Louisiana State Superintendent John White

After all that fanfare about accountability, John White has crafted a completely worthless accountability plan for the voucher schools.  It’s  a shame that so many people on the BESE can’t read.  All but 2 Board members voted to support the plan.  Only members Lottie Beebe and Carolyn Hill voted to reject this plan and send White back to the drawing board to correct some of the concerns presented by various members of the public.

Worthless parts of the plan:

  • If a school has less than 10 students per grade, the students results will not be reported publicly
  • Unless the school has 10 participating  students per grade level taking tests  AND 40 students total voucher students in the school, the test results will not be reported
  • Schools will only be required to score above 50 on the Scholarship Cohort Index
  • John White can waive any provisions of the policy without seeking approval from BESE (Board of Elementary and Secondary Education) or the Legislature

This plan is problematic because it promotes  gaming the system.  The plan clearly says the schools will determine how many seats they will accept.   All a school has to do is enroll 9 students per grade or less than 40 students total.   John White said that this plan ensures that all schools are accountable.  However, based on the criteria released,  75% of the eligible voucher schools will not fall under the guidelines of the accountability plan crafted by John White.

Over the past 4 years the Combined results for the voucher schools in the pilot program have had between 52-72% of it’s students fail to reach basic on the iLEAP and LEAP tests.  What’s the purpose of a pilot if you ignore the results and expand the program even though it’s proven to be a failure?

The first stated purpose in the plan is “a common standard for student performance across the system of traditional public, charter public, and non public schools.”  However, the plan as adopted completely ignores that purpose.  Students in voucher schools will NOT be retained as public school students in 4th and 8th grades if they fail the LEAP test.  Public schools are given a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F, but voucher schools will NOT receive a letter grade.  The State Superintendent can’t waive any part of the accountability system for public school, but he can waive any provision in the accountability plan for voucher schools.  Another purpose of the adopted plan is to uphold the public trust when public funds are involved.   Clearly the accountability plan presented makes a mockery of the public trust.

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