to successfully complete at least one course offered by a BESE-authorized online or virtual course provider as a prerequisite to graduation.”
In the wake of what has been taking place in Caddo, Bossier and Webster parishes (and more recently in Calcasieu where it has been learned that one student not enrolled in the school listed by the student attempted to sign up for five courses and another signed up for two courses considered inappropriate for the grade level), Pylant ought to do the decent thing and withdraw his bill in the interest of saving himself further embarrassment.
His bill would accomplish precisely one thing: it would encourage even more fraud than has already taken place with course choice providers signing students to courses in those parishes without the knowledge or consent of the students or their parents.
In one case a severe and profound child was signed up for a class and in Bossier Parish, about 40 students did not attend a school in that parish as their applications indicated.
First grade students were signed up for high school Latin and high school English classes and many of the students ostensibly signed up in Bossier were registered for highly technical advanced mathematics classes.
Pylant, the retired sheriff of Franklin Parish, was elected in 2011 to the seat formerly held by Noble Ellington, who retired and was hired at a six-figure salary by the Louisiana Department of Insurance.
Ellington, the former national president of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in fact, contributed $500 of his campaign funds to Pylant in 2011.
Pylant also received more than $13,000 from the Republican Party of Louisiana, the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority, and the Republican Legislative Delegation Campaign.
He also received $2500 each from Gov. Bobby Jindal’s campaign fund and House Speaker Chuck Kleckley’s political action committee, so it’s fairly easy to see where his allegiance lies.
But that is little reason to pass legislation that will only encourage an already serious problem of fly-by-night companies signing up students only for the purpose of qualifying the course provider to receive one-half of its tuition up front—whether or not the student ever turns on his or her computer.
The State of Idaho has already been there, done that, and decided it was a bad idea. Voters in that state easily repealed Idaho’s version of Course Choice—they called it Online Learning—by a whopping 2-1 margin in a statewide referendum last November.
Course Choice easily falls under the heading of “What’s going on here?”
And what’s going on, simply put, is the continued raping of the state treasury—sanctioned by the Jindal administration.
But Pylant’s bill qualifies for “What the heck is he thinking?”
The answer to that question is anyone’s guess.
We only know one thing for certain: it’s a win-win for shady operators and a lose-lose for Louisiana taxpayers.