Friday, May 12, 2017

Accountability Gone Berserk

Penalties for public schools failing to prepare students for college!
Berserk Accountability. That's the only way I can describe what happened in the Senate Education committee on May 11th. The committee meeting began with the defeat of two bills by Senator Morrish (SB 13 and SB 87) that would have removed favored treatment of voucher schools and profit-making non-profit charter schools. I want to thank Senator Morrish for attempting to reduce the abuses of vouchers and charter funding. The big business lobbyists representing LABI and CABL want the favored treatment to continue. But then the committee turned to blaming public schools for students who fail to prepare for college!

New legislation would allow school boards to be assessed the cost of college level remediation courses. The school accountability movement is being driven to absurd levels as some senators seek to assess damages to public schools when some of their students need remedial courses to attend college. Those senators are apparently forgetting that education requires the cooperation of parents and students in the education process. They are attempting to hold teachers and schools totally responsible for preparing students for college, even when parents and students refuse to do their part. Society does not hold doctors responsible if patients refuse to take their prescribed medicine or if diabetes and cardiac patients refuse to correct unhealthy lifestyles, but some policy makers want the public school systems to be responsible for forcing knowledge upon uncooperative students or pay for remediation at the college level.

Most Louisiana colleges have abandoned funding remediation courses because they don't work for most students. Students who failed to be responsible in high school usually fail to be responsible in college. But that's not stopping some legislators finding an innovative way of funding these remedial courses.

SB 82 by Appel: Senate Bill 82 began as a seemingly routine bill to specify testing requirements, but then amendments were made by the author to do something totally different. As amended in the Senate Education committee, this bill would require public school boards to pay some college remediation costs for certain students who scored below college readiness levels on the ACT for English and mathematics. LAE representatives and school board representatives testified in committee that such a requirement sets up an unbalanced application of accountability to hold the schools totally responsible for the negligence of some parents who don’t send their children regularly to school and some students who don’t apply themselves to their studies. 

Important Update: SB 82 was killed in the Senate Finance Committee! This time reason has prevailed.

The bill ignores the fact that any student regardless of ability can enroll in college prep programs and then fail to study, or find that he/she is not able to master the material. The school should not be held responsible for students' lack of ability or motivation.  I will be asking my readers to help in defeating this bill when it comes to a vote on the Senate floor. We cannot allow fanatic and unfair application of skewed accountability to be put into Louisiana law.


Jeremy said...

Mr. Mike, I'm about a week and a half shy of finishing up my 18th year in the classroom and I have never been more disheartened by what I see. We have children who don't care because we have parents that don't care, yet we must at fault, right? How many years of education experience do any of these senators have? If they know so much about teaching and testing, why aren't they in a school instead of making up ridiculous new laws? I have no idea how I'm going to make it to full retirement at this rate. The pace at which things continue to devolve seems to be increasing.

Anonymous said...

When does John White go before the Senate for confirmation as LDOE Superintendent? How can we go about getting BESE to open applications for a new LA Superintendent of Education?

Michael Deshotels said...

To Anomymous:
The excellent research by Ganey Arsement on the Louisiana constitution and state law described in the latest post on his blog Educate Louisiana would set the final date that White can serve to be JUNE 8 of this year. It is not clear however how or when the appointment will be handled by the Louisiana Senate. I spoke personally to Noble Ellington about 10 days ago and he affirmed that his amendment to the law setting the final date as June 8, was meant to include the state superintendent.