The exit of N.P. Moss Middle school from state sanctions should not be passed over so lightly. For a school with a 90 percent poverty rate to increase its scores by five points in one year is extraordinary.
Although the state didn't use Iowa scores this year in calculating School Performance Scores, or SPS, it isn't accurate to imply that some students weren't tested, or that their scores weren't counted. All students were tested, and all their test scores were used in calculating this year's SPS. The test changed ' as was required by No Child Left Behind, a federal law.
The problem of struggling readers is not "passed through." Every child from grades 3 through 10 is tested on reading, and all of those scores are used to calculate the schools' SPS. Like almost every other school district in the United States, we have a large number of struggling readers at the middle school level. This issue is something our district continues to address, using research-based reading strategies ' even though some board members do not support those efforts.
Regarding a continuing attempt to compare this year's scores to last year's scores, I will say this: As state accountability officials told board members at a board workshop last month, this year's SPS cannot be compared to that of previous years, because the accountability system has changed. State officials in charge of the system made it crystal clear to everyone who was listening that NCLB mandated changes prevent comparison of this year's scores to the scores of any previous year.
The calculations and accusations in the commentary are not based on reality. Actually, 17 schools met or exceeded the state-mandated growth target, not six. That is according to the summary sent to us by state officials.
Also, Lafayette's scores have not dropped every year since 2001. Lafayette's ranking has dropped as other districts have grown at a faster rate than Lafayette, and more districts have been created.
I'd also like to address the attack on the children and families who came here after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. First, the state recognized the impact these children could have on our scores and came up with a new policy to address major disasters. It's not an excuse, it is reality.
Regarding our decision to place these children in the schools closest to their new homes, firstly this decision is governed by federal law, which sets out the definition of "homeless" and creates strict requirements as to how those children are handled. Secondly, when these families arrived in Lafayette seeking shelter, help and normalcy, we made decisions based on humanitarian reasons. Frankly, the last thing on my mind at that time was how these children might impact our scores. These families were in crisis, and we did the best we could to help them.
There was a comparison made to Acadia Parish Schools. The parents, students and staff of that parish should be proud of their accomplishments, and I don't mean to belittle them. In fact, I have high regard for Superintendent Johnny Bourque. But let me point out that 61 percent of Lafayette's schools showed growth. And let's look at some other facts: 23 percent of Acadia's schools are 3-star schools, compared to 37 percent of Lafayette's schools; 35 percent of Acadia's schools are two-star schools, compared to 42 percent of Lafayette's schools. And, 31 percent of Acadia's schools are 1-star schools, compared to only 21 percent of Lafayette's schools. Neither district has any four star schools, nor any academically unacceptable schools.
Finally, I have no problem being held accountable for the hard work of our boys and girls, their parents and our teachers. I expect more from all of them, but I also am proud of what they have accomplished so far. I believe that supporting their work and keeping high expectations will have positive results. On the other hand, I do not believe that constantly focusing on the negative, or fabricating the negative, will help any child learn to read.
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.