Roemer sworn in as BESE president

Chas Roemer was sworn in Wednesday as president of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The 11-member panel sets policies for about 712,000 public school students statewide.

Roemer, who lives in Baton Rouge, and two other BESE members were given their oaths of office by Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne.

Family members on hand for the ceremony included former Gov. Buddy Roemer, his father; Tena Roemer, his wife; sister Caroline Roemer; and brother Dakota Roemer.

“We will not be satisfied until every child, regardless of their wealth, has access to a quality education,” Chas Roemer said.

He said the key to improvements is the quality of public school teachers.

Roemer, like most members of BESE, is an ally of Gov. Bobby Jindal.

He is generally a supporter of charter schools, which are public schools run by nongovernmental boards; letter grades for public schools; and a wide range of other changes aimed at shaking up the traditional public school establishment.

“It is not a one-size-fits-all system,” Roemer said of quality education methods.

Roemer, who was elected to the job by colleagues in December, succeeds Penny Dastugue, who held the job for two years.

BESE members and state Superintendent of Education John White praised Dastugue’s leadership amid major changes in public schools, including the state’s expanded voucher system, new methods for evaluating public school teachers and more rigorous classrooms.

Jim Garvey, a lawyer in Metairie, was sworn in as vice president of BESE.

Holly Boffy, a former teacher who lives in Youngsville, took the oath as secretary-treasurer for BESE.