Yesterday I wrote a post about how the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education was pulling a few fancy tricks to inflate the scores of charter schools. This makes it easier to claim that they are incredibly successful (when they are not) and persuade the Legislature to add many more.
But it turns out that Louisiana is even slicker than Pennsylvania when it comes to playing games with the data. One of our readers, whom I deduce is or was an employee of the Louisiana Department of Education, has the goods.
Read this post and please be sure to open the link for more chicanery in Baton Rouge. The bottom line: Now that Bobby Jindal and John White control the State Department of Education, don’t trust the data they produce.
Actually, John White and Louisiana have already perfected several of these techniques and added a few twists of their own. I’ve documented some of the tricks being used here:
Basically they are defining schools they take over and/or turn over to charter operators as “Turnaround” schools for two years and don;t report any data on them. If the scores don’t improve they plan to reassign them to a new charter. Only schools that do well will ever get reported. Additionally, all of the recovery school district in New Orleans is defined as a small school district, less than 1000 students. Even though taken together they easily exceed that coun. Several of the sub-districts like Algiers have multiple sites and exceed that number, but for purposes of reporting the data for these districts LDE has decided to count the schools as their own district. I’m pretty sure even then we have one or two schools with more than 1000 students, but this has been reported by our departing accountabilty folks to USDOE with no apparent effect.
PA’s only mistake is not reporting what they were doing, USDOE doesn’t care if you cook the numbers, as long as you tell them you are I guess.