Democrat John Bel Edwards said Sunday night that, if he is elected governor, he would oppose state Superintendent of Education John White remaining in his post.
“I have no intention of allowing John White, who isn’t qualified to be a middle school principal, to remain as superintendent when I am governor,” Edwards said in a prepared statement.
“We have so many highly qualified candidates right here in Louisiana that we don’t need to go looking in New York City for our next head of K-12 education,” he said.
Edwards, a state representative from Amite, is the lone Democrat running for governor.
Republicans David Vitter, Jay Dardenne and Scott Angelle also hope to succeed Gov. Bobby Jindal, who cannot serve a third consecutive term.
White said last week that he hopes to keep his job after a new governor and state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education take office in January.
BESE is in charge of naming superintendents, and eight of 11 members have to agree on a candidate.
The governor names three members to the board.
Eight others are elected, and all of those posts will be on the Oct. 24 primary ballot.
White has held the job for 31/2 years.
He was pushed for the job by Jindal.
In his prepared statement, Edwards said White’s tenure “has been fraught with controversy and accusations of wrongdoing.”
He said emails have shown “political motives” behind the superintendent’s support for a 2012 state law that expanded vouchers statewide.
Edwards also said some schools approved to accept voucher students during White’s time as superintendent “were shown to lack a requisite number of teachers, lunch rooms, and other resources common to any proper school.”
White said last week that he has not discussed his future with any of the candidates running for governor.
In a written response to Edwards’ comments, White said, “Politics doesn’t belong in the classroom. High school graduation, ACT scores, AP scores and kids going to college are all increasing. What’s important is that we continue that progress, no matter who is governor or who serves on BESE.”
White was superintendent of the Recovery School District before he became state superintendent of education.
Before that, he was deputy chancellor of the New York City Department of Education.
Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell. For more coverage of Louisiana government and politics, follow our Politics blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog.