Two Louisiana teacher’s unions and several school boards across the state will take their best shot at Gov. Bobby Jindal’s voucher program in court Oct. 15 when a judge is slated to hear arguments surrounding the constitutionality of the program.
According to the Associated Press, state District Judge Tim Kelley will preside over the hearing on the voucher program, which shifts public school dollars to private schools taking in low-income students who transfer from poor-performing public schools.
News of a hearing date comes just days after The Advocate reported that voucher students attending private schools on the public’s dime are likely to face much less stringent accountability measures than public school students, such as not having to take high-stakes tests in fourth and eighth grades to advance to the next grade level:
[Louisiana Association of School Superintendents President Michael] Falk said he thinks voucher students will be required to take state tests and those results will be reported to the state for inspection.
That generally mirrors the testing policy for the current voucher program, which is limited to about 2,300 students in New Orleans.
Falk, who is superintendent of the Central Community School District, said he also doubts that voucher schools will get annual school performance scores, which are linked to letter grades and which largely reflect how students fare on standardized tests.
The House approved an amendment that requires the state Department of Education — essentially [State Superintendent John] White — to create an accountability system for voucher students and schools they attend by Aug. 1.
White announced last week that 10,300 students statewide have applied for vouchers, though only 7,450 slots have been opened up for next school year. The 10,300 students who’ve applied represent about 2.5 percent of the nearly 400,000 public school students who are eligible to participate.
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DEC 4 This post on Philebrity, an arty Philadelphia blog, previews the lecture Bobby Jindal gave last night in the City of Brotherly Love. Sadly, not a lot of love headed Bobby's way in this post, which indicates a level of disdain for our Guv generally limited to residents of our lovely state.
DEC 4 The NOLA Defender blog goes old-school next year, this post tells us. The blog, which features news and extensive arts coverage, will publish free print versions quarterly, the story says. In a business that seems to be heading away from the printed version, it is nice to see that going the other way for a change.
DEC 4 There's another story on state employee abuse of public credit cards in the news, and blogger CB Forgotston has the solution: get rid of them. We don't need them; it's more work without them to accomplish what you need to accomplish, but what's wrong with that, CB wants to know. The legislature needs to pass a law forbidding the things, he says.
DEC 4 Here's one of two recent posts on the Lens about spending at two charter school operations in New Orleans. This one is about training for less than 200 KIPP employees in Vegas -- which cost nearly $120,000. That's $120,000, with six figures. The other operation was the Friends of King schools, which sent the staff, including eight of nine board members, to a retreat at the beach. That cost $70,000. So far, the Lens is the only media covering this. One wonders if that would be the case if this level of spending had happened in a public school operation.
DEC 4 In the effort to lay blame for our disappearing coast, a board charged with protecting our coast voted to sue the US Army Corps of Engineers Tuesday, this story on NOLA.com says. One suit will seek to force the corps to pay for damage caused by the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet project, and the other will seek to force the corps to pay for a levee system in Algiers on the West Bank. Interesting.
DEC 4 Thanks to blogger Robert Mann's Facebook page, we know about this story in the Washington Blade, which says that the Louisiana National Guard has decided to process same-sex partner benefits. The story was posted Tuesday, following an interview with a guard chief by the Blade. That same day, the Advertiser ran this story, which said Louisiana is still a hold-out on same sex benefits. So which story is correct?
DEC 4 One Alabama fan shot another dead, this WWL story tells us, because she didn't feel the other fan was upset enough about Alabama's loss to Auburn. The women were at a party, and the dead lady, mom to three children, was joking with other party-goers about the loss, which didn't sit well with the shooter, the story says. Police think alcohol might have been a factor. Ya think?
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