Atlanta, you ain’t got nothin’ on cheatin’ compared to Louisiana

Atlanta, you ain’t got nothin’ on cheatin’ compared to Louisiana

At least Atlanta had the decency to only modify test scores, but they didn’t lie about the very existence of schools.  The Atlanta scandal seemed to be confined to a single district’s schenanigans, but in Louisiana, the entire State Department of Education is corrupt and in cahoots with the cheaters, and they seem to be doing this with the blessings of the Federal Department of Education.

You see, a little more than a year ago I notified my superiors at the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) that we had at least one district was not reporting schools to us that were in operation, and instead reporting those students as if they were enrolled at other schools to boost those schools SPS (School Performance Scores.) (I’ve been told many more schools were doing this but i did the background on just one small one district and reported this finding to my superiors.)  I sent a request to this district that they start reporting the students at these schools listed on their websites (each school had its own website maintained by students or faculty) and listed in various news articles as schools.  This issue immediately got picked up by the highest officials in the Louisiana Department of Education, including our acting Superintendent, Ollie Tyler, the head of our Accountability deparment Scott Norton, the parish superintendent Ed Cancienne, and Linda Johnson,  the BESE board representative for this district.  It was at this point I learned this was an issue already well known to the previous superintendent, Paul Pastorek.

The Parish (county to folks outside of Louisiana) doing this is Iberville.  You can check out their website here.  If you click on the schools listing you will be able to follow along with my story (until they yank their website. . . don’t worry I copied tons of docs and screen captures in the event LDOE or Iberville decide to try to conceal this issue now.)  Under the schools listing please notice the Alternative Schools dropdown list.  You will see the Math Arts and Sciences Academy East and the Math Arts and Sciences Academy West.

These “schools” have never been reported to the State of Louisiana. Both campuses have been in operation since 2008. Both of these schools have gotten new buildings built – just for their students. However none of those students, nor any of their test scores or other demographics are reported to the state. These are Magnet schools (meaning for advanced students and coursework – for Louisiana.) As the name implies the purpose of these schools is to attract better students to a better environment. I went to a magnet school myself, so I can attest to the value of them over traditional schools . . . but that’s kind of the point. These schools are newer campuses (in Iberville these are the first new school buildings built in the last 20 years according to some of their own published materials) and the teachers are usually the best, and the schools are often the best funded. Magent schools generally have much better test scores than their peers as they attract the best students.  These schools often the best local partnerships with local businesses and often get a lion share of media attention. The other schools are left with whatever is left over in terms of students, teachers and resources.

While the magnet schools are a good deal for the students that can attend, the rest of the district gets crapped on as a result. In Louisiana, if you have schools that do consistently poorly, they can be taken over by the state and the funding yanked out from under them and given to a charter operator. I’m not a big fan of that, which I’ve covered in numerous other postings, however “them’s the rules” that everyone else has to live by (in theory.) So what is an enterprising district to do? Well of course you need the state funding for these students in these schools that don’t officially exist, and school performance scores are determined based on test scores (in addition to dropout rates, attendance rates, etc.) These magnet schools excel in those areas. What Iberville (and probably other schools and districts in Louisiana) has done is report those magnet school students as if they were attending the crappier leftover schools. This boosts the leftover schools SPS scores and makes them ineligible for takeover. It deludes the parents of those schools into thinking their schools are better than they are and the students are either less eligible or ineligible to qualify for vouchers. In return, this district and the parents are more supportive of John White’s privatization agenda – an agenda that harms everyone else in the State, but Iberville never needs to worry about it applying to them. Sweet deal.

Now here’s some assorted items of proof. I’ve tried reporting this to the folks at EDEN/Edfacts many many times (not as crazycrawfish) and never got a single response. The Feds either don’t care or know and are afraid to do anything that might shine negatively on their rising star. (I also have a number of other letters and documents that have been sent to the Feds in regards to Louisiana’s subterfuge in adhering to NCLB and accountability and they have likewise been met with silence. I will reveal some of those later.)

Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to two schools that have never been documented outside of Iberville Parish, except in favorable news articles.

Link on Iberville’s site to “Official” Website

Welcome to the Math, Science and Arts Academy

Home of the Knights

Click Here for our Official Website

57955 St. Louis Rd.

Plaquemine, LA 70764

MSAW   Orientation Presentations(Note: Presentations are Large File Size – High Bandwidth   Connection Suggested to View)

1300+ students listed in this story from the advocate at just ONE of the campuses. .. this district only has 4400 students!

By Terry L. Jones

Westside bureau

June 23, 2012

PLAQUEMINE — The Iberville Parish School System on Friday marked a major expansion of its Math, Science and Arts Academy-West campus with opening ceremonies for its $2.4 million Science, Technology, Engineering and Math learning center.

The new 11,000-square-foot center took a little more than a year to construct and adds five additional classrooms to the academy, one of them a fully equipped chemistry laboratory, project manager Patrick Norris said.

“It’s designed to be energy efficient,” Norris said.

Officials said the kindergarten through 12th-grade college preparatory academy has “blossomed” since it was established in 2008 on land the Gay family donated to the school system.

The Rev. Karen Gay, who blessed the new STEM Center during the ceremony, said she never thought there would be a day when she’d get lost roaming around the school.

The STEM Center is the fourth phase of the academy’s ongoing construction, said Ed Cancienne, superintendent of Iberville Parish public schools.

Cancienne said further phases call for renovating the academy’s front entrance and construction of a performance arts center.

Elvis Cavalier, chief academic officer for the school system, said some 1,370 students are enrolled at MSA-West Academy, including many who also attend classes at Louisiana State University.

LSU Chancellor Michael Martin, who was among several officials and faculty members from the university attending the event, offered encouragement to the students and took a tour of the new STEM building.

of Education, told the audience that LSU College of Education majors would assist Iberville’s college preparatory academies by providing “innovative” teaching experiences through field training programs such as internships, tutoring and student teaching.

Martin said the academy is a great example of the kind of partnership the state’s flagship university should have with a local school district.

“Others ought to come and see what’s been done here,” Martin said. “Whether it’s LSU or other universities in the state, these kinds of linkages serve the students well. The kids will succeed and they’ll succeed because they have a wonderful, powerful start here.”

East websites

Welcome to the


We have a new website. Please visit us by clicking on or copying and pasting the following link in your browser.

School Hours

K-5 – 8:24-3:30

6-12 – 7:24-2:30

School History

The Iberville Mathematics, Science and Arts Academy – East opened its doors in August 2008 on the grounds of the St. Gabriel Community Center. It began with six classrooms in temporary buildings as well as a few of the Community Center’s facilities. Now the East Academy is housed in its own beautiful new campus, serving students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Why Attend the MSA Academy?

  1. -Innovative teaching with smaller class sizes in grades 7-12
  2. -Technology-rich environment
  3. -One-to-one laptop initiative
  4. -Smart boards in every classroom
  5. -State-of-the-art science labs
  6. -Advanced Placement (AP) and Dual Enrollment (DE) credit courses for 11th and 12th grade
  7. -Project- and challenge-based learning, problem-solving, and critical thinking
  8. -Safe, positive environment with few discipline problems
  9. -Faculty focused on excellence
  10. -Alliances with LSU, ULM, and other universities
  11. -Unique activities and field trips



Charles Johnson

Dean of Students

Susan Schlecht


Master Teachers

Rob Howle

Office Staff

Administrative Assistant

Carondalette Stewart



Campus Staff


Food Service

Elementary School Faculty


Laura LaSalle

Emily Mizell

First Grade

Tarmecia Jolla

Second Grade

Mary Grace Beavers

Third Grade

Mandy Goodwin

Kellye Carville

Fourth/Fifth Grade

Katie Dicharry

Leafreedya Smith

Middle/High School Faculty

Alison Adams

Ron Allen

Latonya Broussard

Danielle Butcher

Mary Ellen Day

Rebecca Denton

Jill Edenfield

Joanne Griffin

Terrie Hasten

Stacey Jackson

Jackie Lodge

Maurice Miles

Sara O’Neal

Rebecca Adams Polk

Tracey Martin Warren

Andrew Wyly

Drew Zeringue

State Rankings of schools by district (from LDOE website)  Look up Iberville and notice what’s missing.

Some press releases about these schools. . .



a report about the parish from the state’s website

From a 2009 press release posted to Iberville’s site.

From LDOE’s school directory

Just one of these shadow schools was reported by the advocate to house over 1300 students in a district of 4487 and most of thier schools are still listed as “D” schools.  How terrible must those other schools be?????


I have dated emails from and referring to the people i mentioned also including the names of numerous other LDOE personnel (I’m such a packrat). It would be shame if I had to produce those and embarrass all of those people. I would imagine if someone were to make an e-mail FOIA (Freedom Of Information Act) request based on the headings on some of these e-mails they would discover more of the motivations behind abetting this district’s subterfuge. Just a thought. . . I also have some other neat pieces of info I will produce later (did you know this district actually created and produced and published their very own test scores for these “schools” and compared their results to state averages? Neat huh!)

These scores are amde all the more impressive because the school listed doesn’t officially exist. . . Except to parents in Iberville Parish

Iberville maintains two sets of books for their schools.  One set of books they use for internal tracking, scheduling and maintenance, and another set gets sent to the Louisiana Department of Education and from there to the US Department of Education.

Another interesting article.  I wonder how this group knew of this school down to the demographics and achievement level to qualify for an award since only Iberville knows of its existence?

Incidentally LDOE knows all about these documents and has pretended to turn a blind eye to the situation. As long as  district supports their initiatives publicly, and shows improvement, even if fraudulent and fictitious, they don’t care as it serves their purpose.  There are many blind eyes at LDOE right now, and I will show you what they refuse to see or attend to in the weeks that follow.

How can you trust anything that comes out of an education agency that doesn’t even care if people report their schools?

How can a system as complicated as Value Added be even remotely credible when we don’t even know where the kids are, let alone who’s giving them tests or what they are scoring?

Can anything that comes out of LDOE be credible with such a known failing as allowing districts to report students to whatever schools boost their test scores, by keeping some of the better schools off the books and in the shadows?

I could prove scores of more deceitful situations just like this, but LDOE will not release any data because they know what they have is utter crap.  They even laid off or drove off all of their data collection people. . .  Why collect real data when you can report data that punishes your enemies and rewards your friends and validates your theories?

Until John White and his band of juvenile TFA delinquents are evicted from our education standings will sink not just to last in the US, but last in the world.  That’s the world-class education system we are in for folks!  If you can’t reach for the top, jump to the bottom.  John White is bringing us there with both feet. . . and once he has achieved his goals he will be gone and we will be left with exactly what we asked for. . . a world-class disrespected laughing-stock of an education system.

Louisiana Believes!


The Nuclear Option is Civil Disobedience

The Nuclear Option is Civil Disobedience

If the school Reform movement was honest about its goals (improving education being the theoretical keystone) it would try to engage teachers and other education stakeholders in a dialogue.  It would conduct research on charter school methods that work and try to implement those in traditional public schools.  Instead of focusing on trying to identify and exclude “bad teachers” it would be trying to identify teachers with weak areas, or more specifically, students with insufficient mastery of tested subjects and work to improve the curriculum to address those deficiencies.  Instead of principals getting reports on which teachers are “good” or “bad” Reformers would be producing reports on which subjects need to be emphasized more and which teachers might need more targeted development or mentoring.  Those are all things the Reform movement could  have taken on, could have promoted and could have tried to do; but those things are hard and take expertise and degrees in education many of these Reformers with degrees like political science, economics, and government policy don’t have.  Instead what they have done is try to implement a radical Free Market corporate driven approach (based on crappy untested, unproven and incomplete data I  might add) to try to cull the teacher herd and bring forth a few stars to shame the rest of the flock.

Now, some might think this is just good policy.  The free market at work and all that.  Maybe this will bring out the best in everyone and everyone will try harder and the kids will succeed.  Maybe we don’t actually have to invest in schools or education, simply in a Darwinist approach to identifying the best and brightest, like astronauts we recruit for the space program?

There are, however, a few problems with that approach I’d like to point out.

  • Teachers are not paid well enough to compensate them for making this a career choice requiring such a high degree of instability and competitiveness (this has been identified as a weakness by reformers actually and they’ve talked a lot about vastly improving teacher pay for high performers, while in most cases vastly underfunding school districts – which directly impacts these same pay checks and teachers – so good luck with that.)  Take a look at this graph and tell me you want to go into teaching and put up with all the demonizing and demoralizing teachers are enduring these days.  Teachers still make less than students with just a vocational certificate you can earn in high school and people with vocational associates degrees earn more than teachers with bachelors.  Even all those weird liberal arts majors that studied extinct Romance languages no one ever heard of makes more than teachers. Way to “bring-it” Reformers!
Come be a teacher! We’ll treat you like crap and pay you like we treat you.
  • We need exponentially more teachers than NASA astronauts.  Only about 250 NASA astronauts have been to space, ever.   According to census data we had more than 7.2 million teachers in the US in 2009.  Only about 28% of the US population over 25 has a bachelor’s degree or higher.  About half the population of about 300 million is between the ages of 25 and 65.  That means assuming all those folks were potential employable teachers, teachers make up about 18% of all employed persons in the US with the necessary education (bachelors degree or higher.)
  • The teaching profession and teaching professionals improve in an environment where lesson plans can be shared, teaching methods shared, where improvement of one is good for all.  In a cutthroat environment advocated by reformists, where the very top teachers are rewarded and the bottom are terminated, good luck keeping that environment intact.
  • While some teachers will undoubtedly excel in cutthroat environments, they will be few, and the vast majority of our teachers will burn out or fail without a supportive climate.  The very best performers will be tapped for leadership roles or actively seek them out, such is the nature of highly effective and competitive people.  What we will be left with legions of untrained, unsupported and demoralized teachers.
  • The incentivization and punitive measures assume teachers are simply lazy and a bigger stick and tastier carrot is all that is needed to magically squeeze better teaching methods and outcomes for students.  I learned you can’t squeeze blood from a turnip even before I went to school.  I wonder where Reformers learned the opposite?  What is needed is targeted professional development and a communal reward system that encourages everyone to work together and share knowledge and teaching methods.  Incentivize the entire school for doing better as well as outstanding programs and individuals and reward long-term outcomes, and not just growth, but maintaining outstanding programs.
  • Growth within a ranged scale cannot be infinite and the value added system actually punishes teachers that don’t “add” sufficient test points over an averagly defined teacher.  For students already performing at a high level, teachers can be punished erroneously because they didn’t achieve an unrealistic outcome some incomplete algorithm (no algorithm can take into account the entire human condition such as a recent death in the family or head injury and quantify it as data points even assuming such information was available.  We don’t even factor in 504 status and last I heard homelessness wasn’t considered a mitigating factor either.) says they should have.
  • Student outcomes are more than test scores.  The reform movement actually is trying to tie all positions with student interactions to a test score or some other metric like students are just points of data.  I’ve sat on several committees with social workers and psychologists at the Louisiana Department of Education where we tasked with coming up a method for measuring school social workers.   So really, we’ve come to this?  How many suicides do you have at your school?  Did the student you were counseling that was gang raped do as well as she should have on her test, compared to other student similarly gang raped similar demographics, or with parents killed in car accidents, or that student that was paralyzed, lost a limb, eye, face, from a drunk driver.  Really, I’m not making this shit up.  The guys in charge of the “reforming education” have lost their way. . . in a big way.
  • The Reform movement is taking advantage of FERPA to hide results from stakeholders so they can manipulate the results to their liking and report outcomes with as positive a spin as they can muster, and still more often than not you will only see them tout their “successes” by comparing the results to something catastrophically horrible, or reporting select instances of “success.”  They never publish the whole story. . . believe me.  Data must be approved by media staff and only the positive results or positively spun data makes it out without a fight.
  • I could go on, and maybe I will return to this later, but these are just some of the observations off the top of my head.

So what’s to be done?  Things probably seem hopeless to many of you teachers out there.  Corporations and partisan vampire non-profits like ALEC have control of the legislatures in states where an oversized Reform boot jammed to the back of the necks of teachers and their unions.  Maybe it would be best if you all just retire so they can turn the schools into for profit virtual schools run by NewsCorp, or DVD driven diploma mills?

Or maybe we could fight back. . . and beat them at their own game?

These data worshipping (and defiling) Reformists need something from you to convince people to buy the overnitrated silage they are selling.  They need data.  They need you to be accurate and punctual.  They need SSN’s of students to track them longitudinally and calculate expected point increases even though they are not actually legally entitled to require.

How do I know?  Allow me to let you in on a little secret our lawyers asked me to hide in our Student Information System user guide.SSN numbers cannot be made mandatory

What?  You didn’t read this section falling between pages 190 and 191 of the current SIS User Guide –that is only included to cover DOE’s tail in the event a parent tries to bring a lawsuit against a school district or DOE about requiring a SSN for enrolling a student which can’t legally by done by federal law?  Oops.  I assumed everyone knew.  I hope there aren’t any teachers or parents dissatisfied with the Reform movement enough to start refusing to present SSN cards or numbers when registering students.

Now for some technical stuff. . .

The internal DOE number used to sort out test scores is based in large part on SSN.  This number is used to assign internal numbers to students which are used to build a longitudinal testing record, which then gets used to build a projected test score based on the student’s demographics and previous history.  Currently DOE’s match rate is in the 99%, in large part because they have between 95-98% of all student’s SSN’s.  If just say, 10-20% of students stopped providing SSN’s that could have fairly significant repurcussions for the data quality.  LDOE also uses a number of other matching elements like first and last name, DOB, ethnic code, and gender to perform matches and then some matches have to be done by hand every year by humans reviewing unmatched records and so forth.  As long as you enter your students with the same name and other key demographics the system will find a match, and reformers can credibly relay that they are projecting test scores and grading teachers based on those assignment and assigning students to teachers and so forth.  Sometimes it gets a little difficult to find matches when names change – students deciding they want to go by a nickname for instance. . .

Now if class schedules were to get messed up, that would be a whole ‘nother ball of wax to try to sort out.  You see, the class schedule records is how DOE knows in large part which students are assigned to Mrs. Jackson’s math class.  The class code is important too because if the wrong code was used, then that class would not be included in the Value Added calculations.  Without proper test scores we’d never know that Mrs. Jackson should be graded based on the outcomes of certain students.  There’s also a correction period for “fixing” class schedules around Febraury and March that is largely unsupervised except by principals, if they get around to it.  If a number of low performing students were removed from your class during this correction period, would anyone know?  I wonder. . .

Nuclear Civil Disobedience
What Nuclear Civil Disobedience might look like?