School & District Management

Louisiana Chief Draws Heat on Leadership, Policy

By Erik W. Robelen — August 25, 2009 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Louisiana schools chief Paul G. Pastorek is no stranger to controversy, but things seemed to reach the boiling point this summer for two prominent education groups.

First, in late July, the Louisiana Association of Educators said he should be replaced, citing, among other things, what the National Education Association affiliate called his “failed leadership” and his “unwillingness to work with educators, legislators, and locally elected board leaders to bring about meaningful education reform.”

Next, the Louisiana School Boards Association in early August declined the state superintendent’s invitation for its officers and staff members to meet to discuss education policy.

“There is a very strong sentiment among lsba leaders that trust no longer exists between you and the education community,” wrote Tammy Phelps, the group’s president, and Nolton Senegal, its chief executive officer. “Such a call as was made by the [teachers’ union] has much merit, and (we) have to advise you that our board unanimously supports the [union] in this call.”

In an interview, Mr. Pastorek, who was appointed by the state board of elementary and secondary education in 2007, appeared to be taking it all in stride, noting that the board just gave him a positive evaluation.

“There’s some frustration that people have about some of the actions that I’ve pushed for in the legislative session,” he said.

Several state education organizations, including the teachers’ union and the school boards group, did, in fact, meet Aug. 19 with Mr. Pastorek and a representative from the office of Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has said he stands behind Mr. Pastorek. The main point was to discuss the state’s planned application for a grant under the federal Race to the Top Fund, part of the economic-stimulus law.

But the recent tensions also were addressed, Mr. Pastorek said.

“It was an opportunity to correct some misimpressions,” he said. “We’ve been pretty aggressive about taking over schools and putting charter [schools] in place, and that’s been seen by some as a threat.”

The school boards’ organization also was a staunch opponent of Mr. Pastorek’s unsuccessful bid for legislation to limit the authority, tenure, and compensation of local school board members.

“We said we were all going to work together for the good of the children,” Mr. Senegal said of the Aug. 19 meeting, though he cautioned that “we still have ... concerns” about trust.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Privacy & Security Webinar
Navigating Modern Data Protection & Privacy in Education
Explore the modern landscape of data loss prevention in education and learn actionable strategies to protect sensitive data.
Content provided by  Symantec & Carahsoft

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion How to Let Your Values Guide You as a School Leader
Has your “why” become fuzzy? Here are four steps to keep principals motivated and moving forward.
Damia C. Thomas
4 min read
Silhouette of a figure inside of which is reflected public school life, Self-reflection of career in education
Vanessa Solis/Education Week via Canva
School & District Management ‘Be Vocal Without Being Vicious’: Superintendents on Fighting for More Funding
Two superintendents talk about stepping into the political realm to call for more public school funding.
5 min read
Photo of dollar bills frozen in ice.
iStock / Getty Images Plus
School & District Management New Principals Have a Steep Learning Curve. Could Apprenticeships Help?
North Dakota's leaders share what they've learned about creating a principal apprenticeship in a playbook aimed at other states
5 min read
Photo of principals walking in school hallway.
E+/Getty
School & District Management Q&A Why This K-12 Leader Was 'Incredulous' When Congress Asked Him to Testify
New York City schools Chancellor David Banks' blunt take on appearing before Congress and leading schools in divisive times.
7 min read
New York City Department of Education Chancellor David Banks speaks at a press briefing at City Hall in New York City.
New York City Department of Education Chancellor David Banks speaks at a press briefing at City Hall in New York City.
Michael Brochstein/Sipa via AP