Friday, April 19, 2019

Charter School Operators in Louisiana Do Not Need High School Degree

Go to the last paragraph of this post to see why the pro-reform news media no longer reports Louisiana's national ranking of school performance

This article explains that according to BESE policy, charter school directors do not even need a high school diploma to operate their schools! This is how high our state education authorities have “raised the bar” for charter school operations. Thankfully our regular school principals are still required to adhere to the “status quo” which requires at least a Master’s degree along with many other qualifications. Maybe that’s why we seldom see state investigations and school closings based on ethical violations by the real public school administrators.

Here’s an interesting related matter: Betsey Dovos, the U.S. Secretary of Education, considers frequent closings of fcharter schools a good thing because it allows their replacement by better charters. The only problem is that there is no evidence that the new schools perform better.

This article describes legislation being considered in California that would limit the use of TFA teachers with only 5 weeks of training who end up in the schools with the most "at-risk" students. In Louisiana, routinely using uncertified teachers and unqualified operators is how we address the needs of our most at risk students.

Here's another example of Louisiana "raising the bar". I testified before the Senate education committee on Thursday, April 17 in favor of SB 128, which would have allowed local school systems, based on a vote of their citizens, to set their own standards and testing for the purposes of accountability. My testimony included the fact that our state standards for a passing grade on state LEAP tests average 30% correct answers for a passing score. I also pointed out that it takes only 14.7% correct answers to pass the BESE mandated Algebra I End of Course test. Even with these "high standards" about one-third of Louisiana students fail their state tests and are promoted anyway. How could any local school system setting their own standards possibly do worse?

The Advocate reporter, Will Sentell,  was in attendance at the hearing on SB 128 but chose not to report anything about the bill or the testimony. This is how our pro eduction reform news media at The Advocate, in cahoots with big business lobbyists representing LABI and CABLE,  avoid telling the public the truth about our true state standards. They just never report the failures of education reform under John White. The Advocate (before White) used to love to report about Louisiana's low ranking on national tests. This time Sentell neglected to report that Senator Milkovich cited the fact that after 6 years of the new Common Core based standards, Louisiana is now tied for last place in the rankings of the states on the NAEP test. Our lowest ranking ever!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Local School Systems Should be Able to Choose their own Academic Content Standards and Tests

This bill, by Senator Milkovich which will be debated in the Senate Education Committee this week, would allow each school system to opt out of the state content standards and accountability tests and to choose their own set of content standards for the students in their district. The process would allow the parents of each school district, when a petition is signed by at least 10% of the voters to hold an election to choose the academic standards and tests that would apply to their students.

Senate Bill 128 will be heard at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, April 17 in the Hainkel committee room. Any interested citizen is allowed to attend and comment on the legislation.

The present Louisiana content standards and state LEAP and End of Course tests are based primarily on the Common Core standards. These standards were never tested by using field trials or any other means before they were adopted by BESE. The Common Core standards were a set of academic mandates for ELA and math for each grade that were arbitrarily written by a set of self appointed academic elites mostly representing testing companies and other college related persons. A huge campaign financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and the Federal government got many states such as Louisiana to adopt the standards and their accompanying tests sight unseen.

The Common Core standards are not appropriate for our students and have resulted in a decline in academic achievement and readiness of our students for life and careers. Louisiana has now dropped to its lowest achievement ranking ever compared to other states.

Please read the following posts, here, here, and here, on the Louisiana Educator blog that give you all the data you need to determine that the common core standards are not appropriate or effective as the best curriculum for our students. You will also see how state education officials have watered down promotion standards and basically abandoned all academic requirements in an effort to justify the use of these ineffective standards and tests.

Please consider attending this hearing and voice your support for Senate Bill 128!