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!
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
The former star of Saturday Night Live throws in his 2 cents on the Big Oil lawsuit.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, March 10, 2014:
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.