It’s all about a choice. School choice rings from the hills as the clarion call from reformers. “Parents need a choice,” they say smugly, while counting their private foundation grant cash in their skinny jeans. And who could argue? Choice sounds great. It’s like Burger King: school anyway you want it.
So some parents got a choice. Without information. With smug sloganeering about superior private schools, filled with visions of their children studying philosophy in wood-paneled prep academies. Instead, they got snowed in a White-out:
As Gov. Bobby Jindal tries again to fund his controversial school voucher program, new test scores indicate that many of the current students educated with public money in private schools are not thriving. Or at least they aren’t yet.
Released Wednesday, LEAP scores for third- through eighth-graders show only 40 percent of voucher students scored at or above grade level this past spring. The state average for all students was 69 percent.
For accountability purposes, students attending private schools at taxpayer expense take the same standardized tests as their peers in public schools. In 2011, when the voucher program operated only in New Orleans, students averaged 33 percent proficiency.
Now seven schools in Jefferson and Orleans parishes have results so low — less than 25 percent of voucher students proficient for three years running — that they have been barred from accepting new voucher students in the fall, as per state policy. In Orleans, the schools are Life of Christ Academy, the Upperroom Bible Church Academy, Bishop McManus, Conquering Word Christian Academy Eastbank and Holy Rosary Academy. In Jefferson, they are Faith Christian Academy and Conquering Word Christian Academy.
From failing schools to failing schools. A difference without a distinction. Choosing without a choice. And John White sees the writing on the wall. As the walls of Jindal’s Education reform sandcastle tumble down in the courts and legislature, White is out the door:
Rumors have persisted for several days now that White would be leaving his post at the end of the current legislative session, which must adjourn by June 6.
Those rumors reached a new pitch on Wednesday with word that White would be headed “for Duncanland” in June.
For those unfamiliar with the Obama cabinet, “Duncanland” would be Washington where Arne Duncan serves as Secretary of Education. Before joining the Obama administration, Duncan served as chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools whence controversial former Recovery School District Superintendent Paul Vallas came. White succeeded Vallas as RSD superintendent before being elevated to his current post by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) at the behest of Gov. Bobby Jindal in January of 2012.
BESE President Chas Roemer, contacted about the report that White was headed for Washington, said he had not heard any such report.
To the escape hatches! No ed reformer hack left behind!
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, Louisiana, because Bobby J’s crackpot voucher scheme just took a death blow from the Louisiana Supreme Court. By a vote of 6-1, the Supreme Court invalidated the voucher payment plan, citing the fact that using MFP funds to pay private school tuition was unconstitutional. Read more:
The key issue is whether the source of public school aid — it is called the Minimum Foundation Program, called MFP — can be used to pay for vouchers, which finance tuition and some mandatory fees.
The ruling struck down the MFP funding mechanism that the Louisiana Legislature overwhelmingly approved last year.
State Superintendent of Education John White said earlier that the voucher aid alone costs about $22 million per year.
The state is facing a $1.3 billion shortfall for the upcoming financial year to maintain aid for state services at current levels.
White has said he is confident that, even if vouchers were struck down, state officials would find a way to continue the aid.
He did not spell out specifics. White is in Washington, D.C. Tuesday.
The ruling said: “We agree with the district court that once funds are dedicated to the state’s Minimum Foundation Program for public education, the constitution prohibits those funds from being expended on the tuition costs of nonpublic schools and nonpublic entities.”
Johnny WHITE is surfing his CV for some new gigs. This ship is going way, way down.
Voucher-proponents are rightly dumbfounded, but insist the state will continue to pay for them. With a $1.3 state budget deficit, you can bet that ain’t going to happen.
Voucher oucher indeed.
Gone in 30 days: DOA ignores regulation which requires three-year retention of all public records, including emails
News reporters from other states are quick to point out that Louisiana has one of the strongest public records laws in the country. A New York reporter, for example, was surprised to learn that LouisianaVoice was complaining about a month’s delay in obtaining public records from the Department of Education (DOE) and Division of Administration (DOA).
“I have an FOIA (Freedom of Information Act; the equivalent to Louisiana’s R.S.
By Robert Mann
I'll stipulate that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is not a racist.
Nor are the Republican members of the House Health and Welfare Committee who Wednesday voted unanimously to reject billions in federal funds to expand the state's Medicaid program to the state's working poor.
But I do believe that Jindal and some opponents of Medicaid expansion are employing nasty racial stereotypes and ugly coded language to defeat it.
Today, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal finally admitted, for the very first time, that the controversial Louisiana Science Education Act, which he signed into law during his first year in office, was designed and intended to allow public schools the ability to teach creationism as legitimate scientific theory.
Jindal made his comments to NBC News correspondent Hoda Kotb, during tail end of an interview at the Education Nation conference in New Orleans.
By Tom Swain
Governor Jindal wants to do away with state income taxes. His earlier proposals attempted to raise an equivalent amount of revenue from sales taxes. He now stresses his desire to end income taxes, but seems willing to let the Legislature find the replacement funding.
In his speech to the Legislature on Monday, he spoke about wanting people to stay in Louisiana, of wanting people to move here from states like Texas and Florida.
So yesterday went well for the Governor, huh? Apparently all that tax-hiking talk was for naught, because he just got right up there and asked the legislature to go ahead and get rid of the income tax… and that’s it. Let’s not worry about replacing that revenue with a sales tax hike anymore.
His reasoning was basically, “My brother lives in another state, and he won’t come back until we get rid of the income tax. So do it for MY BROTHER!“
Talking Points Memo took note of the larger context, and it wasn’t good for BJ or the GOP:
Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA), considered a leading presidential contender in 2016, is suffering a political meltdown in his home state. His approval rating plummeted to 38 percent in a poll last week by the non-partisan Southern Media Opinion & Research, down from 60 percent just a year ago. In an ominous sign for national Republicans, the immediate cause is a sweeping economic agenda with strong parallels to the House GOP’s latest budget.
On Monday, Jindal scrapped his own proposal to eliminate the state’s income and corporate taxes and replace them with a statewide tax on sales and business services. His retreat was a concession to the reality that the proposal was headed towards a humiliating defeat — and taking Jindal down with it along the way. Jindal said in a speech to lawmakers that the backlash against his plan “certainly wasn’t the reaction I was hoping to hear,” but that he would respect the public’s wishes and start again.”
By Robert Mann
In his five years as governor, Jindal has never been politically weaker. And he has never faced a legislature more skeptical of his policies.
In short, the stakes for him have never been higher.
What happens in the next three months could determine whether he is a failed governor.
Key findings here:
The governor received a 38 percent approval rating in the spring 2013 survey, compared to 51 percent last October. A number of issues contributed to Jindal’s low performance, including state cuts to higher education and health care, plans to privatize the charity hospital system and the governor’s proposed state tax overhaul.
Gov. Jindal’s proposed tax reform plan was particularly unpopular. Sixty-three percent opposed the plan to abolish personal and corporate income taxes and raise state sales taxes, while only 27 percent supported it.
That second piece is incredible. 63% of people are OPPOSED to the sales tax swap that Jindal has proposed.
Medicaid expansion continues to show majority support:
Gov. Jindal has refused to take part in a Medicaid expansion available under the new health care reform law, claiming it would cost too much money. Sen. Landrieu says the governor is putting his political ambitions ahead of the state’s health and economic interests.When respondents were asked whom they agreed with more,Landrieu had a slight edge over Jindal–49 percent to 46 percent…
Oh, and the kicker. Obama is more popular than Jindal:
Overall, 43 percent approved of the president’s job performance compared to 56 percent who do not,which is slightly better than Jindal’s rating.
Mary Landrieu also looks fairly good, with a 56% approval rating.
You can read more on Lane Grigsby’s latest poll here. Lots of his pet issues, including term limits for all statewide elected officials and more.