Shreveport magnet school highlights flaws in teacher evals
The highest achieving elementary school in the state apparently is crawling with bad teachers, according to the new and controversial system for rating teacher effectiveness.
The Advocate reports that preliminary teacher evaluation data from South Highlands Elementary Magnet School in Shreveport is shedding some light on what one state lawmakers says are serious flaws in the teacher evaluation method.
Under the new system, teachers are grouped into one of five categories ranging from highly effective to ineffective, a designation that’s based half on the standardized test scores and academic growth of their students and half on classroom observations. The “value-added” grading system for teachers was signed into law in 2010, but under Gov. Bobby Jindal’s education reform package that sailed through the Legislature in February and March, a teacher will have to be labeled highly effective five out of six years in order to gain tenure:
The crux of the problem, [state Rep. Alan] Seabaugh said, is that the jobs of some teachers could be in jeopardy because even high-scoring students who show drops from the previous year can result in the teachers being rated as ineffective.
Seabaugh said red flags went up when officials at South Highlands, while planning for the change, tried to see how teachers might fare this year by comparing test results from the 2010-11 school year with the 2011-12 school year.
Earlier this year, Seabaugh said, 92 percent of fourth-graders at the school scored at the highest or second highest level in English on the LEAP test, 89 percent in math, 85 percent in social studies and 84 percent in science.
But all three fourth-grade teachers who received ratings were judged to be “highly ineffective” and among the lowest performing teachers in the state, Seabaugh said.
“This is nothing short of ridiculous,” said Seabaugh, R-Shreveport, in an Oct. 2 email to education officials around the state.
State Education Superintendent John White tells The Advocate that he believes the South Highlands evaluation problem may be a unique situation, but he’s planning to meet with teachers there Oct. 18.
JUNE 17 If anyone ever wonders why Saints fans hate Atlanta with a capital H, here's a good indication. Radio "professionals" at an Atlanta station created an entire segment around making fun of former Saints player Steve Gleason, who is now paralyzed by ALS. Listen, nobody's ever accused DJs of being rocket scientists. But how could someone think it is amusing to pretend to ask a man with a degenerative, fatal disease if he will be alive next week? The DJs have been fired, and are now whining about how gutless their former bosses are. Wow.
JUNE 18 Here's the latest from the Advocate on the fatal hit-and-run accident allegedly involving the president of the Livingston Parish School Board. He's accused by police of hitting a 21-year-old man on a highway early Sunday and driving away. The man died at a hospital later. On Monday, police seized the president's truck and towed it away. But he's available for board meetings: apparently a $500 bond is sufficient for this type of thing over in St. Helena Parish.
JUNE 18 Former broadcast journalist Griffin Scott has posted this plea on his blog for financial assistance from his readers. Scott, who says he was fired after he wrote something fairly innocuous (for Facebook) on his wall, is suing a media giant for his job back. He's framed himself as David going after a bloated media giant, and he's probably not far off.
JUNE 18 Here's a fairly absurd column posted on DIG Magazine about the completely absurd practice of naming killer storms. Tornadoes don't have names. Blizzards don't have names. But hurricanes do, and there's a big process to bestow them, Jacques Cormery writes. He's right about the crazy assemblage of names -- this year, there's everything from Tanya to Humberto -- and his idea that we don't waste good names on killer storms is a good one.
JUNE 17 Political columnist John Maginnis has some advice for Louisiana Republicans: grow up. After the schism that occurred in this past session - fiscal hawks teaming up with Democrats to spank the Republican "majority" and hand Gov. Jindal his, er, aspirations for continued solon control -- they need to figure out how to get along with each other, Maginnis writes.
JUNE 17 Here's the Picayune's obit story for Dorothy 'Miss Dot' Domilise, the lady who made poboys at the uptown restaurant that bears her name. Miss Dot moved to New Orleans during World War II, where she met and married her husband Sam. When she passed away Friday she was 90, and had spent more than 60 of those years working at the restaurant on Annunciation Street.
JUNE 17 This editorial in the Advocate speaks in favor of the consent decrees that have federal judges overseeing police operations and the sheriff's parish prison in New Orleans. Mayor Landrieu and Sheriff Gusman can't get along, so outside forces, like the Inspector General and the judges, are needed to make sure things run right, the editorial opines.
JUNE 18 Here's a post from Manny Schewitz on Forward Progressives that is good for a chuckle. Manny had an epiphany back in November, and is sharing it with us today: he believes that Fox "News" is killing the GOP by pandering to right wing nuts. Now, don't get it twisted: Manny's not broke up about it. He says he enjoys watching the downward spiral with a shot of whiskey and "a schadenfreude chaser."
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 go public this year.
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.