Small yard signs exclaiming "The LPSB Hates Black Children!" are inflaming racial tensions the week the Lafayette Parish School Board is scheduled to vote on a controversial proposal to convert N.P. Moss Middle School into a career and technical high school. The signs have recently cropped up on a handful of street corners in predominantly black neighborhoods on the north side of town, in and around areas zoned for N.P. Moss. Thus far, no one has claimed responsibility for the signs.
Greg Davis, a member of 100 Black Men of Greater Lafayette and chairman of the Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council, has been a vocal opponent of closing N.P. Moss as a middle school. He says he does not know who put up the signs but feels that it is definitely tied to the N.P. Moss issue.
"I'm disappointed that we are having this kind of reaction," he says, "but I do think that it is an indication of how much frustration there is in the north side community. Right now, I am sensing lots of frustration from lots of people who believe that they are absolutely powerless in influencing the school board not to close N.P. Moss Middle School."
"There are lots of people," he continues, "that are feeling like it's a hopeless situation and they have little ability to influence the school board to keep the school open. The disconnect and the gap between the north side community and the Lafayette Parish School System is bigger than it's ever been and when things deteriorate to where they are now, those are the kind of reactions that you can probably expect. People are very disappointed that we are facing the possible closing of a fifth school in the north side community."
Davis is referring to the closures of St. Antoine Elementary, J.Wallace James Elementary, Truman Elementary and Vermilion Elementary, all of which have been closed over the past ten years due to judicial orders in the school system's desegregation case. At its Wednesday meeting, the school board is scheduled to take up the issue of a career and technical high school — something that the school system has been studying for over a decade. The school board is currently considering four options recommended by facilities consulting firm CSRS for creating a technical high school — two of which involve the conversion of N.P. Moss. The other options are to house the school at Louisiana Technical College or to build a new school. The board brought up the issue at a heavily attended meeting two weeks ago, but then tabled the agenda item.
MAY 23 Here's a story in the Picayune about some statistics that must come as a blow to folks who believe that any private school can do a better job of educating kids than any public school: Danielle Dreilinger reports that only 30 percent of the voucher kids are passing. That's less than half of the state wide average, she says. It's an interesting statistic because most of the schools (if not all) taking voucher kids have never had their students' standardized test scores released to the public before.
MAY 23 Stephen Sabludowsky blogs on Bayou Buzz about auditor requests here. Recently the state GOP started crowing about a request from the Legislative Auditor, claiming they were being targeted because of their anti-tax stance. (Uh, your what?) Denial and hyperbole aside, the state Democratic party blew holes in that theory with an email announcing they'd received the same request, Sabludowsky writes here.
MAY 23 Jim Brown blogs about the senate race in this post. He says that, given Bobby Jindal's "lack of traction" on the national stage, it might make more sense for the governor to consider running against Mary Landrieu for the senate seat. Since Tim Teeple left the Cassidy team, it makes sense he might land on a Jindal for Senate team, Brown opines.
MAY 23 In this Louisiana Voice post, blogger Tom Aswell writes of rumors that his nemesis, state Superintendent of Education John White, may be soon departing Louisiana for a federal post. It's hard to believe, given his performance, Aswell says, but stranger things have happened. An anti-White BESE member says that, if true, White is quitting before he can be fired.
MAY 23 In this post on American Zombie, blogger Jason Berry writes about the Mother's Day shooting. Mayor Landrieu said that "this is not who we are," but the fact is, this is New Orleans, Berry writes. The violence infused in the city is the result of a culture created by "sins of omission or sins of commission," Berry writes. It's not a problem that can be solved by legislating, policing, praying or publicizing, he says: Someone's got to understand what's happening first.
MAY 23 This post in the Westside Journal tells us what Port Allen Mayor Deedy has been up to lately: vetoing ordinances, apparently. This story is most interesting, however, when it delves into a petition that has been circulating around the city lately. It accuses the former mayor of a lot of nasty things; the former mayor says it is full of lies and "broken syntax" which may be a larger offense in his eyes.
MAY 23 This editorial posted in The Advocate is a bit confusing. The writing is poor - definitely not up to the usual editorial writing standard there - and the point is hard to grasp. Apparently, the writer is saying that privatization of state efforts is OK, as long as there is oversight and transparency, but Jindal's not good at that, and the legislature shouldn't over-react. Okey Dokey. Can't they get one of them Pulitzer-winning people to write an editorial?
MAY 23 This post on The Lens gives you links to a new Google Earth tool that allows you to see any spot on earth transform over the past 30 years. Bob Marshall, who covers the coast for the paper, says that in the case of Louisiana's coastline, it's possibly something you don't want to see, because it's not a pretty picture. There are several clips here, showing critical areas erode away. For Marshall, it was vindication for all those times he was met with eye-rolling when he talked about erosion.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.