Several years ago reformers chose to portray a large number of our schools as failures so that there would be an excuse for "reforms" such as school privatization and reductions in teacher job protections. Now that the reformer policies have been in effect for a number of years, the testing data is being manipulated to demonstrate "improvement". But such alleged "improvement" is not supported by the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests (NAEP). These test results show that since 2005, Louisiana students have achieved only small improvements in national test results, and have actually lost ground compared to all other states in three out of the 4 categories tested.
Test based accountability in Louisiana has failed to make any significant improvement in student performance. At the same time our students' futures have become more limited because of the increasing emphasis on college prep for-all, at the expense of vocational prep opportunities.
The scapegoating of teachers for low student performance that has been an inherent part of the reforms has demoralized and de-professionalized the teaching profession in Louisiana. Many highly respected teachers have retired early. Meanwhile the natural joy of teaching and learning has been replaced by a constant, dull, non productive, test-prep exercise with no end in sight.
Mr Bassett's analysis
I. The politicization of the accountability system:
III. What does our test history tell us to expect in the future?