Thursday, July 2, 2009

Jindal boots booster from BESE

Governor Bobby Jindal couldn't have asked for a more loyal appointee than Monroe's Tammie McDaniel on the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. She was one of his top strategists during the governor's election campaign, and as a BESE member she has towed the administration line admirably.

One of three gubernatorial appointees to BESE, McDaniel has been a consistent vote to guarantee that the governor gets what he wants out of the state's highest education board.

But McDaniel apparently has an ethical streak which caused her to question the millions of dollars being spent for insurance in state Recovery School District schools in New Orleans.

According to this story by Gannett reporter Mike Hasten, that put her at odds with Jindal's man in the Claiborne Building, Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek. The superintendent was not please with McDaniel's observation that RSD, like all other school systems in the state, has money from local and federal sources to pay for the insurance.

As Hasten delicately put it in his article, "...Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek, who is close to the governor, is often protective of the RSD and considers its success a priority."

If Pastorek is behind Jindal's move against McDaniel, he may not be serving the governor well. The article includes numerous comments from North Louisiana lawmakers in support if McDaniel. Some are urging him to rescind his request that she resign.

And then there are the comments that follow the article, which at this point unanimously support McDaniel. Can the governor afford to alienate this many people in North Louisiana? That part of the state strongly supported his election, and he may need them again in 2011.

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