Commentary: BESE runoff takes on new importance

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wwltv.com

Posted on November 1, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 1 at 6:42 PM

Voters will head to the polls once again later this month to settle local runoff races, including the race for a seat on the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or BESE.

In his commentary this week, Eyewitness News Political Analyst and Gambit Columnist Clancy DuBos tells why this year the BESE runoff is taking on a new importance.

Clancy DuBos / Eyewitness News Political Analyst

NEW ORLEANS -- Most Louisiana elections were settled on October 22, but some very important races remain.

Among them: a local runoff for a seat on the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or BESE.

In years past, BESE races were low-key affairs. Nobody got too excited about them — except public school teachers and others with close ties to public education.

This year has been different. With so many changes occurring in public schools, BESE has become the focus of a statewide power struggle over the future of public education in Louisiana.

One side wants to expand upon the reforms backed by Governor Bobby Jindal; another side feels the changes that Jindal supports go too far.

Louisiana is now the vortex of a national debate over charter schools. The BESE elections will determine what’s to become of charters — and the Recovery School District, which has been so active in New Orleans.

Regardless of what side you take in that debate, there’s no dispute that we all have a big stake in public education. For that reason, here’s hoping everyone pays close attention to the BESE runoffs — and that everyone turns out vote on November 19.

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