Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Lawsuit Aims to Vacate the Position of State Superintendent of Education

Ganey Arsement is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit to be filed today to have the courts declare the position of Superintendent of Education vacant subject to appointment by BESE and the Louisiana Senate.

The legal counsel for this lawsuit is State Senator John Milkovitch. Thank you Senator!

Here is the Educate Louisiana post about this lawsuit. Arsement deserves great credit for researching the Louisiana Constitution and state law that govern the appointment of various state offices including the Superintendent of Education.

The following is my fact sheet based upon research of the actual results of White's administration and leadership of K-12 education in Louisiana. In addition to his failure to produce real results, White has engineered a demolition of the healthy teaching and learning environment in our classrooms and converted it into a mind-numbing exercise in constant testing and test-prep. Many of our most dedicated and effective teachers have been driven from the profession, and many others have lost their love of teaching as this testing mania grows each year!

Louisiana School Superintendent John White’s
Performance Record

Should John White be reappointed as State Superintendent of Education?

Qualifications? John White was appointed state superintendent of schools in January 2012 with the backing of Governor Jindal requiring a special waiver of the credentials required by state law.  Some have suggested that only results matter. White was appointed with the understanding that he would lead Louisiana education to produce greatly improved results. The following are measures of White’s effectiveness in improving K-12 student performance in Louisiana.

Louisiana K-12 education performance compared to other states: In the most recent ranking of Louisiana students by the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) tests, Louisiana tied with Alabama and California for 48th compared to the 50 states and D.C.

The Quality Counts ranking by Education Week is a more comprehensive ranking of the states on major elements of K-12 educational achievement.  In the December 2016 ranking, Louisiana placed 49th among the states and the District of Columbia in K-12 achievement. This is the lowest ranking Louisiana has ever registered on this report.

Education Standards: State law and BESE policy require that students demonstrate satisfactory knowledge of state standards in order to be promoted to the next grade. Under the direction of White, the actual standards for English and math performance have been lowered to an average of 32% correct answers on state math and English tests for grades 3 though 8. The present passing scores for high school end of course tests for Geometry, Algebra, and English II have been reduced to 32%, 36%, and 36% respectively.

ACT and Graduation Rate: Average ACT scores for Louisiana students are presently only 19.5 for a carefully manipulated cohort that includes the best score of only graduating students. Even so, Louisiana ranks in the bottom third of states that mandate the ACT for all students. The Louisiana graduation rate has been artificially inflated by the lowering of end of course cut scores and by credit recovery courses that allow students to be taught minimum test material while ignoring attendance requirements and all other BESE passing standards.

State Recovery District: State law requires that the State Department of Education take over failing schools for the purpose of upgrading their performance to satisfactory levels. Of the local schools taken over by the state, only a small fraction have received a satisfactory rating after up to 12 years of state operation. Almost all schools taken over in East Baton Rouge, Pointe Coupee, St Helena and Caddo are still considered failing. Several have been returned to local school systems after crippling losses of student enrollment and almost total collapse of school operations. Many RSD schools have been cited for corruption and other violations such as cheating on state tests. Other schools operated permanently by the state Department of Education, such as the School for the Deaf and the School for visually impaired are repeatedly rated F.

Transparency of Education Records: John White, as custodian of public records has been successfully sued numerous times for unlawfully withholding public records. This unlawful behavior has cost the state many thousands of dollars in court costs, legal fees and penalties. At present, the superintendent is using state attorneys to appeal more than $29,000 in personal penalties assessed to him because of public records violations.

You be the judge. Does Louisiana need more of John White?