Amid mounting pressure from a Lafayette lawmaker, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association says it will consider a proposal at its convention next week to incrementally raise the required grade point average for high school athletes. The current GPA requirement stands at 1.5 — a D average. However, according to an article today in The Daily Advertiser, LHSAA Commissioner Kenny Henderson, who attended a pre-convention meeting at the Chenier Center in Lafayette Wednesday, says a hike over three years will be considered.
According to the proposal that will be introduced at the convention, student athletes would be required to pass six class units each semester; the 1.5 requirement would remain in place for the 2010-2011 school year, and would rise to 1.75 and then 2.0 in the two subsequent school years. Currently, high school athletes are required to maintain a 1.5 GPA and to pass five class units per semester, which, if a student maintains only the minimum requirement, results in the student being four credits short of graduating despite being eligible to participate in sports for four years.
State Rep. Rickey Hardy, who attended Wednesday’s meeting in Lafayette, has tried in the last two consecutive legislative sessions to raise the GPA requirement to 2.0. Hardy’s legislation failed to make it out of committee, due in large part to opposition from the LHSAA and high school athletic directors, who have argued that raising the standard would increase the drop-out rate among marginal students for whom athletics is their primary reason for staying in school.
“I’m certainly satisfied with phasing it in,” Hardy said Thursday. “I introduced the bill in 2008 and had some resistance; some folks felt it would’ve been good to phase it in. But at that time I felt that the standard was so low that we should go ahead on and raise it to a 2.0. However, in 2009 I said that we could do it in increments — it would be acceptable.”
Hardy says no matter what the outcome is at the LHSAA convention next week, he will reintroduce the 2.0 GPA bill in the spring session, pointing out that neighboring states Texas and Mississippi have already raised their minimum GPA to 2.0. But, the Lafayette lawmaker says the LHSAA proposal is a positive development. “It is a victory, for not only me, but more importantly for the children.”
This latest development in the GPA saga comes less than a week after the parent of a Lafayette High basketball player filed suit in state district court against the Lafayette Parish School Board. Attorney Curtis Hollinger argues in the suit that the LPSB’s 1.5 GPA requirement is discriminatory and promotes academic underachievement.
MAY 17 Here's a column from James Gill, this time in the Advocate. Gill, who has jumped ship from the Picayune, writes about the absurdity of dueling polls in this post. The numbers are so wildly different, it is obvious that both sides are "cooking the books," he writes. In particular, he looks at Sen. Mary Landrieu, and how her recent actions in DC have been received by those polled. Gill's acerbic, amusing prose is a welcome addition to a paper so conservative as to be occasionally lacking in personality.
MAY 17 Blogger Tom Aswell continues delivering bombshells about the state education department and Gov. Jindal's education "reform" efforts. In this post, he reports that students in the Shreveport area have been signed up for a charter school without their knowledge or consent. Most interesting to Aswell is how this Texas-based charter (with ties to GOP types) got the personal student information it has, if the students didn't give it.
MAY 17 This post by JR Ball in the Baton Rouge Business Report is an interesting tongue-in-cheek look at recent Baton Rouge economic development efforts. Among the items he examines is the idea that gaining a Costco makes BR a "world-class city." (Really? All you need is a different brand of Sam's? MK!) This effort, and other recent ones, are all built on the taxpayer's back, with tax zones, tax incentives and tax rebates, Ball writes.
MAY 17 Blogger CB Forgotston is critical of the legislature's reliance on a revenue-estimating committee's decision to include projected tax amnesty income in this year's forecast. That's a problem, CB posts, because the deadline for these people to pay their taxes is June 30, 2014. So when do you think these people who haven't paid taxes in years are going to pay their taxes? Surely not before June 30, and that means the money won't be there for this year's budget, he argues.
MAY 17 Here's an interesting blog out of California by a Hollywood writer, attorney and academic named Brian Alan Lane. He blogs about higher ed, and was a whistle-blower in a scandal over false credentials. In this post, he takes aim at LSU's new top dog, King Alexander. It's convoluted and a little confusing, but it sure makes Alexander a lot more interesting than he was yesterday.
MAY 17 Blogger Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board's refusal to allow Dr. Fred Cerise to testify before the legislature about Gov. Jindal's plan to close down all the state's charity hospitals and dump the poor on the private system. It's hard to imagine anyone more qualified than Cerise to testify about that, so why would anyone try to prevent him doing so? Mann thinks it is because the powers that be aren't interested in hearing any truth about the plan.
MAY 17 This post on the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle, a blog that notes developments in the Bayou Corne and Jefferson Island salt domes, talks about a proposed expansion of the salt dome storage under Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish. Residents are working against it for several reasons, including two biggies: the sinkhole disaster in Bayou Corne and the continuing, unexplained bubbling on the surface of the Lake.
MAY 17 NOLA police arrested more people Thursday accused of either being involved in the Mother's Day shooting or hiding the suspect afterward, this Gambit story reports. The NOLA police chief said he suspects the whole thing was gang-related and throws out a challenge to the gangs: he's got informants now, he says, and he knows a lot more than the gangs want him to know. The people who live in the neighborhoods terrorized by gangs are ready to talk, he says.
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Dr. Joshua Caffery, chair of the school’s English Department, is headed to Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress as the latest winner of the Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies.