Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

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The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) is an administrative policy-making body for elementary and secondary schools in the U.S. state of Louisiana. It was created in the 1973 Louisiana Constitutional Convention, called by then Governor Edwin W. Edwards, and codified as Article VIII of the resulting document, the 1974 Louisiana Constitution.


BESE provides leadership in setting the education agenda for public education with an emphasis on student and school achievement. BESE also pushes for greater funding of public education.[1]


The BESE consists of eleven total members: eight elected members from the eight BESE districts [based on the former eight congressional districts, since reduced to six] along with three members-at-large appointed by the governor. The elected members serve four-year terms, concurrent with the governor.

In 2007, the board appointed Paul Pastorek, a former BESE member, as the Louisiana state education superintendent upon the death of Cecil J. Picard. Pastorek resigned as superintendent in 2011.[2] In 2012, eight of the eleven members were required to confirm Governor Bobby Jindal's appointment of John C. White as superintendent. White is an advocate of the Common Core State Standards Initiative,[3] which encompasses educational vouchers, charter schools and in-depth teacher evaluations.[4]


The powers and duties of the State Board can be broadly grouped into six main categories, which include:

Other activities

The Board has other more specifically defined duties assigned to it by law. These include:

Current membership

Five of the following members were elected from BESE electoral districts in 2011 and three, Roemer, King and Hill, won runoffs:

The following members were appointed in January 2016 by Governor John Bel Edwards:

Most of the members were elected with "heavy investment and support" by the interest group, the Louisiana Federation for Children. A nine-member board majority has supported school vouchers and charter schools.[7][8]

See also


  1. "BESE purpose, about page". Louisiana Board of Education. Louisiana Board of Education. Retrieved 2009-10-26.
  2. "Paul Pastorek, Louisiana's State Superintendent of Education". beta.lpb.org. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  3. "Sarah Tan, Common Core is here to stay, state education board says, October 16, 2013". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  4. "John Cavanaugh, John White Appointed Chief of Louisiana Schools". Education Week. January 11, 2012. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  5. "Duties of BESE". BESE. Louisiana Board of Education. Retrieved 2009-10-26.
  6. 1 2 3 "Results for Election Date: 10/24/2015". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
  7. Sentell, Will. "Results mean change", The Advocate, Baton Rouge, 2 February 2012. Retrieved on 3 June 2012.
  8. "Meet the Board" Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Retrieved on 3 June 2012.
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