All that Tom Aswell and I were seeking is information that allows us to conduct independent investigations of some of the data and information that is generated by the DOE in conducting our public business. In particular, I wanted to examine data on the new teacher evaluation system and get a better idea how some teachers get rated ineffective and some teachers get exempted when their VAM ratings are considered invalid for various reasons. I also wanted to conduct independent studies on the graduation rates in the two Louisiana Recovery Districts. The problem is that much of the statistical information that in the past was available to the public and to independent researchers is no longer being made available by John White. Many independent researchers have reason to believe that important data is being manipulated for political rather than proper educational purposes.
But even with the LDOE's high priced attorneys and public relations gatekeepers who vigilantly attempt to withhold public information from the public, the Louisiana Courts have not been willing to allow John White and his department to avoid public scrutiny into the workings of our Department of Education. Because of our courts which are not controlled by Jindal and White, the Department of Education is not yet an independent fiefdom within which John White can totally control public education and reorganize it to meet his personal ideological and political goals without public scrutiny.
Many of us who are interested in the welfare of public education and of the education profession are appalled at some of the disturbing consequences of the Jindal and White "deforms" of public education. A perfect example of such deform policies is the chaos now being caused in the East Baton Rouge Parish School system. If you are interested in the future of public education, you owe it to yourself to read this post in The Crazy Crawfish blog.
The EBR public school system is under siege by the LDOE because of their attempts to take over much of the school system. As a result, I believe local administrators have resorted to an unwritten policy of forcing educators to promote and attempt to graduate any and all students regardless of actual achievement. This is leading to appalling negative consequences for students and teachers.
According to the excellent investigative report by Jason France of the Crazy Crawfish blog, teachers in some schools are being bullied into ignoring serious classroom discipline problems, and into promoting some non-performing students to make their schools look good on paper. Teachers are often being required to tolerate disrespectful, aggressive and even dangerous behavior by some of the most disruptive students because the central office wants all students to pass no matter what. These schools instead are deteriorating on the inside because of destruction of discipline and respect for the authority and academic freedom of teachers. In some schools, teachers know that their job depends not so much on their success in teaching but on simply finding a way to promote almost all students. The new evaluation and teacher dismissal policies rammed through the legislature by Jindal make it extremely easy to fire teachers who do not produce the results demanded by upper management. The morale of teachers is systematically being destroyed in some schools, and many of the best teachers are looking for a way to retire or resign early.