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Jindal: Dismal performance of La. schools ‘simply not acceptable’

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Written by
Mike Hasten
Gannett Capital Bureau 








BATON ROUGE –Gov. Bobby Jindal says having 44 percent of schools receiving grades of “D” or “F” and more than one-third of students performing below grade level is “simply not acceptable.”

The governor’s comments came after the Department of Education released the first letter grade scoring of schools’ performance on standardized tests administered during the last school year. In previous years, the department graded schools on a star system, which many parents did not understand.

Jindal said he will push for more reforms in the 2012 legislative session that should result in better school performance, which leads to more student success.


“If any of my kids brought home a report card with almost half of ‘D’s and ‘F’s, I know we would have some serious work to do to get them back on track,” the governor said. “Government should be no different. It is unacceptable for the report card of our schools to be nearly half ‘D’s and ‘F’s.”


Some schools performed well, the governor said in a press conference, but far too many schools are not adequately educating students.


Jindal said he pushed for letter grades in the 2010 legislative session so parents could have a clearer understanding of how their children’s schools were performing. In past years, a star system was used, but unless parents looked closely, they didn’t understand what the stars meant.


“If a child came home with ‘D’s and ‘F’s, that would be unacceptable,” the governor said, so parents shouldn’t be satisfied with their children’s schools if they have similar grades.


“This needs to be a call to action,” he said. “Don’t accept any excuses. Don’t accept any rationalizations.”


Jindal pointed out that schools didn’t get bad grades overnight. They’ve had poor performance for years. It’s just clearer to see now with letter grades.


“This is exactly why we’re going to have an aggressive package of reforms next session,” he said. “We’re going to roll up our sleeves and go to work.”


Included are: offering more choice for students trapped in failing schools; holding schools accountable for their failure to educate children to even basic grade level standards; and rewarding excellence in teachers and schools by expanding the value-added assessment program.

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“We must not tolerate failure,” the governor said. “Children only have one chance to grow up.”


Jindal said he needs more support in the Legislature and on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to push his reforms through, so he is getting involved in legislative and board campaigns of “like-minded” candidates.


“We’re going to use our political capital,” he said.


One of his goals is to select a “reform-minded” superintendent, but he doesn’t have enough votes on the current BESE to elect John White, who is currently serving as superintendent of the Recovery District, based in New Orleans.


Several current BESE members said they would support a reform-minded candidate but they don’t want White.


Keith Guice, the Fifth District member on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, said in a statement about the scores, “I am pleased that 16 of the 20 districts that comprise BESE District 5 showed growth. I would note that 13 percent of the state’s top 100 performing individual schools are in our district.


“ I applaud the efforts of district and school leaders and most importantly, the teachers and parents who worked diligently with our students to bring about these gains.


“Our districts that declined have seen unemployment in their parishes remain above the state average. We know that students whose families are financially secure tend to achieve at a higher rate in our schools. For this reason, I am engaged with our lawmakers and business leaders in efforts to improve student outcomes by raising the overall quality of life for children and their parents throughout our district.”


Guice added, “No child should be forced to attend failing school, and we must work collectively as stakeholders to bring about the practical reforms needed to ensure a brighter future for all our children.”




Written by demon53

October 6, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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