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!
Friends and family will celebrate Spider's life in September.
Saints safety Jairus Byrd has rarely been so eager to hit and be hit, if only to reassure himself that his surgically repaired back is as healed as doctors believe.
Jindal privatized nearly all the LSU hospitals without waiting for federal officials to sign off on financing arrangements that rely on millions of federal Medicaid dollars.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and her main Republican challenger, Congressman Bill Cassidy, verbally sparred as they officially signed up on the opening day of qualifying for Louisiana's November election.
Superintendent tells crowd he'd just emerged from a four-hour meeting with the attorney hired to investigate him.
The start of the three-day qualifying period for November’s elections has so far yielded 10 official bids and one new announcement from candidates seeking a seat on the school board.
It’s been just over four months since attorney Barry Domingue committed suicide the morning before he was to stand trial for a second day in the federal Curious Goods case, leaving his fellow attorney/co-defendant Daniel Stanford with a temporary mistrial and awaiting his day in court.
Candidates for Louisiana's Nov. 4 election must officially sign up for the ballot this week.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's effort to derail Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards was halted Tuesday by a state judge who said the governor's actions were harmful to parents, teachers and students.
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram isn't letting a humbling start to his pro career lower his opinion of what he can still accomplish in the NFL.
Phoenix flooding stuns residents; Gaza truce talks collapse, NFL vets defy age label and more national and international news for Wednesday, August 20, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Visualize Lafayette’s next great thing from 3,000 feet.
A Baton Rouge judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday against enforcing a law that prohibits anyone 70 or older from running for justice of the peace or constable.
Gov. Bobby Jindal believes the last-minute passage of a pension hike for his state police superintendent, Col. Mike Edmonson, was improperly handled, according to the governor's office.
As the courts hash out the attempts to preserve and shelve Common Core in Louisiana, a group of six state lawmakers are planning an Aug. 22 trip to Oklahoma to meet with their counterparts and strategize for the 2015 regular session.
While hopes are high for turnout this fall, a new report from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate suggests that Louisiana's midterm face-offs may amount to nothing special in terms of votes cast.
The attorney hired by the Lafayette Parish School Board for a special investigation of Superintendent Pat Cooper has submitted his final report, though it may be another week before the findings are made public.
The Tea Party of Louisiana is calling Sen. David Vitter a “turncoat” for his newfound embrace of Common Core educational standards.
An annual report evaluating Gov. Bobby Jindal's privatization of Medicaid lacked important financial information and presented rosy performance reviews not corroborated by data, according to a review released Monday.
Lafayette attorney Michelle Meaux-Breaux has announced her plans to seek the Division E seat for judge in the 15th Judicial District.
A card-carrying member of Lafayette’s “tribe,” Milton “Spider” Guidry died over the weekend. IND music writer Nick Pittman remembers the character and the man.
As tensions continue to escalate in Ferguson, Mo., between law enforcement and residents protesting the shooting death of a local teen by police, we’re reminded of the peculiar circumstances surrounding the in-custody death earlier this year of a New Iberia man.
A group of teachers and parents who support Common Core is asking a state judge to invalidate Gov. Bobby Jindal's actions against the multi-state education standards.
Drew Brees walked up to the line of scrimmage early Sunday, taking a snap during the New Orleans Saints' pre-practice walk-through.