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Calling All Pro-Reform Louisiana Democrats Consider Running for the Democratic State Central Committee

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If you follow this blog, you know I’ve repeatedly called for the Louisiana Democratic Party to once again wholeheartedly embrace common sense education reform policies.

Instead, over the past four years, LaDemos have said things like this:

As well as this:

And, unfortunately even this:

While we have plenty of pro-reform Democrats in elected office, we still need to change the conversation within the party itself. If Democrats want to build upon Governor-elect John Bel Edwards’ victory going forward, the Louisiana Democratic Party needs to drop its ambivalence about school reform and stand behind education policies that put the needs of children and families first.

That’s why we need pro-reform Democrats to stand as candidates for the Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC) on March 5, 2016.

The DSCC is the governing body of the Louisiana Democratic Party. It establishes LaDemos’ official positions on various issues, decides how those positions are messaged to the public, and endorses party candidates running for public office. Two DSCC members – one male and one female – are elected from each of the 105 state legislative districts for a four-year term.

The qualifying period for DSCC elections begins today, Wednesday, Dec. 2nd, and ends this Friday, Dec. 4 at 4:30 p.m.

In order to qualify, you must be:

  • At least 18 years of age as of March 5, 2016
  • A registered Democrat
  • Live in the district you wish to represent

You can qualify at your local Clerk of Court office. You will need to bring a valid I.D. and $112.50 for the qualifying fee.

If you’re interested in getting involved in politics, serving on the DSCC is a great way to get your feet wet. You can determine which legislative district you live in by checking the map below. You can also see who currently represents your district on the DSCC on the list at the bottom of the page.

If you’re considering running for DSCC or decide to qualify, please let me know.

Find Your State Legislative District

Find Your Current DSCC Representative

TITLE FIRST LAST DISTRICT CITYZIP
Ms. Helen Godfrey-Smith 001A Gilliam 71029
VACANT VACANT VACANT 001BVACANT VACANT
Ms. Frances Kelley 002A Shreveport 71104
Mr. Frederic Washington 002B Shreveport 71135
Hon. Barbara Norton 003A Shreveport 71109
Mr. Steve Jackson 003B Shreveport 71106
Ms. June Phillips 004A Shreveport 71107
Mr. Larry Ferdinand 004B Shreveport 71119
Ms. Nita Steele 005A Shreveport 71135
Mr. Artis Cash 005B Shreveport 71106
Ms. Allison McClung 006A Shreveport 71104
Mr. Lee Jeter, Sr. 006B Bossier City 71112
Ms. Cynthia Williams 007A Mansfield 71052
Mr. Johnny McFerren 007B Shreveport 71129
Ms. Linda Pitchford 008A Bossier City 71111
Mr. Ronald Griffing 008B Benton 71006
Ms. Deborah Knapp 009A Bossier City 71112
VACANT VACANT VACANT 009BVACANT VACANT
Ms. Pattie Odom 010A Minden 71055
Mr. John Agan 010B Minden 71055
Mrs. Tara Hollis 011A Haynesville 71038
Mr. Glenn Hollis 011B Haynesville 71038
VACANT VACANT VACANT 012AVACANT VACANT
VACANT VACANT VACANT 012BVACANT VACANT
Ms. Janice Simmons 013A Jonnesboro 71251
VACANT VACANT VACANT 013BVACANT VACANT
Ms. Brenda Smith 014A Monroe 71201
Mr. Fred Huenefeld 014B Monroe 71201
Mrs. Mary Kincade 015A West Monroe 71291
VACANT VACANT VACANT 015BVACANT VACANT
Hon. Katrina Jackson 016A Monroe 71203
Mr. Ronnie Traylor 016B Monroe 71201
Dr. Billye Burns 017A West Monroe 71291
Hon. Marcus Hunter 017B Monroe 71202
Ms. Dollie Wright 018A New Roads 70760
Mr. Stephen Juge 018B Erwinville 70729
Ms. Linda Turner 019A Monroe 71202
Mr. Charles Cochran 019B Rayville 71269
Ms. Mary Cooper 020A Columbia 71418
Mr. Gregory Richardson 020B Columbia 71418
Mrs. Leslie Durham 021A St. Joseph 71366
VACANT VACANT VACANT 021BVACANT VACANT
Ms. Mary Bonier 022A Chestnut 71070
Mr. Johnny Cox 022B Coushatta 71019
Ms. Mozella Bell 023A Campti 71411
Mr. Larry Paige 023B Natchez 71456
Ms. Gloria Ruffin 024A Many 71449
VACANT VACANT VACANT 024BVACANT VACANT
Mrs. Nancy Fields 025A Alexandria 71303
Mr. Chris Roy, Sr. 025B Alexandria 71301
Ms. Mary Wardsworth 026A Alexandria 71301
Hon. Herbert Dixon 026B Alexandria 71302
Ms. Gloria Hearn 027A Pineville 71360
VACANT VACANT VACANT 027B VACANT VACANT
Ms. Caina Green 028A Baton Rouge 70802
Mr. Dan McKay 028B Bunkie 71322
Hon. Regina Barrow 029A Baton Rouge 70812
Mr. Rawlston Phillips, Jr. 029B Port Allen 70767
Ms. Frankie Williams 030A DeRidder 70634
Mr. Reginald Seastrunk 030B Leesville 71446
Ms. Denise D'Amato 031A Lafayette 70508
Mr. Anthony Fazzio 031B Lafayette 70508
Ms. Patricia Jones 032A Oakdale 71463
Mr. J. Jones 032B Oakdale 71463
Mrs. Myra Bennett 033A Sulphur 70663
Mr. Charles Bennett 033B Sulphur 70663
Ms. Edwina Medearis 034A Lake Charles 70602
Mr. Davante Lewis 034B Lake Charles 70601
Ms. Evia Hodge 035A Lake Charles 70611
VACANT VACANT VACANT 035BVACANT VACANT
VACANT VACANT VACANT 036AVACANT VACANT
Mr. David Darbone 036B Lake Charles 70605
Ms. Torrie Thibodeaux 037A Jennings 70546
Dr. Kieran Coleman 037B Jennings 70546
Hon. Jennifer Vidrine 038A Ville Platte 70586
Hon. Dirk Deville 038B Ville Platte 70586
Ms. Valerie Boston 039A Lafayette 70501
Mr. Danny Uriegas 039B Cankton 70584
Ms. Leona Boxie 040A Sunset 70584
VACANT VACANT VACANT 040BVACANT VACANT
Ms. E. Lynn Lejeune 041A Eunice 70535
Mr. Marshall Thibodeaux 041B Eunice 70535
Ms. Dianne Granger 042A Rayne 70578
Mr. James Proctor 042B Crowley 70526
Ms. Evanette Richards 043A Lafayette 70508
Mr. Frank Flynn 043B Lafayette 70508
Ms. Tonya Bolden-Ball 044A Lafayette 70501
Mr. JosephCormier 044B Lafayette 70501
Ms. Sally Donlon 045A Lafayette 70506
Mr. Haywood Martin 045B Lafayette 70506
Ms. Lynda Guidry 046A Cecilia 70521
Mr. Shane Riddle 046B Abbeville 70510
Ms. Cynthia Campisi 047A Abbeville 70510
Mr. Ronald Darby 047B Abbeville 70510
Ms. Melba Braud 048A St. Martinville 70582
Mr. Perry Segura 048B New Iberia 70562
Ms. Aquicline Arnold 049A Jeanerette 70544
Mr. Elbert Dawson 049B Abbeville 70510
Ms. Thai Browder 050A Franklin 70538
Mr. Anthony Dennis, Jr. 050B Franklin 70538
Mrs. Anna Cunningham 051A Morgan City 70380
Mr. Wayne Thibodeaux 051B Gray 70359
Ms. Karen Dillard 052A Houma 70363
Mr. Clarence Williams 052B Houma 70361
Ms. Arlanda Williams 053A Houma 70360
Mr. S.P. LaRussa 053B Houma 70363
Mrs. Nell Guidry 054A LaRose 70373
Mr. Albert Guidry 054B LaRose 70373
Mrs. Carol Leblanc 055A Raceland 70394
Mr. Romal Garrison 055B Thibodaux 70301
Ms. Judy Songy 056A Laplace 70068
Mr. Joey Murray 056B Destrehan 70047
Ms. Lynncal Bering 057A LaPlace 70068
Hon. Randal Gaines 057B Laplace 70068
Hon. Barbara O'Bear 058A White Castle 70788
Mr. Oliver Joseph 058B Donaldsonville 70346
Ms. Felicia Hawkins 059A Prairieville 70769
Mr. Armand Link 059B Baton Rouge 70820
Hon. Karen St. Germain 060A Pierre Part 70339
Mr. Edward Songy, Jr. 060B Plaquemine 70765
Hon. C. Marcelle 061A Baton Rouge 70802
VACANT VACANT VACANT 061BVACANT VACANT
Ms. Ardith Sanders 062A Ethel 70730
Mr. Jim Parker 062B Jackson 70748
Mrs. Elaine Davis 063A Baker 70714
Mr. Ronald Rodgers 063B Baton Rouge 70714
Ms. Juanita Sanford 064A Zachary 70791
Mr. Roger Sanford 064B Zachary 70791
Ms. Maura Lewis 065A Greenwell Springs 70739
Hon. Dalton Honore 065B Central 70739
Mrs. Jane Scheuermann 066A Baton Rouge 70817
Mr. Brett Jackson 066B Baton Rouge 70810
Hon. Patricia Smith 067A Baton Rouge 70820
Mr. Ben Jeffers 067B Baton Rouge 70821
Ms. Robin Shelbia 068A Baton Rouge 70809
Mr. James Bullman 068B Baton Rouge 70809
Ms. Elizabeth Powers 069A Baton Rouge 70806
Mr. Kirk Green 069B Baton Rouge 70815
VACANT VACANT VACANT 070AVACANT VACANT
Mr. Brandon DeCuir 070B Baton Rouge 70802
Ms. Paeton Burkett 071A Denham Springs 70726
Mr. Ronnie Wilson 071B Denham Springs 70726
Ms. Linda Phillips 072A Greensburg 70441
Mr. Nathaniel Adams 072B Independence 70443
VACANT VACANT VACANT 073AVACANT VACANT
Mr. Robert Hammond 073B Ponchatoula 70454
Ms. Alicia Breaux 074A Covington 70435
Mr. Alan Tusa 074B Abita Springs 70420
Mrs. Patsy Ritchie 075A Franklinton 70438
Mr. Brad Orman 075B Franklinton 70438
Ms. Elsie Burkhalter 076A Slidell 70459
Mr. Lionel Hicks 076B Slidell 70459
Ms. Della Perkins 077A Covington 70433
Mr. James Harlan 077B Covington 70433
Mrs. Gilda Reed 078A Metairie 70003
Mr. Anthony Behan 078B Harahan 70123
VACANT VACANT VACANT 079AVACANT VACANT
Mr. Reuben Detiege 079B Kenner 70065
Ms. Dwan Hilferty 080A Metairie 70005
Mr. David Gereighty 080B Metairie 70002
Ms. Debbie Craighead 081A Reserve 70084
Mr. Tomy Acosta 081B LaPlace 70069
VACANT VACANT VACANT 082AVACANT VACANT
Mr. DonaldBlum 082B Metairie 70003
Ms. Sharlayne Prevost 083A Marrero 70072
Mr. Kyle Green, Jr. 083B Marrero 70072
Ms. Nora Romano 084A Marrero 70072
Mr. Patrick DeJean 084B Marrero 70072
VACANT VACANT VACANT 085AVACANT VACANT
Mr. Rudy Smith 085B Gretna 70053
Mrs. Carolyn Brown-Spiller 086A Hammond 70403
Mr. Kelly Wells 086B Hammond 70401
Ms. Danielle Duffourc 087A Marrero 70072
Mr. Paul Johnson 087B Harvey 70058
Ms. Leslie Jackson 088A Gonzales 70737
Mr. Kyle Gautreau 088B Gonzales 70707
Ms. Erin Powell 089A Mandeville 70448
Mr. Dana Colombo 089B Covington 70433
Ms. d'Andrea Chatman 090A Slidell 70460
Mr. T.J. Smith, Jr. 090B Pearl River 70452
Ms. Diana Bajoie 091A New Orleans70175
Mr. JayBanks 091B New Orleans70113
Ms. Malinda Hills-Holmes 092A Kenner 70064
Mr. Keith Hutchinson 092B Metairie 70003
Hon. Karen Peterson 093A New Orleans70112
Mr. James Perry 093B Winston Salem27127
Mrs. Deborah Langhoff 094A New Orleans70119
Mr. Nolan Marshall 094B New Orleans 70122
Ms. Cassandra Butler 095A Independence 70443
Mr. Randall Albin 095B Walker 70785
Ms. Maggie Daniels 096A New Iberia 70560
Mr. Marlon Lewis 096B New Iberia 70563
Hon. Cynthia Hedge-Morrell 097A New Orleans 70122
Hon. Arthur Morrell 097B New Orleans 70122
Ms. Irma Dixon 098A New Orleans 70118
Mr. Marshall Hevron 098B New Orleans 70118
Ms. Elaine Boutte-Yost 099A New Orleans70177
Hon. Wesley Bishop 099B New Orleans70126
Ms. Jerrelda Sanders 100A New Orleans70128
Mr. Willie Jones 100B New Orleans 70187
Ms. Dawn Collins 101A Baton Rouge 70814
Hon. Edward James 101B Baton Rouge 70814
Ms. Ericka Edwards-Jones 102A New Orleans 70131
Mr. JosephBroussard 102B New Orleans70131
Ms. Barbara Keller 103A New Orleans 70129
Mr. Reed Henderson 103B St. Bernard 70085
Ms. Brenda Palmer 104A Lacombe 70445
Mr. Carlo Hernandez 104B Mandeville 70448
Ms. Lisa Diggs 105A New Orleans 70131
Mr. Morris Reed, Jr. 105B New Orleans70131

Pete became involved in education reform as a 2002 Teach For America corps member in New Orleans Public Schools and has worked in various capacities at Teach For America, KIPP, TNTP, and the Recovery School District. As a consultant, he developed teacher evaluation systems and served as a strategic advisor to school district leaders in Cleveland, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. He now writes about education policy and politics and lives in New Orleans.

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Louisiana

AFT On The Bayou Union Spends Less In Louisiana, But More On Charter Organizing in New Orleans

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The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) spent less overall in Louisiana in the past fiscal year than it did in F.Y. 2016, but the union boosted its funding for charter school organizing efforts in New Orleans by more than forty percent.

An analysis of expenditure data from AFT’s 2017 annual report to U.S. Department of Labor shows that the union spent $2,326,573 in Louisiana during the fiscal year that ended June 30th, a slight decrease from the from $2.49 million it spent in the state in 2016.

About a quarter of AFT’s spending went to political activities, which included nearly $125,000 in payments to the political action committee of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, as well as a $15,000 contribution to Defend Louisiana, a super PAC behind Foster Campbell’s unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate last fall. In addition, AFT spent nearly $370,000 to influence last year’s Orleans Parish School Board elections, as I exposed in a previous blog post in January.

A diagram showing the distribution of AFT’s F.Y. 2017 spending in Louisiana.

AFT also invested heavily in organizing activities across the Bayou State. It gave nearly $192,000 to Red River United to support recruitment in Bossier, Caddo, and Red River Parishes. AFT spent another $184,000 on organizing in Monroe and $147,000 in Jefferson Parish.

Furthermore, AFT’s most recent annual report suggests that the union is stepping up its efforts to organize charter schools in the Big Easy. In F.Y 2017, AFT national poured $412,926 into its New Orleans Charter Organizing Project, a significant increase from the $292,000 it allocated in 2016. In all, AFT spent more than $850,000 on its New Orleans-based activities in the past year.

Although their recruitment efforts in the city have had mixed success, AFT’s willingness to spend substantial sums of money in New Orleans makes clear they still pose a serious threat. Over the past four years, AFT has steered more than $1.6 million to organize New Orleans charter schools and roll back the city’s reforms.

We need to remain vigilant to ensure that never happens.


Explore the data:


Read AFT’s 2017 annual report:

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LaLege

A Victory For Pettiness Over Progress Why Did The Governor Veto A Common Sense Education Bill?

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On Friday, Louisiana lawmakers voted to cancel a veto session to override Governor John Bel Edwards’ rejection of a number of bills passed by the legislature during this year’s regular session. The move was expected even though many Republican legislators accused the Governor of using his veto power to punish lawmakers who have consistently opposed his agenda.

Although the Governor’s line-item vetoes of construction projects in the state budget aroused the most controversy, the press largely overlooked his rejection of House Bill 568, a proposal from State Rep. Nancy Landry which would have revised the state’s student data privacy law.

Some background on H.B. 568

The story of House Bill 568 has its origins in a conversation I had last spring with a friend who works at the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University. For years, CREDO has produced highly regarded studies on the effectiveness of the state’s charter schools using data provided by the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE). However, in 2015, LDOE officials informed CREDO they could no longer provide access to that information due to changes in the state’s student data privacy law, passed by the legislature in 2014, which prohibited the department from sharing data with research institutions outside of Louisiana.

The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford has published highly regarded studies on the effectiveness of charter schools.

Without access to student performance data, CREDO’s research on Louisiana’s charter schools would grind to a halt and education policymakers would lose an objective, in-depth assessment of the health of the state’s charter sector. Moreover, the refusal to share data with out-of-state researchers would mean that Louisiana’s influence on the national education policy debate would be significantly diminished.

Seeking to avoid that outcome, my friend at CREDO reached out to see if I had any ideas on how they should proceed. I connected her with State Rep. Nancy Landry, who serves as chair of the House Education Committee, to explain the situation and see if she could help. Their subsequent discussions resulted in H.B. 568, which Landry filed during this year’s regular legislative session.

State Rep. Nancy Landry (R – Lafayette), is chair of House Education Committee and has clashed with the Governor over education policy.

The bill sought to carve out an exception to the overly broad changes lawmakers made in 2014 by allowing data to be shared (in accordance with standard data privacy protection procedures) with researchers at any college or university in the United States accredited and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. In short, H.B. 568 was limited in scope and non-controversial, as evidenced by the fact that it passed by large margins in both the House (95-3) and Senate (27-7).


Read more about how researchers use student data:

Student data privacy and education research must be balanced

Last week, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing on data privacy protections for students. Michael Hansen highlights the gravity of the debate around how Congress will update the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) for use in the modern age where big data is king.


So what’s with the veto?

Which brings us to the question of why Governor Edwards vetoed the legislation, especially when it had broad bipartisan support. Let’s start with the “official” rationale provided by the Governor in his veto message:

“The legislation requires LDOE to enter into a memorandum of understanding in which the person conducting such academic research agrees to be civilly liable for any fine imposed as a violation of authorized uses of the student information. Under current law, a person who violates authorized uses of the student information is subject to both criminal and civil penalties. House Bill 568 references civil penalties only relative to the memorandum of understanding. However, it does not create an exception to the criminal liability provisions in current law. Because of these drafting concerns, I have vetoed House Bill 568.”

The contention that the Governor felt compelled to veto the bill over a technicality – i.e., it didn’t create an explicit exception to the criminal liability provision in the current law – is unconvincing. Even though H.B. 568 didn’t specifically address criminal liability, it’s not at all clear that it necessarily needed to do so. In any case, from a practical standpoint, it is highly unlikely that a prosecutor would pursue a misdemeanor conviction – as opposed to a civil fine – against an employee of an out-of-state research institution. In fact, to my knowledge, no one has ever faced criminal charges in Louisiana for violating the state’s student data privacy law. It’s also worth noting that the Governor’s Office never raised this concern as H.B. 568 was winding its way through the legislature and could have been amended.

The Governor’s Office never raised concerns about H.B. 568 as it was making its way through the legislature.

When taken together, the facts suggest that the decision to veto House Bill 568 had little to do with the content of the legislation and more to do with its author. Rep. Landry has clashed with the Governor repeatedly over education policy in recent years and several of the Governor’s school-related proposals have died in the House Education Committee, which Landry chairs. Although Edwards would not be the first governor to use his veto pen to punish lawmakers who opposed his agenda, it makes no sense to apply it to a bill as innocuous and apolitical as H.B. 568, especially seeing that Rep. Landry had nothing to gain by sponsoring the legislation.

Nevertheless, Governor Edwards did just that. Thanks to his veto, Louisiana’s overly broad and mind-numbingly parochial student data privacy law remains in force. Out-of-state academics who want to study our public schools will be told to look elsewhere. And as a result, our public education system won’t be able to benefit from the knowledge and insights their research would provide.


Read House Bill 568:


Read the Governor’s Veto Message:

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