Try as you might, theres no separating politics from education especially in Louisiana.
Governors have been known to heavily influence the selection of education leaders at all levels and in several cases, governors personally told boards who to hire.
After all, the governor does have the authority to appoint members of the boards of supervisors that govern college campuses and theyre not likely to appoint someone who wont do their bidding.
Board members serve six-year staggered terms, so some of a previous governors appointees will still be hanging around for a while after a new governor takes office.
But even that doesnt guarantee total loyalty, especially if a governors policies are viewed as harmful to higher education. Board members and system heads have been known to stick to their commitment to defend universities over politics.
For some, that led to dismissal.
In the last election of members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, Gov. Bobby Jindal did not hide his political maneuvering to elect a board that would follow his guidance and hire the superintendent of education he wanted. He even recorded messages for automated phone calls endorsing candidates he favored.
It didnt work in one BESE district and one district in which he didnt endorse a candidate elected a member who also bucks him. But his personal selections and three direct appointees to the board overwhelm any opposition.
And then theres control of college tuition.
The Legislatures firm grasp on how much tuition can be assessed on campuses, requiring a two-thirds vote, came about almost accidentally.
Several years ago some lawmakers were upset with state agencies randomly increasing fees. They viewed them as tax increases, which require a two-thirds vote, so they proposed a constitutional amendment to lump fees into the same category as taxes. A public tired of the fee hikes approved the proposal.