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La. BESE Member Kira Orange Jones: Sloppy at Best; Deceptive at Worst.

August 17, 2019

On August 11, 2019, I posted about Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) District 2 member, Teach for America executive director, Kira Orange-Jones, who does not file timely annual disclosure reports with Louisiana’s ethics board.

As of my August 11, 2019, writing, Orange-Jones had yet to file annual disclosures for 2017 and 2018. Too, her physical residence was in question, and she has been chronically absent from BESE meetings, missing 38 percent of the time since January 2016.

Since Orange-Jones declared her intention to run for a third BESE term, she had to file her extremely delinquent annual forms (due May 15th of subsequent year), which she did on August 12, 2019.

In filing her annual financial disclosures long after they were due, Orange-Jones is at best sloppy and at worst, deceptive, for her delinquent filings serve to keep the public in the dark regarding her physical address (a qualifying factor for her BESE seat) and any connections that she might have with other organizations and that could pose conflicts of interest.

Let’s consider Orange-Jones’ physical address, which she has inconsistently reported.

When viewing Orange-Jones’ most recent campaign finance filings (dated February and July 2019 and going back to 2016), one sees that Orange-Jones reports the same Laurel Street address from 2016 and right up to April 05, 2019, with the latest usage of the Laurel Street address being on a filing dated April 15, 2019.

Then, for the most recent campaign finance report as of this writing, covering April 06, 2019 until July 04, 2019, Orange Jones uses a Dauphine Street address (filing date July 15, 2019).

However, on Orange-Jones’ delinquently-filed 2017 annual financial disclosure (filing date August 12, 2019), she reports her address as on Dauphine Street, same as she does on her delinquently-filed 2018 annual financial disclosure (also filed on August 12, 2019).

Note that Orange-Jones signs both the 2017 and 2018 annual reports as follows: “I do hereby certify that the information contained in this personal financial disclosure statement is true and correct to the best of my knowledge, information, and belief.”

So, either she is lying on her campaign finance reports or on her annual ethics filings. But here is what it looks like to me: Orange Jones just continued to use her Laurel Street address on her campaign filings prior to her securing the Dauphine Street address at some point between April 05, 2019, and July 15, 2019. She may have no longer been living at the Laurel Street address (or, more importantly, any address in her BESE district), but it was convenient for her to just use that address because it was one she had used on previous campaign finance reports. Then, when she retro-filed her 2017 and 2018 annual reports, she already had the Dauphine Street address, so she wrote it down as her 2017/2018 address.

I invite her to provide a better explanation for her residential contradictions.

But there’s more:

By the time that Orange-Jones submitted those delinquent 2017 and 2018 annual reports, she had already used yet another address: Her August 06, 2019, qualifying candidate address is on Philip Street, at a residential property owned by her campaign consultant (See my previous post for documents.)

Let us now turn our attention to some content form Orange-Jones’ delinquent annual disclosures:

On her 2017 and 2018 annual reports, Orange-Jones indicates that she is a board member of Instruction Partners (IP) (originally called D2D), a Tennessee-based nonprofit founded in 2015 by former TFAer Emily Barton Freitag. Freitag did her TFA stint in Louisiana and then became a TFA exec in DC before overseeing curriculum and instriction at the Tennessee Department of Education.

IP is also closely connected to the Common Core State Standards via an organization, Student Achievement Partners (SAP). SAP exec Sandra Alberti is the IP board chair.

By September 01, 2018, IP began advertising a “select mailing list” for Louisiana.

On August 13, 2019 (the day after Orange-Jones’ delinquent filings identifiying her as an IP board member), IP registered a Louisiana office with the Louisiana Secretary of State at an address that is apparenly still being used by the Ward Law Firm and the Landmark Title Group, both of which are connected to attorneys Ron and Alycia Ward. (Aside: That filing has Orange-Jones as living on Laurel Street.)

In a potential conflict of interest for BESE board member Orange-Jones, IP is listed as a 2018-19 PD vendor for the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE).

Has Orange-Jones recused herself from BESE business related to IP? Orange-Jones did not publicly disclose her relationship to IP until after LDOE already advertised IP as a PD vendor. The whole point of timely ethics filings is to keep the public apprised via openly acknowledging information/relationships that could be problematic.

Kira Orange-Jones:

Sloppy at best. Deceptive at worst.

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Kira Orange-Jones

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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?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

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8 Comments
  1. ALICIA PLUMMER permalink

    I LOVE YOUR WORK!!!

  2. Emily permalink

    This is really pathetic and petty reporting. What children or educators were/ are hurt?!

    Do better than this smear campaign mess.

    • Linda permalink

      Emily thinks democracy is petty?
      Emily thinks billionaires buying elections causes no harm?
      Emily thinks that it’s not hypocritical for elected education officials to complain about student absences while simultaneously having excessive absences of their own?
      I don’t like Emily. She’s like Trump and, her thinking enables the Koch/Gates oligarchy.

  3. Patricia Kinsella permalink

    Emily, every child and every educator in Louisiana is hurt when people in government act as though they were above the law.

    As Mercedes has clearly documented, Ms. Orange-Jones chose repeatedly not to file required ethics documents on time. In doing so, she chose to deny constituents their right to important information.

    When information on ethics forms is contradictory, constituents deserve explanations.

    If you disagree with Mercedes’s investigative reporting, tell us why. Using words like “pathetic” and “petty” without backing them up is a type of… smear campaign mess.

  4. Linda permalink

    Thanks for staying on the case, Mercedes.

  5. Linda permalink

    On the radar –
    First, the new research of Prof. Wetts and Weller which identifies the important political group, “liberals high in racial resentment”. The follow-up research should focus on possible correlations between the group and policies like privatization.
    Secondly, the Koch-linked Manhattan Institute which described in July 2018 the advantage to Catholic school enrollment from a city’s school privatization (Max Eden- “Catholic Schools….”). The same summer, the Superintendent of Los Angeles’ Catholic schools was awarded a Fellowship at the Gates-funded Pahara Institute.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Lawsuit filed to block TFA executive director, absentee BESE member Kira Orange Jones from seeking third term on board | Louisiana Voice

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