We’re not here to white-knight for Louisiana schools superintendent Cade Brumley. We’re not here to white-knight for anybody in the Louisiana public education system, which we regard as an abject failure, a criminal waste of money, an obsolete Soviet-style bureaucratic monstrosity and a pristine example of the economics concept of “crowding out.” What we’re for is a demolition of public education in Louisiana and using the lard currently being poured into it to fuel a true educational marketplace where taxpayer education dollars go to the parents for the purchase of a proper education for their children.
Because the market couldn’t possibly do worse than our atrocious public schools do. The only concrete benefit those government schools provide in Louisiana is breakfast and lunch for those kids. As to actual education, it’s debatable in more cases than not.
But given that Louisiana’s political class is to this point incapable of abandoning the failure that is public education in this state and embarking on better opportunities to provide proper public services for the $13,000 or so per student per year we’re wasting on those schools, we at least demand that the government schools not indoctrinate kids into the woke belief that America was founded on racism and violence.
And it turns out that Brumley, whatever his faults might be, is an ally in that demand. He’s actively pushing to ban the teaching of critical race theory in the schools as part of the state Department of Education’s review of its social studies curriculum.
We can’t speak to whether that will truly help much of anything since the liars in the CRT crowd swear up and down that it isn’t in the curriculum. Where it really makes its mark is in the pedagogy. Here’s a quick aside for more on that…
Whether Brumley is an asset in scrubbing CRT from the pedagogy isn’t clear to us, but the curriculum is the first place to start and he’s on board there.
But that in itself is enough to make Brumley a lightning rod for the leftists who have a stranglehold on school administrations across the state and who are close to a majority on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).
The elected BESE members are more or less a 6-2 majority to support Brumley and oppose CRT. But the governor appoints three members to that board, which means all you need is one member to go wobbly and Louisiana will go full woke-indoctrination to add to its inability to teach the basics with any real degree of success.
Since the CRT issue came up in last year’s legislative session, and since Brumley stood against Gov. John Bel Edwards’ efforts to impose COVID insanity on the schools, they’ve been out to get him.
Which is why all of a sudden this “scandal” about a pair of school contracts Brumley is responsible for has popped.
Louisiana Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley’s decision to award $342,000 in no-bid contracts to a former top Baton Rouge schools official who started a consulting firm only weeks before striking the deals is drawing scrutiny.
The Advocate reports that one of the contracts did not follow normal procedures, and the head of the state education board that hired Brumley said she was in the dark about an agreement that requires her review.
The contracts were for $222,000 and $120,000 with a newly formed consulting firm run by Sharmayne Rutledge, former assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction with the East Baton Rouge Parish school system, who resigned her post last week.
The larger contract with Invicta Consulting LLC was to help school districts plan for handling some of the $4 billion in federal pandemic aid Louisiana is receiving for K-12 education. The other contract involves reviewing plans by local school districts to try to improve student achievement in the wake of the plunge in math, English and other key test scores amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Rutledge’s consulting firm was registered with the secretary of state’s office on Aug. 2, less than four weeks before the $220,000 contract with the state education department was signed.
That $220,000 deal won final approval from the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education last month after it was recommended by Brumley and the state Department of Education.
Everybody knows that these consulting contracts are pork. That’s what you get with government. The Louisiana Department of Education got $4 billion dropped on them by the feds and they don’t really have a clue what to spend it on, so they hire consultants in hopes that somebody will come up with ideas which aren’t a total waste of that money. One assumes Rutledge offered up something which didn’t sound terrible, so they gave her a contract in hopes she could implement those ideas.
And BESE signed off on it, so there is nothing scandalous about this. The contract assumedly came based on the idea, not the price. This isn’t out of the ordinary in any way, shape or form as we understand it.
The “scandal” appears to be due to the other contract.
But the second, smaller contract has been in effect for nearly two months, even though Sandy Holloway, president of the state education board, said she didn’t know about the deal, which requires her review.
“I was not aware of the contract,” Holloway told the newspaper, adding she was surprised about it.
Because of the paperwork that still must be submitted, the board won’t vote on the agreement until its December meeting, about two weeks before the contract is set to expire on Dec. 31. The first of two $60,000 payments already has been made to the company, according to state records.
“I think a layman would ask for justification on any and all no-bid contracts and emergency contracts,” said Brigitte Nieland, director of government relations for the advocacy group Stand For Children.
The education department submitted written responses to questions from The Advocate and defended Brumley’s contracts, saying Rutledge has sterling education credentials that make her ideal for the work.
The department “conducted a thorough analysis of multiple vendors to determine who could diligently and thoroughly review the plans, ensuring federal funds were allocated toward activities that would accelerate student learning and ignite academic recovery,” the statement said.
Sandy Holloway doesn’t like Cade Brumley. That’s what this is about. They’ve already approved Rutledge for a larger contract and now this supposedly questionable because he’s on the wrong side of Edwards and the Democrats on COVID idiocy and CRT.
That’s all this is. The fact that the Advocate is willing to play stooge for the Powers That Be and ring alarm bells over $342,000 in consulting contracts when the state has a $38 billion budget and there are hundreds of millions of dollars being set on fire in obvious waste should be plenty enough reason to distrust anything they write on this.
Is Brumley wasting that $342,000 on Rutledge’s contracts? We wouldn’t doubt it. All of this is essentially polishing a turd. You can’t improve Louisiana’s government schools with $342,000, and you might not even be able to do it with $342 million.
But the idea that anybody at the Advocate is really interested in playing watchdog for the taxpayer by reporting on these two contracts without the context of why Cade Brumley is suddenly in the crosshairs is laughable. It’s an utter insult to our intelligence, and people know it. This is why that’s a zombie newspaper, and it’s why we’d be better off if it just went away.