Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Greg Davis came within a hair of winning the District 2 school board seat. Lafayette came within a hair of reform. By Walter Pierce
Greg Davis is nothing if not resilient. This newspaper’s admiration for the Cajundome director is well-chronicled, so the timbre of this column will come as little surprise to many.
I was reminded last week of how committed Greg is to improving public education in Lafayette Parish, especially for poor students. Just three days removed from losing the election for the District 2 seat on the Lafayette Parish School Board by four votes — four votes! — Davis was back at the stove stirring the pot. I had the opportunity, along with a few other Ind staff members, of sitting down with him. He was upbeat and forward looking, sanguine and resolved. At that point there was no reason to believe that victor Tommy Angelle wouldn’t be the next District 2 rep on the board, and although Greg and a few supporters were watching the post-election process closely for irregularities — how could they not, given the painfully close margin of defeat? — he was already mulling ways of effecting improvements from outside the system, as he has long endeavored. His membership in 100 Black Men — a galvanizing force in preventing the dissolution of N.P. Moss Middle School — and the Lafayette Public Education Stakeholders Council is intact. His research in educational best practices continues. His willingness to challenge the school system and the community to have the highest expectations is unwavering. It’s fair to say the performance of public education would not be a cause célèbre in Lafayette Parish, as much as that can be said, were it not for Davis’ persistence. He keeps his eye on the ball.
Those of us who supported Greg’s candidacy knew it was a long shot — a black man in a white district, a city man in a country district; demographics were against him from the moment he qualified to run.
Within days of this meeting, more performance scores trickled out of the state Department of Education, painting, yet again, a picture of torpor for our parish, and magnifying our sense that an opening for introducing reform into a bureaucracy that resists it had slammed shut.
Most of us have little doubt that the regime in Lafayette public education, both at the administrative and elected levels, has good intentions. But the school system’s lethargic progress is frustrating to say the least. Lafayette’s district performance score climbed just two tenths of a percent, to 96.5 — a growth rate that ranked 43rd in the state. It is foregone that the goal of achieving a 120 DPS by 2013 will not be achieved, and our overall DPS ranking statewide dipped from 22nd to 24th. Being 24th out of 71 school districts in Louisiana makes us the top-performing school system in the middle third — that’s middle of the pack in a state that ranks 47th in the nation.
The number of four-star schools in Lafayette did increase, and the graduation rate climbed a healthy 3.5 percent, from 67.7 to 70.4 percent. Yet neighboring Vermilion Parish’s graduation rate jumped from 67.4 to 81 percent, a 12.5 percent increase. How does this happen? Why them, not us?
By week’s end, as the DOE performance scores added a dark patina to our electoral lamentations, it appeared Greg might have an opening to challenge the election. Four votes is a margin that naturally raises eyebrows, that begs a second look precinct by precinct. Friday morning it appeared there were enough irregularities to challenge. Hours later, after the registrar and secretary of state’s offices satisfied any misgivings, Greg conceded the race. With grace.
Will $400 be enough for the re-election campaign of LPSB's Hunter Beasley to overcome two years of holding our school system hostage and hurting the education of our children all because of a personal dislike of the superintendent?
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he expects his playing status in Detroit to be decided by coach Sean Payton on Sunday, shortly before the game.
Two bedroom cottage in Lafayette or three bedroom traditional in Erath
Gulf Brew ready threads
Lawmakers have sidestepped a decision on whether they accept claims from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration that the state closed last year's books with a nearly $179 million surplus.
Coming off the high of a fourth quarter comeback against Tampa Bay and a helpful bye week, linebacker Junior Galette sees a real turnaround coming for New Orleans' struggling defense.
Former President Bill Clinton, the Democratic Party's most popular surrogate this fall, is heading to Louisiana early next week for a campaign rally with U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Time and again you hear people say DA Mike Harson is unbeatable because he's doled out political favors over the past 20 years. But a new lawsuit could end that speculation.
We welcome nominations from readers and leaders throughout the business community in Lafayette and the five surrounding parishes.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Cat 4 storm heads for Bermuda; travel ban called counter-productive; comet approaches Mars and more national and international news for Friday, October 17, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Ebola is kind of terrifying if you watch too much Fox News and CNN. Especially Fox, which makes everything look terrifying because, well, War on Christmas and Obama and all.
Local developer’s Lake Charles Gardens LLC purchases buildings and leases; land still owned by Dugas family.
One bedroom townhouse or two bedroom townhouse in Lafayette
Hit the barre for a good cause
Whatever district you are in, please do your research. Find out what the schools need in order to teach. Better yet, ask your child’s teacher. They know!
Get your groove on with two free concerts in Downtown Lafayette Friday, both at Parc Sans Souci.
After the season's signature win (so far), here are some helpful tips for Cajun Nation during the conference stretch.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Did the state close last year's books with a surplus or a deficit?
Practicing without limitations on Wednesday, running back Mark Ingram looked ready to return to a New Orleans offense that once again ranks among the NFL's best when the Saints play at Detroit on Sunday.
It’s been decided: Superintendents of Louisiana’s public school system will retain the controversial powers granted by Act 1 of the 2012 session.
Economist Loren Scott says Louisiana is in the midst of an industrial boom unlike any other in its history, with more than $100 billion in industrial projects either under construction or in the engineering and design phase.
Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy has a bone to pick with the Jindal administration, which recently — surprise! — announced that the state ended the most recent budget year with a $178.5 million dollar surplus.
Where will we get french fries smothered in awesomeness now?
Snuggle up in style
Rural Scott or rustic New Iberia home
The Louisiana Treasury holds $18 million in Israel Bonds — bonds that earn 2.868 percent when the three-year U.S. Treasury is yielding 1.08 percent.
The messaging battle, however, isn't tied to individual campaign accounts. Third-party groups have poured millions of dollars into advertising.