Friday, May 23, 2014

Effective Testimony Against SB 636

Dr Patrice Pujol, president of the Louisiana Superintendents' Association makes the case against SB 636. Just watch this short video of the testimony in the House Education Committee by Superintendent Pujol. It explains very eloquently why SB 636 is a very bad idea. It is time to restore sanity to education reform in Louisiana. Thank you to Noel Hammatt for capturing this important video and making it available.

Just like teacher merit pay, total site based management makes no sense in today's complex world. This concept is not used in industry and it is not used effectively in education. What works in education just as in modern industry is a team approach to management where expertize in budgeting, purchasing and logistics is used by the central management office and maximum flexibility is given to the on-site manager.

The school management procedure required by this legislation is impractical and outdated. Lets listen to our professional educators like Superintendent Pujol for a change and restore sanity to education reform.

Please contact your state representative now and ask him/her to vote "NO" on SB 636.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Please Oppose SB 636

Senate bill 636 by Senators Bodi White and Dan Claitor is really just an ideologically driven attempt by a few individuals of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce to once again reorganize the East Baton Rouge school system. (Click here to see the full text of the bill) These individuals who have no experience or knowledge of educational practice believe that we can just try one crazy idea after another to transform schools that serve high needs, high risk students and that we will eventually hit upon a miracle solution that will work. All without ever addressing the real factors that inhibit school success.

These same Chamber bosses were fully supportive of a takeover by the state of a number of low performing schools in the Baton Rouge area over 5 years ago with the goal of transforming them into high performers by turning them over to independent charter operators. Those charter operators supposedly were going to institute site based management and focus all efforts on high student achievement. The principals of those schools were paid relatively high salaries and were supposedly given maximum authority over hiring teachers and staff and focusing the budget most efficiently for student success. Well, the results of this experiment are now in and it is clear that all of the schools taken over by the state and converted to charters have failed miserably  except for one middle school which is now under investigation by the FBI for unspecified allegations. These schools failed so spectacularly that the state has taken them over again and proposes to hand them to new charter operators. Amazingly, two of the schools had deteriorated both physically and academically, to the point that the state decided to give them back to their original school boards because no charters would take them! Clearly, site based management was expected to be the primary philosophy that would magically cure these schools. But it did not work.

So now in direct contradiction of Einstein's definition of insanity, the whole EBR school system would be forced by legislative command to adopt site based management. That's what SB 636 would do to a system that has gradually pulled itself from an F rating to a C rating based on the state system of accountability. The constitutionality of this bill is highly questionable and the only way to fix that would be to apply this failed philosophy to all public school systems in the state. That's why this bill should be of concern to all educators around the state.

The principals of the EBR school system have overwhelmingly objected to this scheme because they know that one human being cannot conduct all the state mandated teacher evaluations and serve as a true educational leader and at the same time manage a complex logistical system that operates much more effectively using central office expertize and economies of scale. That would be the logical, sane way of operating this large system or even most of our smaller school systems. The Chamber refuses to recognize that the EBR system has convincingly outperformed the site based management of the charter schools.

SB 636 with the full support of the meddling big business community has passed the full Senate and the House Education Committee and only needs approval by the full House to go to the governor's desk. Please telephone or email your House member today and ask that he/she oppose this extremely illogical and discredited legislation.