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!
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.
State education officials are preparing to release performance scores for public schools and public school districts.
Saints coach Sean Payton is starting a new week by emphasizing, repeatedly, the many good things he noticed during New Orleans' latest loss.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Oscar de la Renta dies; Pistorius sentenced; World Series begins and more national and international news for Tuesday, October 21, 2014.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.
Even though it had been rumored for months, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu finally pulled the trigger recently on a major campaign shakeup that moved control over to a few Big Easy insiders.
Louisiana's health department says it will seek law changes to stop billing sexual assault victims for exams and tests.
It wasn’t the historic slashes to higher ed funding or the ensuing tuition spikes that recently had LSU’s student body and faculty riled up in collective outrage.
Will $400 be enough for the re-election campaign of LPSB's Hunter Beasley to overcome two years of holding our school system hostage and hurting the education of our children all because of a personal dislike of the superintendent?
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he expects his playing status in Detroit to be decided by coach Sean Payton on Sunday, shortly before the game.
Lawmakers have sidestepped a decision on whether they accept claims from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration that the state closed last year's books with a nearly $179 million surplus.
Coming off the high of a fourth quarter comeback against Tampa Bay and a helpful bye week, linebacker Junior Galette sees a real turnaround coming for New Orleans' struggling defense.
Former President Bill Clinton, the Democratic Party's most popular surrogate this fall, is heading to Louisiana early next week for a campaign rally with U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Time and again you hear people say DA Mike Harson is unbeatable because he's doled out political favors over the past 20 years. But a new lawsuit could end that speculation.
After the season's signature win (so far), here are some helpful tips for Cajun Nation during the conference stretch.
Did the state close last year's books with a surplus or a deficit?
Practicing without limitations on Wednesday, running back Mark Ingram looked ready to return to a New Orleans offense that once again ranks among the NFL's best when the Saints play at Detroit on Sunday.
It’s been decided: Superintendents of Louisiana’s public school system will retain the controversial powers granted by Act 1 of the 2012 session.
Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy has a bone to pick with the Jindal administration, which recently — surprise! — announced that the state ended the most recent budget year with a $178.5 million dollar surplus.
The messaging battle, however, isn't tied to individual campaign accounts. Third-party groups have poured millions of dollars into advertising.
With her political future in jeopardy, Sen. Mary Landrieu is turning to a natural constituent base in her re-election bid.
Terrance Broadway threw for a touchdown and rushed for 113 yards to lead Louisiana-Lafayette to a 34-10 victory over Texas State on Tuesday night.