Pat Cooper – Not Your Father’s School System
With regards to his appearance in front of the BESE Board Dr. Cooper said,
Actually it was a fairly pleasant experience until about the last five minutes. Admittedly I should have handled things a little bit differently because I wasn't as clear as I needed to be.
The BESE committee met to determine if the BESE Board would approve charter schools for Lafayette Parish. Earlier the Lafayette Parish School Board voted down charter schools. Dr. Cooper said,
There were two misunderstandings that kept floating around at the meeting. One, people that would coming to the podium opposing the charters kept quoting me as saying I was for charters. Really I'm not for charters I'm for doing what's best for the Lafayette school system right now and right now we don't have any money. We're running out of money. We're running out of space for kids.
The second misunderstanding according to Dr. Cooper was,
There was also just wild things said like 'it's going to cost us $16 million next year'. In fact the moneys that we would have gotten for those children that go to the charter schools they follow the children...It's not going to cost us $16 million.
Dr. Cooper said his closing comments fired up people at the hearing.
I got up there and said 'it's time you hear what the Superintendent says'...What I said was the problem with the people in Lafayette, and this is where I made my mistake...the problem with people in Lafayette is that if they don't like something about the school district, especially the old hands who don't like all the changes they just distort it, they just lie about it...What I should have said is there is a small group of people who don't want change. There's a small group of people who have been in charge for the last seven, eight, ten, twelve years who let us get into the position were in.
Dr. Cooper had a lot more to say about charter schools, the BESE Board and the Lafayette Parish School System. You can hear all of his comments by listening to the interview: