• Swamp Watch

Education Swamp Leaders Wanted to Hide Poor Performance

Updated: 3 hours ago

School performance scores were released today. If the swamp got its way, they'd have never seen the light of day.

As the Louisiana Department of Education releases school performance scores today, most parents and taxpayers will not like what they see. Performance is down almost across the board, with 70% of school districts and schools dropping from the previous year. With many testing and graduation requirements being waived, the actual performance is likely far worse than what the scores released today tell us.

Keep in mind that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), already received a federal waiver from releasing letter grades at the request of the leaders of Louisiana’s education swamp, the Louisiana School Boards Association and Louisiana Association of School Superintendents.

The leaders of the education swamp weren’t satisfied with keeping parents from seeing letter grades- they went to the mat to stop even the performance scores and simulated grades released today from ever coming out. Their argument? Not centered around parents and families- but rather their own selfish interests. The scores are troubling- and they didn’t want parents, families, and taxpayers seeing just how poorly our public schools performed over the last year.

Michael Faulk, leader of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, made no secret of his organization’s desire to avoid any level of accountability for the superintendents he represents. Faulk told BESE he was concerned about what the scores would mean for school leaders, saying “Consequences we’re looking at- the Contracts with principals’ performance objectives, contracts with supervisors’ performance objectives, contracts with superintendents’ performance objectives”. Faulk was clearly concerned that the poor performance of schools would reflect upon the leaders of the schools, and clearly worried about them being held accountable. His remarks failed to consider what not releasing the scores would mean for students and parents, who would have never been able to see the extent to which our public schools have failed children in the last year.

Janet Pope, Executive Director of the Louisiana School Boards Association, also argued before BESE that releasing the scores would be unfair to school districts, saying “There is little debate that student outcomes were influenced...but everyone’s focus should be moving our students forward.” As the scores released today show, moving our students forward will be a huge challenge, but if LSBA and the Superintendents had gotten their way, families would be left in the dark to the extent of that challenge.

Transparency and accountability should always be the standard in Louisiana, and the scores being released today is a win for families and taxpayers hoping to understand where our schools’ performance stands- a hard fought win for them over the education swamp, who wanted to keep you in the dark and avoid accountability.

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