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 magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Google vs. Amazon in drone race; more deaths in Syria; Russia escalates Ukraine conflict and more national and international news for Friday, August 29, 2014.
High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
An abortion rights organization wants a federal judge to block enforcement of Louisiana's new abortion law while its lawsuit to overturn the law makes its way through court.
Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
The attention surrounding Victor White III has spiked with the release of last week’s autopsy report, which has raised a number of serious questions about the night of his death and has put the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office under an increased wave of scrutiny as more national media outlets are jumping on the story, most recently seen on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Authorities are investigating a report that a student there warned the principal of impending violence similar to that depicted in the movie "The Purge."
Saints cornerback Champ Bailey has played for more than a handful of playoff teams during a career that has seen him selected to 12 Pro Bowls.
Police say a 56-year-old Lafayette man walking behind a dump truck died when the truck hit him as it was backing up.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a proud papa of new baby girl.
The books on Louisiana's last budget year have been closed, but it took a bit of borrowing from this year to make the numbers work.
The Iberia Parish Coroner responded Monday to the attention surrounding the questionable shooting of Victor White III, a black man from New Iberia who died April 2 while in the custody of local law enforcement.
Two months after lawmakers agreed to create a $40 million higher education incentive fund, no decisions have been made about how to divide the money.
With Drew Brees back healthy, the New Orleans Saints are free to work on the little things that can make the difference between a Super Bowl run and something less.
Incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and her lead GOP challenger Congressman Bill Cassidy are running close when it comes to money. Landrieu has $5.5 million to Cassidy’s $5.6 million in the bank.
With expectations mounting that Gov. Bobby Jindal will soon announce his campaign for president, attention is turning to not only who he will bring along with him but also what will transpire politically back home during the transition.