Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Privatizing counseling services?

Jindal & White want to empower local school boards to privatize counseling services and library services. The changes in Bulletin 741 proposed by White would have made professional counselors and librarians optional for local school systems and will eliminate the need for public schools to be accredited by outside accrediting agencies such as the Southern Association for School Accreditation. It would seem that these two issues are not related but I think they are. You see, accrediting agencies require that high schools have properly certified counselors, and all schools have libraries, and that all teachers be certified in their teaching areas. But the reform thrust by Jindal and White makes all of these requirements unnecessary! The only objectives for schools are that students pass the state testing and that the graduation rate increases. You don't need certified teachers, guidance counselors, or librarians. (for that matter you don't need real physical education. No matter that we are graduating kids that are 200 lbs overweight and are unemployable because of health risks) All a "good" school in Louisiana now needs are proven "test teachers". This is where public education in Louisiana is headed.

White is also removing the requirement that students attend class regularly in order to get a Carnegie unit of credit. With the change proposed to Bulletin 741, students who have not attended class can just pass a locally prepared test if the course is not one that requires end of course testing. Or the course provider can simply confirm that the student has completed a portfolio of course requirements. I believe this change is being put in for the benefit of the new private course choice providers whose students may not attend regularly but who need an easy alternate criteria for getting paid with our tax dollars.

BESE member Lottie Beebie along with Carolyn Hill who opposed the proposals said "It looks like the public school system has been given a lethal injection and is expected to die."

I testified at BESE this week that this new criteria for awarding Carnegie credit will also have the unintended consequence of putting tremendous pressure on teachers to award passing grades to truant and irresponsible students. That's because huge pressure is being placed on all schools to increase their graduation rates. So now many schools will become diploma mills.

The news reports about the alarming increase in teacher retirements recently put the blame mostly on the new teacher evaluation system, but I think another major cause of early retirements is that true professional educators are appalled at being required to be nothing but test teachers and hired hands in these phony school reforms!


Herb Bassett said...

So true about the pressure to issue diplomas. Under the new School Assessment System rules, making an A will be harder because the points awarded for high EOC scores have gone down. Furthermore, the tests will count less toward the final score. But merely achieving an 84% graduation rate will now guarantee that a high school will receive at least a D letter grade even if the performance on the tests is abysmal.

Anonymous said...

The sooner jindal is gone, the better our education system will be. Fortunately for me, my 2 daughters have already graduated. But I worry about the kids in my neighborhood. Who will care about them? I used to tutor, was a room mother, PTA officer. I liked supporting my kids' schools. But I can't do that anymore because of a disability. And the teachers helped my children, too.

Michael Deshotels said...

Anonymous providing comment # 3 must have a very good knowledge of what counselors in our schools are required to do. It's overwhelming! Do you think that White and his leadership team composed of so many TFA whiz kids have any idea what most educators really do? That's why it's so easy for them to make improved test scores the only goal of education.