Tuesday, August 6, 2013

College Prep and Jail Prep

The amateurs who run our State Department of Education have succeeded in shortchanging both our students and our Louisiana employers. John White just added a requirement that all students take the ACT and that the average scores of the students at each school count for 25% of the school letter grade. For the last four years (yes this was started by Pastorek) our DOE has done everything possible to encourage all students to take a college prep curriculum at the expense of the career and technical programs. Those career and technical programs have been dying in our high schools because the schools are penalized by the school grading system for any students who are not in college prep. Now White has made things worse with the ACT requirement.

But White has been informed by the LA Workforce Commission and the business community that Louisiana is facing a serious shortage of skilled vocational and technical workers. Almost none of our high school graduates are trained in the construction trades at the same time that it is predicted that Louisiana may soon see one of the largest construction booms in our history. Construction firms are already having to import welders from Taiwan. Most new homes in Louisiana are being built by Hispanic immigrants and those on temporary visas. Thousands of Louisiana's recent graduates are standing in the unemployment lines because they are not qualified for the new jobs being created. Amateur White thinks that this can all be corrected by just announcing that he wants more kids trained in the career and technical fields. It does not occur to him that stupid policies yield stupid results and that "Louisiana Believes" he is the problem.

The kids being graduated by the New Orleans Recovery District were told by their charter school administrators that they would be prepared to attend Harvard and Yale. But now they are graduating with ACT scores that don't even qualify them to attend our state colleges. Their pass rate on advanced placement courses is an embarrassing 5.9%. None of these students have been prepared for real jobs. Many will end up in the prison system when they get caught for selling drugs or petty burglaries. That's the legacy that Pastorek and White have produced. I call it college prep and jail prep.


Anonymous said...

Yeah...the legacy of Jindal's ed reforms...we just THOUGHT we had it bad before. At least we used to be ranked 48th...give these reforms a little more time, and we may find ourselves ranked lower...even if we have a slight uptick before the crash! You can't improve the future of public education by destroying the people willing to devote their lives to it.

Anonymous said...

Jindal and White are undertakers. They will not let up or be satisfied until the corpse of public education is on their embalming table. And yes ...Evidently the BESE board is just waiting to serve as pallbearers. When will enough be enough? How can John White mandate that ALL students take the ACT which is a college level entry test, when a greater percentage of students who graduate high school will never attend college? It seems to me that the ACT scores considered as 25% of school performance score is a means of giving education a sure dose of Cyanide. White and Jindal need to be ran out of our state (Roemer too). Only when they are gone, will public education have a chance.

James Finney said...

Did they really switch from using only the scores above 18 to instead using the average? I missed that press release.

Michael Deshotels said...

James you are right, but my understanding is that they use an average of scores with any score below 18 set at zero.