Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Roemer (jr) on senate campaign trail

BESE member Chas Roemer, anticipating a political campaign to unseat Senator Mary Landrieu, took on his own board yesterday in an effort to burnish credentials as a feisty political outsider - a tack almost identical to the one taken by his father who, running for governor while a member of Congress, promised to brick up the top three floors of the Department of Education.

Roemer, a third generation political insider, told the Press Club of Baton Rouge that "Louisiana’s top school board is broken and its meetings are so politically charged that 'you can hardly breathe,'" according to this article by Advocate reporter Will Sentell.

While it is true that during the administration of Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek and Governor Bobby Jindal, the atmostphere at BESE meetings has often been rancorous, few members endorse Roemer's idea to reduce the number of BESE meetings.

Roemer, who represents the Baton Rouge area on the state's education board, attempted to woo the anti-public education vote by attacking teacher tenure. Roemer said that tenure, which is a guarantee of teachers' right to due process, makes it too hard to fire what he characterized as bad teachers.

LFT President Steve Monaghan responded that teachers undergo a rigorous three years of evaluations and must earn certification before they can be tenured. If the system fails to weed out Roemer's "bad teachers," Monaghan said, then "management is not doing its job."

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