Wednesday, July 24, 2013

BESE member stays, but ethics board vice-chair goes

The dispute over whether BESE member Kira Orange-Jones should resign because of a conflict of interest (she is executive director of Teach for America in New Orleans, and BESE funds TFA) has claimed a victim, but it’s not Orange-Jones.

As reported here by the New Orleans Tribune, Scott Schneider has resigned his post as vice-chair of the Board of Ethics, perhaps because of news reports about his role in the Orange-Jones scandal.

It happens that staff attorneys for the ethics board recommended that the state’s ethics code “would prohibit Kira Orange Jones, while she serves as a member, from providing compensated services to Teach For America at a time when TFA has or is seeking a contractual, business or financial relationship with either the Louisiana Department of Education or the Recovery School District.”

According to The Tribune, Schneider convinced the ethics board to overrule its staff attorneys and declare that Orange-Jones has no conflict of interest.

In the process, though, Schneider neglected to mention that his employer, Tulane University, has a strong partnership with Teach for America.

Orange-Jones is still on BESE, but Schneider is gone from the ethics board.

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