Dr. Easton mentioned transportation as a major "challenge." I not only agree, I would remind everyone that the state found questions and allegations serious enough to do its own audit of this area. We still await their findings.
One area not mentioned is facilities. The staff's own estimate of the cost of addressing this crisis makes it the most expensive ' if not the most serious ' issue facing the district, and yet we are still borrowing money to do maintenance with no plan to address the issue as a whole.
However, as we are an educational institution, I hope everyone would agree that academics are still our highest priority. The state issues rankings each year under its accountability program. Lafayette's current rank is 20th. I hope everyone would agree that this is not acceptable. A close analysis of the rankings and scores reveals that there is a huge performance gap between black and white students in Lafayette Parish. Lafayette is 11th in the state in educating its white students. However, only five parishes in the state have a performance gap that exceeded Lafayette's; one was Orleans, and one was Baton Rouge ' not very distinguished company. So how do we plan to address this glaring deficiency and raise Lafayette's ranking in the state? Research can provide the answer.
Professors Alan B. Krueger and Diane M. Whitmore of Princeton presented a paper entitled "Closing the Gap: Promising Approaches to Reducing the Achievement Gap" at a conference co-sponsored by the Brookings Institute and Edison School Inc. They maintained, "â?¦we find that movements in class sizes account for almost all of the narrowing of the black-white test score gap." They go on to assert, "If all students were in a small class [13-17] â?¦ we estimate that the black-white test-score gap would fall by 38 percent in grades K-3, and by 15 percent thereafter."
Internationally recognized expert Dr. Charles Achilles was brought to Lafayette in the fall and stated very clearly, "The only thing that has ever provided scientific-based evidence that it closes this performance gap is the size of the class." He went on to call arguments against lowering class size based on funding a "scare tactic" and pointed to three specific sources of funding (teachers' aides, staff development and federal Title funds) which could be reallocated to achieve appropriate size classes at no additional cost to the district. Achilles also wrote in a paper that he presented to the American Association of School Administrators in San Francisco that, "Class size has produced such a substantial body of research â?¦ that failure to use the information might be considered malpractice." As Achilles pointed out, there are hundreds of such studies all with the same conclusions to consider.
Given these "facts," our staff's recommendations to eliminate teaching positions and raise class sizes for four of the last five fiscal years remain confusing. Similar recommendations are before us yet again this year. It's enough to give one a stroke!
Amid mounting pressure from deep-pocketed business interests, an ordinance that would have phased out a 2 percent rebate merchants in the city and unincorporated Lafayette Parish receive for collecting sales taxes has been pulled.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday, December 12, 2013:
As part of a national undertaking known by industry insiders as the “Butterfly Project,” a rebranded version of The Daily Advertiser is set to launch with Sunday’s edition of the Gannett-owned paper.
Louisiana moved up a slot to 48th in the ranking of healthy states — once again, thank God for Mississippi! — so all this frettin’ about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s refusal to expand Medicaid per Obamacare ... fuggidaboutit! We don’t need Medicaid no more!
The Denham Springs woman who placed Christmas lights in the shape of a butter finger on her roof in a display of anger directed at neighbors has doubled the trouble for the 2013 holiday season.
The 30-second commercial, to run around the state, is the Democratic senator's first TV spot in her bid for re-election to a fourth term.
It's a number that has edged up but falls far short of the thousands who are eligible for subsidized coverage.
A group of mostly higher education leaders will make recommendations to state lawmakers about how to tweak the policies governing tuition rates charged at the state's public colleges.
That would be Congressman John Fleming talking about Sen. David Vitter.
The alleged mastermind behind the bribery scheme that went on for four years under DA Mike Harson’s nose isn’t just schizophrenic, bipolar and recovering from mini strokes; he now says he has cancer.
Louisiana's higher education leaders are trying to work out a financing deal to keep the state's public colleges from running low on state cash to operate their campuses.
With their latest triumph, the Saints left little doubt about how tough they are to beat in the Superdome. Unfortunately, two of their remaining three games are on the road.
For the first time in at least five years, retired teachers, state workers and school system employees could see an increase in their pension checks.
Lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration shared a collective sigh of relief with the news that Louisiana's tax amnesty program brought in the $200 million that they used to help balance this year's budget.
Drew Brees often makes the extraordinary look routine, particularly during night games in the Superdome.
The teams were extended invitations Sunday for the New Year's Day matchup played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If all 44 projects are approved, about $300 million would remain in the fund set up as a down payment to help the Gulf.
Last week, the Saints gave up 429 yards to Seattle, second most in a game this season.
Since Anthony Jennings and Brooks Haack were not expected to contribute until next year at the earliest, it seemed like a sneak peek at hidden Christmas gifts.
Louisiana National Guard personnel seeking benefits for same-sex spouses will have an easier time filing the requests, despite a state refusal to let its workers process the paperwork.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera sees one potential flaw with his team's stellar defensive play so far this season. "Apparently we like to bite on the double moves," Rivera said.
Computer hackers may have gained access to the personal information of thousands of Louisiana residents who use debit cards issued by JPMorgan Chase for three state agencies, authorities said Wednesday.
Jim Purcell, who has been in the job since February 2011, notified the Board of Regents about his decision at its monthly meeting.
Hushed plans for a commercial development along the Louisiana Avenue portion of the Holy Rosary campus put the future of longtime tenant EarthShare Gardens in jeopardy.
If a recent advertisement in The Daily Advertiser is any indication, speculation the local daily will be implementing the “Butterfly Project” could be more of a reality than the Gannett-owned paper’s top execs are willing to admit.