"I think [teachers] felt they didn't have their kids exactly where they wanted them to be," she says. "So it's going to be interesting to see."
Several Lafayette High School teachers are still grumbling about the school's first year under block scheduling ["Scheduling Conflict," Jan. 19]. They say that block scheduling ' which gives students more opportunities to take elective classes but cuts back on each course's overall hours ' has diluted classes and hurt students' grades. In response to the rising concerns, the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and LPSS imported national block scheduling author and adviser Robert Canady last week to speak on the innovative ways states like North Carolina and Virginia have used block scheduling.
The chamber and LPSS split the $6,000 tab for Canady's visit, which included his honorarium and traveling expenses. Though most in attendance at Canady's speech agreed the visit was productive, concerns prevailed over how his vision would be implemented into Louisiana's system.
Mangham says Lafayette has not invested in all of the additional teachers and resources that are needed to effectively adopt block scheduling. The result, she says, has been an overcrowding in basic elective courses such as art and speech. She also believes that scheduling options are limited at Lafayette High because it houses so many of the parish's programs for special education and foreign students.
"I think we jumped into this without really giving it a lot of thought," Mangham says. "If block scheduling is going to work, somebody's going to have to pay for it. It's not an inexpensive thing."
Attorney and former Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Chairman Gary McGoffin tempered his praise for Canady's visit with concern that it was too little, too late. McGoffin ' who spearheaded the Chamber's education initiatives during his tenure ' wishes the local school system would take more time to educate the public and train staff before implementing new programs.
"Our school system wants to make the decisions instead of doing the research," he says. "It's obvious that before we got into this year we could've used a whole lot more planning and preparation to make [block scheduling] a success."
For McGoffin, a critic of block scheduling, Canady's presentation provided a lot of answers on the effective use of the program.
"It's a lot more involved than I realized," McGoffin says. "We can have a vision now. We have a chance to do it right, now that we know there is a right way."
Under block scheduling, high school students now take eight courses in a year instead of six. The class times also have been extended to 90-minute periods and are held every other day ' with students rotating between Block A and B schedules. The schedule allows students to take more classes, but cuts overall class time in each subject by 35 hours annually. (Block scheduling was instituted at Comeaux and Northside high schools three years ago and is now used by all five Lafayette Parish high schools.)
At times during his public address at the Lafayette High Auditorium on Monday night, March 21, even Canady seemed befuddled by complications unique to Louisiana. The University of Virginia professor was stumped after parents and teachers told him that even if a local high school senior earns college credit at UL Lafayette, those credits often don't transfer to other state colleges such as LSU.
"I don't even know if that's legal," Canady said. "It must be a political issue or something. That's a Louisiana thing. I've never heard of that before."
Because block scheduling allows for two additional courses per year, many students will meet their required 23 credits for graduation at the end of their junior year. One of the main concerns of teachers and parents attending Canady's speech was keeping these students productive in their senior year. Canady advocated internships, tutoring and long distance learning programs for local seniors.
In addressing teachers' concerns over lost class time, Canady suggested schools "double block" core curriculum classes. Double blocking allows students two complementary math or English classes over the course of a year. He doesn't believe that students suffer because of shorter class times. "When teachers argue that, they're saying the other seven classes aren't worth anything," he says.
However, for several teachers struggling under the new system at Lafayette High, Canady sounded like an outsider. "I saw some good in what he was saying, but I don't think he was describing our school system," says English teacher John Keller.
Mangham says she hopes Canady's visit is a sign of further studies and discussion on block scheduling. "I think that there's some creative ways that we can schedule that would enhance block scheduling," she says. "We've just got a long way to go with this, and my concern is if we're not able to make this work in a productive way, the student pays the bill."
Business organizations opposed the proposal, saying it would lead to job losses and higher prices for goods and services.
An attempt to repeal a six-year-old law that permits public school science teachers to use material outside a classroom's adopted textbook has been rejected by the Senate Education Committee.
New York Times poll shows Obama, Jindal have identical approval and disapproval ratings in the state.
OK, so they’re bentgrass, the type used on golf course greens. But grass is grass.
The Senate Finance Committee approved the bill Wednesday, despite opponents who argued it would shut down the storefront lenders.
A measure to allow the state to implement its own, less stringent plan for limiting carbon dioxide emissions unanimously passed the Senate.
FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, Jodie Foster gets married, Vermont to require labels on genetically-modified food, and more news for today, April 24, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.
With pressure continuing to build for him to resign, Congressman Vance McAllister announced plans recently to remain secluded during the Easter break, but the Swartz Republican has said he’ll be back on the Hill casting votes and attending committee meetings when the congressional recess ends April 28.
A bid to limit the use of unmanned aircraft on private property in Louisiana stalled Monday in the Louisiana Senate.
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he's scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana's official state book.
Attorney hopes fellow lawyers will join him in urging the D.A. to step aside and allow a competent, ethical challenger to take over the scandal-ridden office.
An official with the Louisiana Department of Education was arrested on a range of charges Friday after allegedly breaking into a home and brandishing a knife.