There’s a new fight brewing between Gov. Bobby Jindal and Chas Roemer over the simmering Common Core standoff between the governor’s office and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).
And if it were done right, it would be a memorable encounter. Sadly, it shapes up to be just another faceoff between lawyers.
BESE will consider retaining a special legal counsel in its efforts move forward with the Common Core test plans, according to BESE’s revised agenda released on Friday.
Such a legal battle would pit BESE against the governor’s office after Jindal issued an executive order to discontinue Common Core tests being prepared by the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
Jindal, in his best imitation of John Kerry, was for Common Core before he was against it and now sniffs he will never let that big bully, aka Washington, D.C., dictate to Louisiana which, by golly, will devise and administer its own tests. That prompted former State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek (before he was shoved out the door by Jindal who wanted current Superintendent John White who he now opposes on the Common Core issue) to rebuke his former boss when he proclaimed that the feds have nothing to do with setting Common Core standards. That point remains debatable.
Got that? Didn’t think so. Neither do we.
Jindal ordered BESE (an independently elected, autonomous board, by the way) to initiate a competitive bid process for a new assessment process so the state can come up with its own academic standards. He also suspended a contract between the Louisiana Department of Education (DOE) and PARCC.
In a real test of wills, Jindal’s office also has demanded that DOE produce volumes of test-related documents by Monday.
We at LouisianaVoice can offer our own experience with that seemingly innocuous request for public records.
On Monday, June 23, I submitted a request for “all itemized invoices and records of payments” to a DOE vendor. What I got in return was simply a list of payments. No invoices at all, let alone itemized invoices.
My patience already stretched to the breaking point with recurring delays by DOE on other public records requests, I snapped. I sent White a second demand which said, in part:
“The information you provided me is insufficient. I specifically requested itemized invoices from (vendor name). The vendor history you provided me does not list what the charges were for nor the dates incurred.
“I want every specific invoice submitted with itemized listing of what each and every expenditure was for, i.e. supplies, utilities, rent, salaries, travel, etc.
“John White, I don’t know what kind of game you are playing but I know you possess (or at least should possess) sufficient intelligence to know what I asked for and that what your office provided does not come close to a sufficient response. What do you think the term “itemized invoice” below (highlighted) implies? What part of “itemized invoice” don’t you understand?
“If you want to play games, we will let a judge be the referee. I am weary of your stalling, delaying, and playing ignorant. You have until noon Friday or you will be served with a lawsuit Monday. Itemized invoices, John,….ITEMIZED.“
I received a call around noon Friday informing me the requested documents were ready for our inspection.
The revised agenda released by BESE includes an executive session but Roemer says that may not be necessary. “I anticipate there may be given potential legal questions and that is why the executive session must be on the agenda,” he said.
It could be Jimmy Faircloth vs. ATBA (attorney to be announced) if it comes down to a fight between proxies—as it probably would.
But wouldn’t it be better if we just put Jindal and Roemer in a ring together and let them duke it out?
That would be an epic battle worthy of Sheldon of The Big Bang Theory vs. Niles of Frasier.
Forget about the Rumble in the Jungle (Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman) or the Thrilla in Manila (Ali vs. Joe Frazier). Those were just preliminary bouts for what would truly be a battle of the ages.
Jindal vs. Roemer. Sheldon vs. Niles. Collision in the Classroom. Clown Clash. Common Core Conflagration. Capital City Smack Down. Brouhaha in Baton Rouge. Call it what you will, that’s something Louisianians would pay top dollar to watch.
No matter what you would call it, if it could be arranged, I would take whatever steps necessary to obtain the legal rights to telecast the bout over statewide closed circuit television or Pay Per View.
We’ll hype it as Brawl on the Bayou.