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.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday, April 17, 2014:
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.
Now that lawmakers have shot down efforts to cap annual interest rates for payday loans, supporters for stricter regulations of the storefront lenders are rallying behind another strategy.
The Appropriations Committee held public testimony day, letting people talk about what they like or don't like about Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget recommendations for the 2014-15 fiscal year that begins July 1.
Lafayette police are investigating the death of a 21-year-old woman whose body was found early Sunday in a drainage ditch in Girard Park.
Former Grant parish District Attorney Ed Tarpley says he's running for the U.S. House seat currently held by Republican Vance McAllister of Swartz.
Louisiana-Lafayette got strong starting pitching and timely hitting to hold off Arkansas-Little Rock 6-3 in Sun Belt Conference baseball in Lafayette, La.
Chris Williams knows how to pilfer from the public coffers, this time with a back-pay lawsuit filed three years ago against the Lafayette Housing Authority, which netted the former city-parish councilman a cool five figures.
McAllister's office vowed that he intended to stay in office — for now. As for questions about whether he would stand for re-election in November, those were dodged.
The Green Army's Lafayette brigade has announced it will pay a visit Friday morning to Sen. Page Cortez to urge him to vote against Sen. Robert Adley's SB 553, which the group is calling the "Big Oil Bailout Bill of 2014."