Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Governance of Louisiana Education: What it Now Is and What it Should be

Here's a good analogy for Louisiana Education

Louisiana now operates under the mushroom theory of education..

In this setup, the educators and the students are treated as though they were growing on a mushroom farm.

On that farm,  the boss and his overseers keep em in the dark and feed em manure.

But educators and students are more like sunflowers than mushrooms.  They deserve to be growing on a sunflower farm. On a sunflower farm the crop is given lots of sunlight, water and plant food.

In this environment the sunflowers both large and small, thrive and follow the movement of the life-giving sun every day, until they produce a wonderful crop that can feed humanity in so many ways..

That's what we need in Louisiana. . .  to be treated as though we are living on bright sunny sunflower farm.

Instead we have a Superintendent that withholds vital testing data for the better part of a year but then expects the educators to somehow find a way to prepare students for the next set of tests. That's the mushroom farm treatment.

He tells everyone that the student raw scores are not suitable for showing to the parents and not even to the teachers, and that the scale scores are so much better. Yet a student who makes a raw score of zero on the PARCC test still gets a scale score of 650 out of 850, even though he/she got absolutely nothing right, and that score is supposed to be so much more helpful to parents and teachers. It's kind of like sugarcoating a terrible bitter pill, but that's the mushroom farm treatment.

The district superintendents are told that they must come, hat in hand, and beg for their raw scores so that schools can prepare kids for the next tests. But the raw scores they get come without the critically important report of what questions and what standards the students got wrong. That's the mushroom farm treatment.

The superintendents have an advisory council meeting that is designed to give the governing board real feedback from the field. But when they have serious concerns they want to express they are told that they can't discuss or ask about anything that is not on the prepared agenda. That's the mushroom farm treatment.

Principals are told that from this year on, they must improve their school performance score every year, or they will get a bad evaluation, but they have absolutely no knowledge of how the scores are going to be manipulated by the boss every year. Will the manipulation go against them this year or next year? That's the mushroom farm treatment.

Teachers are told that experience in teaching no longer matters and most teacher step increases are canceled so that the districts can implement a state mandated merit pay system for which the state will provide not one penny. That's the mushroom farm treatment.

I could go on and on, but you out there in the field could tell it much better than I could.

I bet you could also describe how to change the setting to a sunflower farm, but that would take new management wouldn't it?
Please do your part to flip BESE!


Anonymous said...

I read EVERY post you put up...just can't find any comment to give that better describes what I would want to say than what you've already posted. :)

Michael Deshotels said...

Thanks anonymous! Please help spread the word that "Louisiana Can Handle the Truth" about John White, PARCC, CCSS and test socre manipulation to make the educatos dance to the tune of a phony musician.