Monday, November 24, 2014

Reasons Mounting To Support Doucet In JP School Board Race

Early voting began Saturday and, while there is no early voting on Thanksgiving Thursday or Black Friday, the reasons to vote FOR Melinda Doucet in the JP School Board District 7 race keep increasing.

District 7 includes parts of Kenner (including where I live), Metairie, and River Ridge and Harahan on the East Bank and portions of Avondale and Bridge City on the West Bank.

In contrast to her opponent, incumbent Mark Jacobs, Doucet is staunchly opposed to Common Core, the set of National standards that were thrust upon, some might use the terms “extortion” or “blackmail”, states and local school boards in return for Federal funding (which we should be entitled to anyway), is creating a furor across the country as parents, teachers and school administrators are learning more about the Bill Gates-funded plan.

A huge issue for parents is the new computer-based surveys and questionnaires that are part of Common Core and the potential for abuse through data mining and privacy issues.

Jacobs was swept into office in 2010 in an anti-incumbency wave and power grab by business interests.

In addition to being opposed to Common Core, Doucet has been involved with JP public schools for the past 19 years as a parent of 3 (who all attended JP public schools), a PTO President and as “Volunteer of the Year” at Elementary, Middle and High Schools.

Doucet finished 1st in the November 4th runoff besting Jacobs, 45.6%-42.5%. Both are Republicans. Libertarian Jo Ann Scott finished 3rd with 12%.

This week, Scott endorsed Doucet.

In a statement, Scott said, “I ran for School Board because I had a calling to improve education and get Jefferson Parish out of Common Core. During the campaign and in subsequent conversations, I learned that Melinda’s educational philosophies are very much in tune with mine. Melinda believes in providing teachers with the tools needed to provide students with an advantageous curriculum; fighting waste and abuse in the Jefferson Parish Public School System; taking the ‘business’ out of teaching; and she is staunchly opposed to Common Core. Her tenacious attitude and beliefs will ensure that students will indeed be able to select their own path in life, not one that is nationally selected for them. Melinda’s background will make her an asset to the School Board.”

"I strongly encourage my supporters and every voter in District 7 concerned about our educational system to vote for and support Melinda Doucet."  

Scott is a retired teacher who spent 33 years on the frontline in Jefferson Parish public schools.

As if that wasn’t enough, there are even more reason to support Doucet.

Saturday, I received a mail piece from Jacobs touting his endorsement by Democratic District Attorney Paul Connick and quasi-Democratic Sheriff Newell Normand.

Now, before you start, I know Newell thinks that he should be involved in everything and a school board race where he can try to assert his influence(?) is right up his alley. Connick also feels the need to attempt to impose his will on voters too at every opportunity.

The mail piece, titled “A Message From District Attorney Paul Connick and Sheriff Newell Normand”, states: “The trends were alarming. Four years ago kids were dropping out of school at a disturbing rate; they had lots of time and little hope,” the piece continues, “Our public schools have made dramatic improvements. Drop out rates are down significantly and so is crime.”


While it’s true that, according to JPSO crime stats, crime is down compared to 2010, reported crime in Jefferson Parish actually peaked in 2006 and has been slowly declining across the board.

For example, in 2010 there were 52 murders in unincorporated Jefferson Parish. In 2013, there were 44. Great right? Well, in 2012 there were only 33 murders and Sheriff Normand was getting back spasms from patting himself on the back for the decrease. Nowhere did Normand mention the JP drop out rate or the “dramatic improvements” made by JP Public Schools.

The reality that incumbent school board members like Jacobs and politicians like Connick and Normand, who keep trying to pull the wool over unsuspecting voters’ eyes, is that JP Public School rankings improved primarily due to the influx of Orleans Parish students that migrated to Jefferson Parish schools after Katrina working their way through the system and either graduating or returning to Orleans Parish schools.

 Jacobs is also endorsed by the pro-Common Core lobbying group, Stand For Children, which also sent out its own mail piece touting Jacobs and the fake “dramatic improvements” that have been made.

On the Jefferson Parish page of its web site, Stand For Children claims these “Successes”:
  • In November 2013, we advocated for a $23 million millage renewal for JPPSS’s budget
  • Stand has provided training for more than 75 JPPSS principals around how to communicate with families about Louisiana’s Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
  • We have presented Louisiana CCSS workshops that have reached over 100 families in the parish—with more still to come!
So, a group that advocated for the renewal of $23 Million tax (because Heaven knows there isn’t $23 Million that could be cut from a $550 Million budget), and presented “workshops” to a whopping 100 families in Jefferson Parish feels qualified to spend thousands of dollars to influence a local School Board race and tell you who to vote for?

Sorry, that doesn’t pass the smell test for me.

And it doesn’t take a workshop on Common Core Math to see that a parent of 3, with 19 years of experience working as a volunteer in JP Public Schools and endorsed by a retired teacher with 33 years of experience in JP Public Schools should merit more consideration than the endorsement of other elected officials and an out-of-state pro-Common Core group.

And if all of that wasn’t enough, did I mention that Jacobs has also been endorsed by Gambit and the Times-Picayune, along with the Jefferson Chamber, elected officials including Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni and JP Councilman Ben Zahn (no surprise that I disagree with them, right?), and groups who only rear their ugly heads around election time like The Alliance For Good Government and the Committee For a Better Jefferson, or is that just piling on?  

And, did I mention that Jacobs has received campaign contributions from the campaign accounts (not even their own money) of Normand and his BFF Danny Martiny, who conspired to take away the public’s right to vote on the Jefferson Parish Hospital lease fiasco, and ex-politicians like Tony Ligi and Art Lentini?

Sorry I opened three paragraphs in a row with 'and'. Guess I need some Common Core Remedial English classes. 

Hey, if an elected official or ex-politician wants to give money to a candidate, fine – but use your own money. 

Ex-politicians with money remaining in their campaign accounts should be mandated to give that money back to contributors or to charities.

These endorsements, along with the “Nod From Newell”, are all I need to support Doucet.

You should too.