**and**

*basic***were lowered significantly over the last 3 years. That’s how John White has been able to pretend that our student performance has remained “steady” even though students are taking harder tests. What would happen to a 7**

*mastery on LEAP and iLEAP*^{th}grade math teacher who set the passing score on his/her final at 38% and still had 27% of the students fail the test? What should Louisiana do with a State Superintendent who claims that student scores are steady when he has really lowered the cut scores on some state tests by 28%? That’s what John White and his staff have done with some of the LEAP/iLEAP test scores over the last 3 years.

*The school performance scores are determined each year much more by the adjusting of the LEAP scores than by actual student learning.*
John White got his training in education reform in New York State
as one of the bright young administrators running the New York City public
school system for Mayor Bloomberg. I believe his job there amounted to finding
buildings to house the new charter schools that were springing up there at the time.
Another thing that was springing up in New York State at that same time were the
student test scores.
Right before John White left New York to take a job running the Recovery
District in Louisiana, the education reform leaders in the Bloomberg
administration including Commissioner of Education for New York city, Joel
Klein, White’s boss, were celebrating their amazing turnaround of the
performance of New York city schools. Joel Klein and his Lieutenants were
hailed nationwide as successful education reformers.

There was only one problem.

**Either the tests were made easier or students needed to answer fewer of the test questions correctly in order to get a passing score. When this “error” was found and corrected it turned out that the students in the New York City public education system were doing just barely above where they were before Mayor Bloomberg and Joel Klein took over. Two years ago, when the students in New York started taking the Common Core aligned tests, the scores plummeted again to produce a failure rate of 69%. This terrible result was hailed as a victory by the new administrators of the New York State system who claimed to be finally telling parents the truth about the lack of preparation of New York students for college and careers. That’s because the new State Chancellor, John King, had just started his term of office and he wanted to show how much his version of school reform were needed.***The standardized test scores had been manipulated by lowering the standards for passing the tests.*
Now let's go back to this year’s LEAP testing results
announced by John White after being on the job for 3 years in Louisiana. The
results of the new Common Core aligned tests were considered a victory by the LDOE in that
the percentage of students passing the new tests had remained "

**despite the fact that the new tests were more rigorous and therefore supposedly harder to pass. But a public records request uncovered the fact that the raw passing scores had been drastically reduced in the last 3 years, and particularly reduced in 2014. How much have the passing scores been “adjusted” you ask?***steady"*
In 5

^{th}, 7^{th}, and 8^{th}grade math the percentage of correct answers needed to pass have been reduced by 25%, 20%, and 28% respectively. The 3^{rd}grade ELA cut score has been reduced by 11.5%. How low is that? For the 2014 LEAP/iLEAP testing, a 7^{th}grade student only needed to get 38% of the math questions correct in order to pass the test, and still 27% of the students failed it. A student in 8^{th}grade only needed to get 41% of the questions right to pass that test, but 35% of those students failed the test. For 3^{rd}grade ELA the students needed to know only 48% of the material to get a passing grade.
So what happened to all those students who still could not
pass the tests with the drastically lowered passing scores? Because John White
and BESE decided students should not be penalized as Louisiana goes through the process of transitioning to the more
difficult Common Core standards, most of the students failing LEAP and iLEAP
have been passed on to the next grade.

Now imagine you are an 8

^{th}grade math teacher this year and 27% of your 2014-2015 class is made up of students who could not score at least 38% on the 7^{th}grade iLEAP. What kind of a challenge are you going to face in getting them to pass the 8^{th}grade LEAP which is supposed to be even more “rigorous” than the one Louisiana gave this last Spring? Since math is a subject where you have to build on previous knowledge, students who failed the test in 7^{th}grade have to first learn the 7^{th}grade material before they are ready to learn the 8^{th}grade material. Yet the teacher is expected to bring those kids up and still keep all the other students from being bored to death. Do you wonder why Louisiana may soon be facing a severe shortage of 8^{th}grade math teachers? Could it be because soon teachers will be rated again on how their students do on the standardized tests?
John White has announced that he wants to move our students
up to the level of mastery instead of just basic. No problem. Would it surprise
you to learn that the cut scores for mastery have been lowered significantly too?

It’s easy to understand how “

**” that John White can make it happen. Just remember that John White got his training in school reform in New York.***Louisiana Believes*
## 2 comments:

You ask, what should we do with him? Indict him. Some funding for schools are based on these scores so his misrepresentation of them would seem to be malfeasance. Parents should be demanding his resignation or for BESE to fire him. Legislators who approved his letter grade system should be calling him up before the education committees for making them look like fools. Teachers should be refusing to administer the phony tests and parents should be refusing to allow their children to take them. The media needs to expose this farce for what it is before their reputation is further destroyed. Cowan Institute should close its doors because their reputation is already shot and they have no excuse for their poor research.

Thanks Lee. But next time don't hold back!

Mike Deshotels

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