BESE 4: Tony Davis Spews Ed Reform Rhetoric

1294-tony-davisWhen Governor Jindal flipped to the anti-Common Core side, many people were thrilled that he had seen the light. Finally, we had a glimpse of hope that we would defeat Common Core and move on with our lives. The fact of the matter is, Jindal’s move was politically motivated and really had no relevance to the Common Core fight. You see, the fight that we should all be involved in is the fight against education reform. Common Core State Standards were just the vehicle by which reformers hoped would take them to their destination; take over of public schools, conversion of tax dollars to profit and social engineering of worker bees to fill menial labor positions in industrial workforce.

Jindal was the first to realize that the opposition to Common Core had grown so strong that by continuing to support it would jeopardize his run for the presidency. People were, and still are, primarily focused on the standards, so he changed his stance. All of the other goals of the ed reform agenda are still supported by Jindal. He still supports vouchers, charter schools and abusing teachers to accomplish that goal.

It did not take long for the ed reform group, as a whole, to follow suit. In reality, the Common Core standards aren’t needed to accomplish their goals. They just need a similar set of standards that can be used to over-test students and label schools as failing. The talking points metamorphosed from “Common Core standards” to “Higher Standards.” The problem is…they forgot to tell the media.

In BESE District 4, the voters are faced with a runoff election between incumbent Mary Johnson Harris and Tony Davis. Harris was appointed by Governor Jindal (after he flipped) to replace BESE member, Walter Lee, who was forced to resign after a conviction. Harris has been a strong voice in the anti-Common Core movement from her first days on the board. She stood with Lottie Beebe, Carolyn Hill and Jane Smith (collectively known as the BESE 4) as they fought against the tyranny being handed down by the board majority that had been elected by corporate cronies.

Davis, on the other hand, is leader of the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce. Please note that the Chamber is one of the “corporate cronies” mentioned in the previous paragraph. The Louisiana Chamber, aka LABI, has been the leader in the effort to push ed reform, including Common Core, in Louisiana. All four of LABI’s political action committees have endorsed Davis. He is also receiving independent support in the form of television advertising from the political action committee known as Empower Louisiana, Lane Grigsby. Combined, Davis has received in excess of $250,000 in support from these PACs.

Now, it is clear that Davis is LABI’s choice as “ed reform monkey,” but what we are just now realizing is that Davis isn’t very good at it. It seems that not only is he a “johnny come lately,” but he is also unfamiliar with the ed reformer vernacular. He is being forced to retrace his steps in order to gain support where support is lacking. In a recent press release, which you can read here, Davis went on the defense saying that Harris was saying things about his support of Common Core that weren’t true.

“I was disappointed to see my opponent on Election Night TV claim I am for Common Core education standards. At best, this is a mistake on her part and at worst, it’s a downright political lie. I want to make it very clear I have never had anything to do with Common Core. I didn’t vote for it, I’ve never supported it and I won’t approve it if elected,”

Of course, he didn’t vote for it. None of us did. It was forced upon us by Jindal, and the corporate supported BESE. We find it interesting that Davis went on the record with such strong statements, considering there is ample proof that he is not being honest. On October 19th, just five days before the primary election, Davis went on record with the Shreveport Times about his stance on Common Core. The following is a excerpt from the article which can be read, here.

“Davis feels high standards will allow students to effectively compete once they get in the workforce or begin college. He fully supports benefits of Common Core and that the high standards should stay in place.”

Now, notice he uses both “Common Core, and “high standards” in his response. Let’s jump forward with the article written by Danielle Dreilinger, and published on, October 24th, after election results were announced.

Pro-Common Core side stays in control on Louisiana Board

It is interesting that Dreilinger identifies the winners as “Pro-Common Core.” I suppose that it is because, despite running campaigns that support “higher standards,” all of the candidates had been public supporters of Common Core. In addition, the financial support that these winning candidates received from the Pro-Common Core billionaires was illustrated quiet nicely in the following publication by Elizabeth Jeffers of the New Orleans Tribune. The paper is well notated if you would like to research, for yourself.

Billionaires, and their Super PACs, Vie for Control in Louisiana Education

If these examples aren’t enough to convince you of Tony Davis’ support of the “ed reform agenda,” then here is one last link. The Louisiana Family Forum does a wonderful job of providing comprehensive access to candidates of most, if not all, races by soliciting responses from candidates on the topics related to their particular race. the following link shows responses from Davis.

Louisiana Voter Guide: BESE District 4

Please, take not of Davis’ response to question number twelve. Here is where we think that Davis’ was brought up to speed on the topic, at hand. All of his previous statements offer direct support of the Common Core Standards, but now, he is in favor of “revised” standards, according to what the legislature wants.

Let’s be clear. What the people, and SOME of the legislature, wanted was to dump Common Core, altogether. What we got, instead, was an attempt to appease the opposition in an effort to stall until the money could be spent buying the new BESE. If you haven’t been following it, the standards review process isn’t going so well. We will follow up on that in a separate blog.

We urge the voters of District 4, do not be fooled by the rhetoric that Davis is spewing. He is financially supported by LABI, Grigsby, Gates, Bloomberg, the Broads and the Waltons. If he wins, he will be obligated to forward their agenda. DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN! We support Mary Johnson Harris for BESE 4. You should, too!