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
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.”
Welcome to the
We have a new website. Please visit us by clicking on or copying and pasting the following link in your browser.
K-5 – 8:24-3:30
6-12 – 7:24-2:30
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?
- -Innovative teaching with smaller class sizes in grades 7-12
- -Technology-rich environment
- -One-to-one laptop initiative
- -Smart boards in every classroom
- -State-of-the-art science labs
- -Advanced Placement (AP) and Dual Enrollment (DE) credit courses for 11th and 12th grade
- -Project- and challenge-based learning, problem-solving, and critical thinking
- -Safe, positive environment with few discipline problems
- -Faculty focused on excellence
- -Alliances with LSU, ULM, and other universities
- -Unique activities and field trips
Dean of Students
Elementary School Faculty
Mary Grace Beavers
Middle/High School Faculty
Mary Ellen Day
Rebecca Adams Polk
Tracey Martin Warren
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!)
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.