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EXCLUSIVE: John White’s PRAXIS Scores Do Not Equal Five Years of Teaching Experience

July 24, 2017

I had an interesting exchange today with Lamar White, Jr., who, along with others on the editorial board of, published this “exclusive” in which they infer that my investigation into Louisiana state superintendent John White’s supposed five years of teaching experience was flawed because I allegedly did not understand that John White could include anything but public school teaching experience in that alleged five years of teaching experience– that I somehow misunderstood that private school teaching experience (or some other “other”– we’ll get to that) could also count.

According to, I also apparently do not understand how teacher certification reciprocity works– even though I have applied for reciprocity myself– and I do not realize that teaching experience could have gaps– even though my own has gaps.

From’s editorial board:

The case against White, first articulated by teacher and education blogger Mercedes Schneider, seemed compelling and credible. She alleges that the Superintendent was ineligible to receive a Level Three certification, the highest certification possible, due to gaps and discrepancies in his teaching record. …

In our judgment, none of these allegations are true, and they are based on a fundamental misapprehension of the law, a creative interpretation of the requisite qualifications for certification (in which only teaching experience in a public school is sufficient), and a misunderstanding about the ways in which states grant reciprocity to teachers certified elsewhere.

First of all, where did I get the idea that White’s teaching experience was only in public schools?

From his own application, completed by and signed by him.

Here is what White indicated to be his teaching experience on an application in which he needed to demonstrate that he had at least five years of teaching experience in an area of certification in order to qualify for ed leader 3 certification (i.e., to be eligible to receive the certification to become a local superintendent in Louisiana:

JW ed leader cert

Note that White indicated having two years with Chicago Public Schools and that White checked the “public” box for “type of school.”

Note also that there is a box for “private” school, and that if White had experience teaching in a private school in Illinois, he could have indicated as much.

And he could (and should) have named the private school.

But he did not.

And neither did Lamar White, Jr., or the editorial board at

In the case of teaching experience, there is either public school or private school.

There is not “TFA (Teach for America) executive director mentoring TFA teachers” school.

As for “gaps” in teaching: I have gaps that are years in which I was out of the K12 classroom in order to return to school.

My gaps are measured in school years, and I have never tried to Frankenstein years of classroom teaching experience by piecing together a month here, a month there, across years, and calling it a “year.” Not sure if this is what Lamar White et al. are suggesting, but I just thought I would put it out there since is unclear on this point in its defense of John White’s years of teaching experience.

To recap: The reason I believed John White said he had five years of public school teaching experience is that I read his application— which is included in full in my post that Lamar White et al. reference in their post.

As for teaching reciprocity among states:

Reciprocity does not mean that someone coming to Illinois and holding a teaching certificate from another state does not have to apply for an Illinois teacher license.

It means that one can submit the license held in another state in order to obtain the Illinois license.

From the Illinois teacher certification website:

Illinois offers the opportunity for teachers from out-of-state to qualify for Illinois teaching certification through reciprocity agreements. You will need to have completed an approved teacher education program and/or currently hold a valid teaching certification from another state at the time of your application for Illinois licensure. [Emphasis added.]

In other words, John White could not teach in Illinois using his New Jersey teacher license without submitting an application to the Illinois State Board of Ed (ISBE) in order to convert the New Jersey license to Illinois.

I actually participated in this process myself in 1993 when I moved to Georgia from Louisiana. Georgia has reciprocity with Louisiana when it comes to teacher licensure. I still had to apply for a Georgia teaching certificate using my Louisiana license.

What that means is that I have a Georgia teaching certificate on file with the Georgia State Board of Education, and I used my Louisiana teaching license to obtain it.

The bottom line is that regardless of reciprocity, if John White taught in Illinois, he would have an Illinois teaching certificate on file.

He does not.

The “misunderstanding” about how teacher licensure reciprocity works is not with me.

Reciprocity does not mean that ISBE will allow a person with a New Jersey teaching certificate to bypass the process of converting that certificate into an Illinois teaching certificate. To verify this, I spoke with Illinois Federation of Teachers legislative director, John Cusick, whose specialty is Illinois teacher licensure and related issues.

Here is what I asked:

John, I hold a Louisiana teaching certificate. I see that Illinois has reciprocity with Louisiana. In order for me to teach in Illinois, can I do so on my Louisiana certificate alone, without applying for an Illinois teaching certificate?

Cusick’s response:

Absolutely not. And you need to get that done as soon as possible.

Cusick assumed I wanted to teach in Illinois for the 2017-18 school year. I explained that I was just checking to see if I could bypass converting my Louisiana certificate into an Illinois certificate in the name of reciprocity.

The answer: No.

The centerpiece of Lamar White’s et al. post is publication of John White’s PRAXIS scores, which Lamar White et al. write until this time “have never been published.”

However, John White’s PRAXIS scores are already reported on his La. ed leader application, and those scores have not been the problematic issue.

John White’s shady sketching of five years of teaching has.

If John White had the necessary five years of teaching, and two of those years were at private schools, he would have named the private schools. But he did not, and neither did

If Louisiana’s state board of education waived White’s need to have those five years of teaching experience, then there was no need in the first place for White to write that he taught for Chicago Public Schools from 2004-06 on his 2016 application for Louisiana’s ed leader 3 credential– an application that includes no statement of waiver but instead has Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) certification specialist Regina Poole signing off on John White’s having five years of teaching experience in area of certification:

JW ed leader cert 2

If John White could have gained a Louisiana ed leader 3 certification by waiver of the five years of teaching experience, then that waiver would exist. Instead, we have no such indication from Regina Poole or anyone else.

But we have another issue here, as well: In 2012, John White received a waiver to become state superintendent, and BESE, the state board, granted that waiver.

Four years later, in 2016, John White applies for an actual credential– one that has five years of teaching experience in area of certification as a requirement– and John White does not have five years of teaching experience in an area of certification.

When it comes to John White’s ed leader 3 certification, Lamar White and the editorial board of write, “good enough.”

I stand by my original postings.

john white 06-23-17  John White


Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.




  1. Christine Langhoff permalink

    Lamar White Jr. is out of his league in taking you on.

    • Stephanie Anders permalink

      What Christine said.

    • anon permalink

      Lamar White is a good guy…who is on the wrong track here. His Louisiana roots are deep, as is his commitment to equality and the truth. He is basically the anti-John White. Hope this all gets sorted out.

      • Linda permalink

        If what you say about Lamar White is true, he should read the Black Agenda Report and NAACP’s positions about contractor schools (charters).
        He should read the Philanthropy Roundtable interview with the founder of Gates-funded New Schools Venture Fund, Kim Smith. NSVF’s marching orders are, “to develop diverse charter school organizations to produce different brands on a large scale”.
        An understanding of the history of the equality fight includes the knowledge that (1) racist, Georgia Governor Talmadge first proposed school privatization when the court ruled in favor of integration and, that (2) public schooling was created as an alternative to fee-based, legacy-admission schools. Public schooling is threatened, as described in the 4th chapter of the recent book, “The One Percent Solution: How corporations are remaking states one at a time”.
        Schneider’s posts about Roland Fryer’s “two-tier” education and the source of the professor’s high dollar grants are a must read.
        Media’s exploration of how the goals of John White’s Chiefs for Change organization relate to democracy, would be useful to the public. The comments of Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, who is partnered in a contractor school chain, calling for an elimination of democratically elected school boards are important for the public to know.
        Understanding the U.S. education chronology could begin with the Aspen institute’s (David Koch is on the board), Gates-funded education programs, e.g. Pahara Institute (note that a substantial number of the organizations represented by Pahara Fellows, can get revenue only if they can get into public schools).
        BTW, Bayou Brief provides neither funding sources nor a “contact us” tab. Both are best practice for a non-profit.

  2. Abigail Shure permalink

    Did White teach in Newark? TFA is not the name of a school.

  3. Is John White and Lamar White related?

  4. And if they aren’t related, they have more in common than the same last name. They are both frauds and should be behind bars.

  5. Rima S Duhon permalink

    It is VERY obvious that Lamar White, Jr. is a John White supporter AND does not know one MUST actually TEACH in the classroom in order to earn teaching experience. Passing the PRAXIS Exam is required of all who want to become certified teachers, or at least when I became a teacher it was a requirement. Obtaining passing scores on the PRAXIS Exam HAS NOT EVER given your “CLASSROOM TEACHING EXPERIENCE!” Where did he come up with that information?

    • It seems that Lamar White believes that John White had to prove he had 5 yrs teaching experience in order to take the Praxis.

  6. Again, White and his supporters show their desperation in these lame attempts to digress. Who are they expecting to convince anyway? One has only to compare the law to the “facts” as presented by White himself and see that he and his accomplices faked his credentials. When someone as intelligent as Lamar pull a stunt like this it undeniable evidence that they have NOTHING!

  7. zombie of nola mommy permalink

    Dr. Schneider, I’m curious about something the BB mentioned:

    “We can find no evidence contradicting this assertion, made on the record and which, if false, would allow for the state to remove his certification, per Section 909 of Bulletin 746.”

    I don’t want to download the link from their site, and I can’t find this reference readily available online. Are you familiar with this Bulletin 746, and the procedures related to fraud in Section 909?

    Finally, what language is at the beginning of the certification application form, and does the form have instructions?

    Thank you for your persistence and accuracy.

    • ZoNM, you can find answers to your questions in these posts:

      But here is a quick link to Bulletin 746:

      And here is Section 909:

      §909. Suspension and Revocation of Certificates due to Fraudulent Documentation Pertaining to Certification
      A. A Louisiana teaching certificate shall be suspended and/or revoked if a teacher presents fraudulent documentation pertaining to his/her certificate to the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education or the Department of Education.
      B. The department shall investigate prior to determining that a teacher has submitted fraudulent documentation pertaining to his/her teaching certificate. Upon confirmation of the information investigated, the department shall notify the teacher by certified mail that his/her certificate has been suspended pending official board action and that a records review shall be conducted by the board to consider revocation.
      C. Such records review shall be limited to the issue of whether or not the document submitted was fraudulent. The teacher shall provide the board with any documentation that will refute the fraudulent nature of the document.
      D. The committee of the board shall make a recommendation to the full board, based on documentation received from the department and the teacher, whether the teaching certificate should be revoked. The decision of the board shall be transmitted to the local school board and to the teacher affected.

  8. I was a CPS Teacher Coach/Mentor for a few years, including one of the years that White claimed to do the same. Those without Illinois certification but who had other relevant training and experience could be hired as Independent Contractors, for which they are given a vendor number. In Arne
    Duncan’s approval letter to TFA, a vendor number for TFA is provided, not one for White. The CPS Department of Procurement is required to report all expenditures to vendors annually and, as you can see here, TFA is listed on the reports, but not John White:

    Without IL certification, an Independent Contractor cannot serve as a teacher in charge of a classroom of students in public schools. For White to have been qualified to do that under the TFA vendor number, I believe he would have to have been like any other TFAer, enrolled in a graduate program leading to a master’s degree with certification and gotten a provisional certificate to teach from the state. If he had been given a provisional certificate, the state would have a record of it.

    I don’t think White could have been hired as a TFAer tasked with coaching and mentoring veteran teachers though, because there is very high regard for Teacher Coaches/Mentors at CPS due to their extensive training and experience, while TFAers are known to be novices.

    At any rate, if White had really been a Teacher Coach/Mentor for CPS, he would have known that we provided guidance and supports to teachers, both inside their classrooms and out, and while we might have modeled some effective teaching practices for them, we did not take over their classes and teach in place of them for a couple years!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Note to Media in Louisiana: Don’t Mess with Mercedes Schneider | Diane Ravitch's blog
  2. La. Supt. John White’s Certification in “English As Part of a Mix of Subjects” (Eh?) | deutsch29
  3. Louisiana: Lawyer Calls on Publication to Apologize to Mercedes Schneider | Diane Ravitch's blog
  4. Investigating John White’s Teaching Experience: The Emails (Part IV) | deutsch29

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