How does it feel Rep. Amedee?

On Tuesday, March 7, 2017, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) approved the new Louisiana Student Standards for Science with a 9-0 vote. A committee was established to review and establish the new standards. My guess is that the members of the review committee were carefully selected to guarantee a predetermined recommendation, and the sole dissenter was an unexpected anomaly. Since the beginning of the process, there has been much controversy surrounding public approval over the selection of the standards; mostly surrounding the presentation of the Theory of Evolution, Global Warming and the absence of any alternative theories. Read More …

Growth/Achievement vs Left/Right

These days, it is hard to tell which political faction is pushing for the different components of education reform, but it is clear that the unified-bipartisan effort has fractured. The parting of ways is mostly due to the nomination, and subsequent confirmation, of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. It has become increasingly more clear to me that the main objective of conservative reformers is to implement the free-market model in education, divert taxpayer dollars to private entities, including religious organizations and as a result, segregate school populations by race and/or socio-economic status; with no obligation to prevent it from Read More …

To Opt Out, Or Not!

Spring will soon be upon us. I can tell because my inboxes are filling with questions about state assessments and opt-outs. I am happy to answer questions for anyone who takes the time to contact me, but it is easiest for me to just explain it here. I will provide you with the information regarding accountability, and leave it to you to make your own decision, as a parent. Common Core: As in every state that pushed back against Common Core, Louisiana is stuck with a rebrand of Common Core.  In the 2015 legislative session, a very lengthy, good-faith effort, Read More …

Governor’s Advisory Council Wrap Up

At approximately 1:30 PM, on February 23rd, the Governor’s Advisory Council on ESSA wrapped up the task set forth in the executive order issued by Governor John Bel Edwards. All that is left is a final draft of recommendations that will be assembled and delivered to the governor by his K-12 Advisor, Donald Songy. The final meeting was a bit more lengthy than the previous meetings. At times, it got bogged down in the details of the recommendations; mostly because of the presentation made by Stephen Parker of the National Governor’s Association (NGA). Parker is a Washington DC lobbyist for Read More …

An Open Letter to Senator Bill Cassidy

Honorable Senator Bill Cassidy 520 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510   Dear Senator Cassidy, I am writing to you to express my discontent with your recent votes and actions regarding education. Earlier this month, you voted to confirm Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. You did this even after receiving thousands of phone calls and emails from across the state asking you to oppose her. In addition, during a FaceBook “Town Hall,” you were bombarded with complaints about your support of DeVos. That video has received well over 20,000 views and more than 4500 comments; most of which Read More …

The Day The Music Died.

On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, the Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education in an historic tie breaking vote cast by Vice-President Pence. I refer to this day as “The Day The Music Died,” for reasons that aren’t that obvious, but you will see the connection when I discuss a number of bills that have been filed in Congress. For folks who haven’t figured out what is going on, I will provide a brief history of education reform and where we will likely be headed during the next four to eight years. I also want to emphasize that I Read More …

Louisiana Senators Out of Touch

Today, the Senate HELP committee voted to accept President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. It was no surprise the the vote was split straight down partisan lines with 12 Republican Senators voting YES, and 11 Democrat Senators voting NO. In Louisiana, both of the senators we have sent to Washington are Republican. It is true that pretty much anyway you look at it, Louisiana is a Red state, with the exception of a couple of pockets within the state dominated by Democrats. Yes, we did elect a Democratic governor, and the fact of the matter is…it wasn’t Read More …

CSUSA’s Lucrative Financial Arrangements

At the December BESE meeting, the decision was made to revoke the charter for Baton Rouge Charter Academy in  Mid-City (BRCA). The charter school, started by the South Louisiana Charter Foundation, has a management contract with Charter Schools USA (CSUSA). After three years of F ratings in school performance, the school was granted a probation of one year, but failed to improve the rating. In his blog post Take Your Excuses Elsewhere, education reform blogger, Peter Cook, brought to my attention that Jonathan Hage, CEO of CSUSA was in Baton Rouge to appeal to the East Baton Rouge Parish Schools Read More …

Making A Case For Choice: Vouchers

Most people would agree that, in general, private schools perform better than public schools, but how do we know this to be true? Private schools are not required to participate in statewide assessments. I suppose you could make the assumption that if a private school isn’t producing high results, parents wouldn’t be inclined to pay enormous tuition for their children to attend. There are exceptions. For example, the high school in which I teach serves just under 2000 students from every socio-economic status known and consistently produces the highest advanced placement results in the state. A local, top notch, private Read More …

A Fair and Equitable Accountability Plan

As you know, the current accountability system has created a number of inequities in our state from the classroom to the state level. In reviewing the presentation provided on the proposed accountability system, I fear that these inequities will not only continue, but also be exacerbated. While there is still a considerable amount of disagreement among the commission in regards to what the final plan should look like. I want to take a moment to offer an alternative model. If you like this model, please don’t hesitate to contact your principals, superintendents, BESE members and Supt. John White. Let’s start Read More …