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 Louisiana Supreme Court has punted on its first chance to decide whether a new state constitutional provision declaring gun possession a fundamental right could void a long list of criminal statutes that regulate firearms.
New Orleans' offense, which ranks sixth in the NFL, isn't helping many of its skill players pile up Pro Bowl-type stats. Rather, the approach of coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees has enabled a wide range of play-makers to emerge periodically with high-production outings.
An ordinance phasing out a rebate businesses receive for collecting and remitting sales taxes is tabled, but it doesn’t solve the vexing issue of government revenue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday, December 12, 2013:
As part of a national undertaking known by industry insiders as the “Butterfly Project,” a rebranded version of The Daily Advertiser is set to launch with Sunday’s edition of the Gannett-owned paper.
Louisiana moved up a slot to 48th in the ranking of healthy states — once again, thank God for Mississippi! — so all this frettin’ about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s refusal to expand Medicaid per Obamacare ... fuggidaboutit! We don’t need Medicaid no more!
The Denham Springs woman who placed Christmas lights in the shape of a butter finger on her roof in a display of anger directed at neighbors has doubled the trouble for the 2013 holiday season.
The 30-second commercial, to run around the state, is the Democratic senator's first TV spot in her bid for re-election to a fourth term.
It's a number that has edged up but falls far short of the thousands who are eligible for subsidized coverage.
A group of mostly higher education leaders will make recommendations to state lawmakers about how to tweak the policies governing tuition rates charged at the state's public colleges.
That would be Congressman John Fleming talking about Sen. David Vitter.
The alleged mastermind behind the bribery scheme that went on for four years under DA Mike Harson’s nose isn’t just schizophrenic, bipolar and recovering from mini strokes; he now says he has cancer.
Louisiana's higher education leaders are trying to work out a financing deal to keep the state's public colleges from running low on state cash to operate their campuses.
With their latest triumph, the Saints left little doubt about how tough they are to beat in the Superdome. Unfortunately, two of their remaining three games are on the road.
For the first time in at least five years, retired teachers, state workers and school system employees could see an increase in their pension checks.
Lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration shared a collective sigh of relief with the news that Louisiana's tax amnesty program brought in the $200 million that they used to help balance this year's budget.
Drew Brees often makes the extraordinary look routine, particularly during night games in the Superdome.
The teams were extended invitations Sunday for the New Year's Day matchup played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If all 44 projects are approved, about $300 million would remain in the fund set up as a down payment to help the Gulf.
Last week, the Saints gave up 429 yards to Seattle, second most in a game this season.
Since Anthony Jennings and Brooks Haack were not expected to contribute until next year at the earliest, it seemed like a sneak peek at hidden Christmas gifts.
Louisiana National Guard personnel seeking benefits for same-sex spouses will have an easier time filing the requests, despite a state refusal to let its workers process the paperwork.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera sees one potential flaw with his team's stellar defensive play so far this season. "Apparently we like to bite on the double moves," Rivera said.
Computer hackers may have gained access to the personal information of thousands of Louisiana residents who use debit cards issued by JPMorgan Chase for three state agencies, authorities said Wednesday.
Jim Purcell, who has been in the job since February 2011, notified the Board of Regents about his decision at its monthly meeting.