State super outlines shift to ‘fundamentally different’ standards
White was on hand at the Lafayette Parish School Board Wednesday to discuss the plan and hear from board members, something he’s done and will continue to do for school boards across the state as Louisiana moves forward with the new measures to increase student achievement.
The state education superintendent told board members that Louisiana is moving toward “fundamentally different” standards for students and educators alike, noting that the state’s shift to Common Core Standards means Louisiana’s public education system will be ranked among the 46 other states making the same transition to Common Core.
“It’s not going to be, ‘How did Lafayette do? Or how did Vermilion do? It’s going to be how did Oklahoma do? How did Massachusetts do?” White explained. “We’ve got two years to make the shift to, ‘How did Louisiana do?’ with exactly the same test, exactly the same bar as the 46 other states implementing these standards.”
White also touted the state’s new course choice program, which allows businesses, colleges and other online educators to offer courses outside of the traditional school setting, as a way “open up avenues for industry itself to come in and begin the training of future employees — for high school credit — trained by the people who best know what the workforce needs are.”
Taking a minute to dispel what he called myths coming out of Act 1 and the legislative session, which among other measures makes it harder for teachers to earn tenure, White said contrary to rumor, “it does nothing to reduce teachers’ salaries or retirement.”
“Current teachers who have tenure are not affected,” White said. “No one loses their tenure status. Teachers with ineffective ratings lose their tenure, but they have the opportunity to get it back. And no teacher loses their job after one ineffective rating.”
As expected, board members had questions about the state’s new voucher program that funnels public school dollars to private schools who accept low-income students from failing public schools. The voucher program has been among the most controversial pillars of Jindal’s education reform.
Board member Mark Babineaux questioned whether voucher schools will have to undergo the same teacher evaluation system as public schools, to which White said no. White explained that all public school students attending voucher schools will be required to take the same standardized tests administered in public schools, and voucher schools with 40 or more students will earn a performance score based mostly on test scores and a few other factors, much like public schools. If the private school’s performance score falls below the outlined benchmark, the school will not be allowed to accept more voucher students.
“Traditional schools have to be at an F for four years before going into Recovery School District. Private schools that aren’t acceptable for one year don’t get to accept new kids into the program,” White explained. “Same bar, swifter accountability.”
But voucher schools accepting fewer than 40 students will not face the same consequences. As widely reported when White announced the voucher accountability plan in July, private schools with less than 40 voucher students — roughly 75 percent of the schools on the voucher list — will only have to publish their voucher students’ standardized test scores. There are no automatic repercussions for private schools with poor test scores if they take in fewer than 40 students.
The state super offered repeated praise to Lafayette Parish for its own district turnaround plan as crafted under the direction of Superintendent Pat Cooper.
“I can’t think of anything more exciting,” he said.
JUNE 19 Former Saint Steve Gleason, who is paralyzed by ALS, released a statement Tuesday in response to the Atlanta radio station's skit making fun of him and the disease, this Picayune post reports. What did he say? He said he'd accepted the apology of the DJs who did it, notes that at least the incident has got people talking about ALS, and asks anyone who is burning to take action about it to do so -- by helping him fight ALS.
JUNE 19 Blogger Ian McGibboney takes a look at the Gleason incident in this post. He makes a good argument about the difference between having free speech and being free from consequences for your speech (which none of us is). He also admits that many of us got upset before we listened to the skit -- but lets us know that the reality is far worse than we can imagine. It was the incredibly bad judgment, even more than the actual speech, that probably got those DJs fired, he opines.
JUNE 19 Washington Post blogger Aaron Blake writes about Sen. Guillory's switch to the GOP in this post. He writes what most political watchers in Louisiana know: Guillory was a Republican before he decided to run for the senate seat in a mostly-D St. Landry district, and has switched back now that he plans to run for Lt. Gov. in a mostly-R state. But how come Blake missed Guillory's appearance on a TLC pageant show? Now that is a video we'd like to see. (Again).
JUNE 19 Here's another Washington Post blog post about a Louisiana politician, and it's just plain scathing. Ezra Klein says Jindal's Politico post was "insulting" to the intelligence of voters, and adds that Jindal is personifying the "stupid" he's railed against, by being an "elite" who convinces GOP activists of "things that aren't true." Me-ow.
JUNE 19 Here's Gov. Jindal's post in Politico, in which he asks the GOP to get over losing to Obama (again) and stop "the bedwetting." (Uh, what?) He gives his Republican buddies what is probably a nerd's idea of a coach's motivational talk, which starts with a list of accomplishments that they can't seem to exploit and ending with an absurd description of liberals that sounds like a character treatment for a Fox "News" movie scripted by Gordon Liddy. Sure, he's preaching to the choir, but even the choir's not this gullible.
JUNE 19 Lamar Parmentel read Gov. Jindal's post on Politico, but thinks it was so dumb it probably was published in the wrong paper. This post by Lamar on the Daily Kingfish opines that possibly Jindal's post was destined for the Onion -- because the governor couldn't possibly be serious here. If you listen closely, you can hear the staff of the Kingfish giggling.
JUNE 19 Blogger Robert Mann posts from Turkey, a country he has visited several times in the past few years. Mann gives an interesting overview of the current political and societal climate of the country, which -- if you're living under a rock and don't know -- is experiencing protests and turmoil these days. Mann promises to post as much as he can during his trip, which should be fascinating reading.
JUNE 19 Blogger CB Forgotston says the legislature is keeping the vicious cycle going with its funding of new buildings for the community college/technical college system. Universities across the state need maintenance and improvement on existing buildings, and the solution is to build new buildings at other schools? By the time the bonds are paid off, those buildings will be falling down, too, CB says.
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to offer shares of its stock to the public for the first time.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.