Archives for category: Jindal, Bobby

 

Mercedes Schneider summarizes here the story of vouchers in Louisiana, which are now widely recognized as a train wreck.

New Orleans’ public radio station WWNO broadcast a detailed account of this policy failure, which steers students to D and F rated schools. State Superintendent John White, one of the voucher program’s most ardent advocates, refused to be interviewed for the program.

”Multiple local news outlets were involved in the investigation:

‘The Cost of Choice’ is the result of a reporting collaboration between NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, WVUE Fox 8 News, WWNO and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.”

When the program was launched in 2012, Then-Governor Bobby Jindal “beamed with pride” and voucher proponent Betsy DeVos lauded the new vouchers, and the cheerleaders said they

“would free countless lower-income children from the worst public schools by allowing them to use state tax dollars in the form of vouchers to pay tuition at private schools, where they would ostensibly receive a better education. …

“Seven years later, however, the $40-million-a-year Louisiana Scholarship Program has failed to live up to its billing. The nearly 6,900 students who’ve left public schools have instead been placed into a system with numerous failing private schools that receive little oversight, a months-long examination by a coalition of local and national media organizations has found. …

“Two-thirds of all students in the voucher system attended schools where they performed at a “D” or “F” level last school year….

“Bobby Jindal did not set up the Louisiana Scholarship Program for success. He set it up for low-performing schools to get subsidized and to stay open,” said Andre Perry, a fellow at The Brookings Institution….

“Not a single school in the voucher program received an A or B. Three received a C. Of the remaining schools, 19 got a D and 15 got an F, based on the Louisiana Department of Education rating system.”

Thousands of children were sent to low-performing schools on the false promise of a better education. Some of the voucher schools needed the voucher money to survive.

Now, Schneider notes, DeVos is distancing herself from the Louisiana failure.

The remaining ideologues insist that voucher schools should not be judged by their abysmal test scores, the same stick used to beat up public schools.

DeVos is now peddling the same failed model to the nation.

Mercedes Schneider reviews a new report from the Education Research Alliance in New Orleans. The bottom line: When Louisiana eliminated tenure, teacher turnover increased.

https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2017/02/22/louisiana-research-when-tenure-ends-teachers-leave/

This shouldn’t be surprising. Removing job security encourages attrition. Other research has shown that instability and teacher churn are not good for teaching and learning.

Schneider writes:

“In 2012, the Louisiana legislature passed Act 1, commonly known as the “teacher tenure law.” Moreover, the Louisiana State Department of Education (LDOE) has translated Act 1 into an evaluation system whereby 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation is connected to “student learning”– the bottom line of which is student test score outcomes.

Act 1 began in 2012 as House Bill 974. The reason it is called Act 1 is that the 2012 Louisiana legislature rammed it though as the first act, with calculated speed, amid an atmosphere dripping with then-Governor Bobby Jindal’s business-and-industry-backed intention to bring “accountability” in the evaluating of the state’s teachers.

Once 2012 hit, Louisiana teachers began considering how and when to leave the profession. And each year beginning with 2012, Louisiana’s teacher workforce has experienced a noticeable exit of many experienced, seasoned teachers who otherwise would not have likely chosen to leave the profession so soon.

Thus, it comes as no surprise to me that a February 22, 2017, study by the Education Research Alliance (ERA) for New Orleans has found that based on teacher data from 2005 to 2012, Louisiana teachers did indeed begin leaving at a more notable rate, with those retirement-eligible comprising the greatest number of exiters.

Having 25+ years of employment, this group also happened to be the most experienced.

Moreover, it should come as no surprise that schools graded “F” lost the highest number of teachers in the post-Act-1 exit.”

The most experienced teachers left. The leavers disproportionately taught in high-needs schools. Can the state replace? The state seems to have succeeded in creating. A teacher shortage in hard-to-staff schools.

John White is State Superintendent of Schools in Louisiana. He had a meteoric career after his stint in Teach for America. He worked for Joel Klein in New York City, quickly rising to become Deputy Chancellor in charge of closing public schools to make room for charters. As Klein’s tenure ended, White landed the job as superintendent of the New Orleans Recovery School District. After a few months, he was selected as state superintendent. There, he was a champion of Bobby Jindal’s program of privatization: vouchers, charters, tuition grants to private entrepreneurs, virtual charters, Common Core. He is the corporate reformer par excellence, ready and willing to privatize and extinguish public schools.

 

Things went well until Jindal realized that the Common Core had turned toxic and threatened his presidential ambitions. Jindal abandoned it, White stuck with it. They had a celebrated feud. But the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education backed White, and he survived.

 

Mercedes Schneider predicts he won’t survive the new Governor-elect, John Bel Edwards, who said during his campaign that White must go. Edwards is a supporter of public education; his wife is a teacher.

 

How can Edwards get rid of White when he has the support of the BESE? As Mercedes explains, the governor controls the budget. He also has the power to push through an ethics bill that would knock two members off BESE, including the state director of TFA, whose organization receives contracts from BESE.

 

Edwards spoke to a meeting of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and told them that he would not close charters or end vouchers. But he says he will insist on greater accountability. That is not a great message, but at least the war on teachers will end.

Mercedes Schneider posted a transcription of his remarks and video to clarify what he said. On charters, he said that the decision to open charters should be made by local school boards, not the state board. As he spoke, the BESE is preparing to impose more charters without any local control. Edwards wisely noted that when a state bypasses the community, the voters are less likely to support bond issues for their schools, which are no longer theirs. Edwards also noted that some of the worst schools in the state are voucher schools. In a somewhat contradictory point, he says voucher schools should only serve only kids trapped in failing schools, but why send a child from a low-performing public school to a failing voucher school?
 

Note to Governor-elect Edwards: Please hire Mercedes Schneider, experienced teacher, dogged researcher, and skilled writer, as your education advisor.

Mercedes Schneider reports the great news from Louisiana: Democrat John Bel Edwards was elected over tarnished Republican David Vitter.

Best of all: the Bobby Jindal era is over.

Now Governor Edwards must clean up the mess Jindal left behind.

“It is expected that Edwards’ first order of business as governor will be to call the Louisiana legislature into special session to confront Louisiana’s budget crisis largely created by Bobby Jindal’s presidential aspirations and his own selfish goal of being viewed as Not Raising Taxes No Matter What– including raising taxes that the Louisiana public supports. Moreover, Jindal would not accept federal funding for health care, and it is expected that Edwards will.

“Edwards is conservative (pro-life; pro-gun), but he is also a Democrat.

“I expect Edwards to also turn his attention to the unhealthy corporate tax breaks that Jindal had provided and protected and that are bleeding revenue out of our already poor state. Also, Edwards has already noted the Jindal-induced, critical need to support Louisiana’s higher education institutions.”

One corporate reformer won a seat on the state board, as did one opponent of corporate reform. Superintendent John White can expect some tough times ahead with a Democrat as governor, someone who does NOT want to destroy public education.

In an interview, John White made it clear that he wants to keep his $275,000 job as state superintendent in Louisiana. Bobby Jindal pushed the state board to hire him after his brief stint as superintendent of the Néw Orleans Recovery School Diistrict. White loyally implemented Jindal’s agenda of vouchers, charters, for-profit schools, and attacks on teachers’ due process, as well as test-based evaluation. But then Jindal and White locked horns over Common Core. Jindal wanted out, White didn’t. (White’s only school experience is TFA. Also he attended the unaccredited Broad Superintendents’ Academy.)

Now one of the leading candidates for governor has said White has to go. Open the statement for links.

John Bel Edwards issued the following statement;

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: media@johnbelforlouisiana.com; 225-435-9808
Edwards: John White Will Never Be Superintendent On My Watch

BATON ROUGE, La. – State Representative and candidate for governor John Bel Edwards (D-Amite) responded to news that State Superintendent John White wishes to remain in his current position under the next governor’s administration.

“I have no intention of allowing John White, who isn’t qualified to be a middle school principal, to remain as Superintendent when I am governor,” Edwards said. “We have so many highly qualified candidates right here in Louisiana that we don’t need to go looking in New York City for our next head of K-12 education.”

White’s tenure as State Superintendent has been frought with controversy and accusations of wrongdoing. In 2012, White was embroiled in scandal after emails revealed political motives behind his fight to ensure that expanded school vouchers were approved by the Louisiana Legislature. Thanks to testimony by Rep. John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana Supreme Court later found the voucher scheme to be unconstitutional, because it did, as White denied, illegally divert funding designated for local city and parish public schools. Later, voucher schools approved under White’s watch were shown to lack a requisite number of teachers, lunch rooms, and other resources common to any proper school. In 2013, he was accused of having purposefully inflated letter grades for certain schools. For at least three years, White knew about inequities in special education funding which violated directives in the La. Constitution, but declined to take action to correct the problem even after the Legislature urged and requested that he do so in 2014. Under White’s watch per pupil funding for public k-12 schools was frozen despite many new unfunded mandates. During the same time period the per pupil amount paid to private schools through the state voucher program increased each year.

Citing these controversies Edwards said,”We need genuine leadership at the helm of the Louisiana Department of Education. We will have that when we elect a genuine leader as governor.”

White’s only formal training in educational administration was earned during six weekend trainings at the Eli Broad Superintendent’s Academy, meant to be an introduction to issues facing Superintendents at the local level.

Mercedes Schneider says that Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2015 sounds remarkably like Governor Bonby Jindal in 2012.

Amazing resemblance:

“In Louisiana in 2012, second-term-elected Governor Jindal commanded the legislature. As for his test-driven education agenda, Jindal had the legislature pass Act 1, commonly known as the Teacher Tenure Law, in short order. That is the legislation that officially ushered in Louisiana teachers’ being graded using their students’ test scores, with 50 percent of the annual teacher evaluation based on student scores and 50 percent, on administrative evaluation. Teachers are rated in one of four categories–“highly effective,” “effective,” “effective emerging,” and “ineffective.” An “ineffective” rating via test scores is enough for a teacher to be declared “ineffective” overall.

“For teachers to have tenure, they must be rated “highly effective” for five out of six years.

“Looks like Cuomo has taken his 2015 State of the State teacher evaluation ideas from Louisiana in 2012.”

Jindal didn’t get far with his teacher-bashing agenda. Most of it was declared unconstitutional by the courts. It’s time for teachers in Néw York to Send In the Lawyers to stop Cuomo from destroying the profession.

James Kirylo is a professor of teaching and learning in Louisiana and president of the faculty senate at Southeastern Louisiana University. Since the media lets Governor Jindal say things without challenging him, Professor Kirylo sets the record straight here.

 

 

 

A Response to Governor Jindal’s Appearance on Meet the Press

Governor Jindal recently appeared on Meet the Press. The host Chuck Todd peppered the Governor with a variety of questions, asking why he didn’t expand Medicaid, being that it would be helpful for the 200,000 uninsured people in the state (although the number is likely more toward the 750,000 range).

Todd also reminded the Governor how Louisiana nearly has a billion dollar hole in our budget; how at every midyear review, our deficit has grown; how the big tax cut at the beginning of the governor’s term has not been followed by revenue; and that a majority in Louisiana disapprove of his job as governor.

Governor Jindal predictably deflected much of what Todd said, and stated at the onset that he doesn’t care about the poll numbers and never has. He also proudly mentioned that he’s cut our state budget 26%, cut the number of state employees 34%, and declared how not spending on Medicaid is another dollar we don’t have to borrow from China, and that we shouldn’t waste those federal tax dollars.

Furthermore, the Governor asserted how we’ve actually improved healthcare access and outcomes here in our state. Citing an example—how it used to take ten days to get a prescription filled—now one can get it done in ten minutes. Finally, the Governor also touted his so-called school choice program, and concluded that he has balanced the budget every single year without running deficits, and without raising taxes.

As I watched Meet the Press, listening to the least transparent governor in the nation, I was amazed, though not surprised, by what the Governor did not mention, some of which I will, therefore, do here. First, when the Governor says he does not care that the majority of Louisianans disapprove of his job as governor, it obviously means he doesn’t care what I think, what state workers think, and what the hundreds and thousands of us who have been greatly harmed by his policies think. It is obvious there is only one person the Governor cares about.

Of course, he didn’t mention that when he talks about how he has sliced and diced the state budget, it has resulted in the near decimation of higher education. Indeed, universities have been cut 80% in the last several years, tuition has exponentially risen, and the LA Grad Act is simply a devious scheme that fosters a system that unduly taxes students in order to fund higher education. In a poor state like ours, this is simply a formula that further widens the opportunity gap, and further widens the gap between the proverbial “haves” and “have-nots.”

He also didn’t mention that numerous underpaid university people have endured near poverty wages, have endured furloughs, have had no cost of living allowances now inching toward the ten year mark, that numerous individuals can’t afford health care, that top flight faculty have left the state, that public school teachers have been blamed for everything that ails our state, that Louisiana has the nation’s fourth highest high school dropout rate, that our high school graduation rate ranks 45th in the nation, that we have one of the highest childhood poverty rates in the country, and that we have the highest incarceration rate in the country, if not the world.

Of course, he didn’t mention that Louisiana ranks 50th among the states in overall health, and that we lead the nation in the highest infant mortality rate, the highest diabetes-related death rate, and the highest rate of death from breast cancer, and third-highest rate of cancer deaths overall.

And of course, he wouldn’t mention that according to a Washington Post report a short while back, the state of Louisiana is expecting a $1.2 billion budget shortfall next year, which has now risen to 1.4 billion. And this is despite the Jindal administration hiring a New York-based consulting firm for $7.3 million to find ways to generate and save revenue. Finally, he didn’t mention what can be characterized as the Office of Group Benefits (OGB) scandal, where many are asking about the half of the $500 million dollars that was in the OGB reserve fund, but is now gone.

It should be no surprise critics are calling Jindal’s handling of the budget his blind-spot. But that is not his only blind spot. The other one is that he is blind to the fact that he has hurt the lives of so many hard-working Louisianans. And the irony of ironies when the Governor concluded his visit with Meet the Press, he stated that the American Dream was in jeopardy and that should he run for president, he would focus on restoring that dream.

It was then I turned off my television set, had to shake my head, and grabbed my dictionary to double-check the definition of delusional.

 

 

 

James D. Kirylo is an education professor, a former state teacher of the year, and his most recent book is titled A Critical Pedagogy of Resistance. He can be reached at jkirylo@yahoo.com


James D. Kirylo, Ph.D.
Professor
Faculty Senate, President
Southeastern Louisiana University
Department of Teaching and Learning
SLU 10749
Hammond, LA 70402

“To be called an educator is an incredible responsibility and an earned privilege. Not only does teaching require command of subject matter, but it also involves a deep understanding of human behavior. A conscientious educator is always in process striving toward excellence within the complexity of a multi-cultural society. Indeed, teaching is an extraordinary journey that requires one to negotiate through a channel of multiple challenges, dilemmas, and opportunities.”

Crazy Crawfish (aka Jason France, who was a data analyst at the Louisiana Department of Education) offers a fascinating insight into the political machinations behind Governor Bobby Jindal’s effort to ditch the Common Core.

Jindal was an enthusiastic supporter of CC until last June, when he suddenly became an opponent. The state commissioner of education, John White, a steadfast ally of Jindal, announced that he would fight the governor. The state board of education joined White, including two of Jindal’s appointees.

In Louisiana, Jindal is known as a governor who does not tolerate disloyalty. He swiftly punishes dissidents in his ranks. Yet no one of Jindal’s former allies faced retribution for opposing him. Something smelled fishy.

Then came the trial of Jindal vs. White on the Common Core, and Jindal’s lawyer didn’t call any witnesses. Jason France thinks he threw the fight. He thinks the fix is in. Jindal doesn’t want to get rid of the Common Core, he wants to appear to be trying because Common Core is a liability among the conservative voters that Jindal needs for his presidential aspirations.

France concludes:

“The chaos we are experiencing was intentionally fomented by John White, Chas Roemer and Bobby Jindal to distract people and wear them out. This betrayal was planned.

“Sadly, this is just another ruse perpetrated by those in power to avoid listening to parents’ real problems, and another reason parents are right to fear and fight Common Core. I expect this distraction to last until Jindal leaves office. John White and Chas Roemer were correct when they stated Jindal’s opposition to Common Core was politically motivated. The irony is that they were quite likely complicit in the deception from the get-go; to increase all of their profiles. That ploy has worked. Now we get to decide if their profiles are ultimately positively or negatively impacted by this fiasco.”

A Louisiana judge ruled against Governor Jindal in his efforts to dump Common Core and PARCC.

Mercedes Schneider read the court decision and concludes that Jindal lost in court against proponents of Common Core because his lawyer didn’t make a good case. She says he better get a better legal team or be prepared to lose again.

Well, I gave you an update on the latest episode in the Louisiana battle over Common Core. But of course I don’t know as much as Mercedes Schneider, who teaches in the state and stays abreast of the latest news and gossip.

So here is the scoop, from the inside.

Who will sue whom?

What tests will be used?

Will the governor beat the superintendent that he once loved and the board he appointed?