Letter: BESE comment quoted without context

On Aug. 17, in its “Capitol Buzz” column, The Advocate used the headline “Beebe lashes out at White,” and reports that, during a “lengthy meeting last week,” I challenged state Superintendent of Education John White, by saying, “I’m sure you can read.”

Although I did say those words at an Aug. 12 Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting, The Advocate reporter gave no context as to why I said what I did and incorrectly identified to whom I made the comment.

The comment was addressed to fellow BESE member, James Garvey. I made a fair and common sense motion to prohibit school tuition organizations from participating in the rebates authorized in Section 901,General Audits and Financial Reviews, if these groups fail to comply with the rules to receive this funding. The motion made a simple word change to a proposed policy, to use “shall” rather than “may.” Garvey, an attorney, repeatedly stated that he was confused regarding my motion. I stated the differences in meaning between the words “shall” and “may.” I also made several attempts to explain the motion to him and pointed out the page number on which the item was located.

My perception, based on the context and tone of Garvey’s comments, was that he was not asking questions in good faith; Garvey was condescending and deliberate which prompted me to make the aforementioned comment. I was frustrated by what I perceived as condescension from another BESE member.

My comments were not intended to raise questions about the education or literacy of either White or Garvey. I am passionate in fighting for Louisiana’s children, and that passion makes me quick to defend good ideas from unfair political attacks. I take responsibility for what I said and want to make it clear that I was responding to what I perceived to be unprofessional behavior from a fellow BESE member.

The “Capitpl Buzz” column was incorrect in its facts and provided no context to its readers about why I said what I did. I realize that The Advocate has editorial views that differ from my proposed education policies, but going forward, I hope The Advocate will strive to be more professional and fair in its reporting.

Lottie P. Beebe

District 3 BESE member

Breaux Bridge