Common Core is failing the “parent test” in Louisiana

Common Core is failing the “parent test” in Louisiana

You might not know this from reading the newspapers or tuning into your televisions programs that have been bought out by Common Core supporters, but if you’re a parent and you’ve been listening to your neighbors and teachers and using your eyes you know what you are seeing is not what you are being misled to believe. October 17th John White tried to pay a stop to Mandeville High to rally support for Common Core, but what he thought would be a an easy slam dunk of a conversation turned into a serious embarrassment – that was not covered by any newspaper articles I’ve seen. The road leading into the High School, Skipper Drive was lined with signs like the ones below and tells the story of how that visit went.

It was reported to me that rather than meet with the entire school, John White held a secret private meeting at the school and then went out to dinner with some local legislators, where they all sat around drinking sugary flavored drinks, and agreeing with each other.

Local media was briefed on this plan ahead of time, but chose not to run anything on the opposition to Common Core. However at urging from John White and the Louisiana Department of Education, the Advocate started making inquiries of the property owners if their local ordinances and neighborhood associations permitted yard signs like this. I would cancel my subscription to the Advocate if anyone still has one. That type of intimidation and bullying is ridiculous and truly shows how subservient our local media has become to our local politicians.

If I was working for the Advocate I would be embarrassed, although I’m sure I would have been fired a long time ago for trying to report the truth instead of the lies my owners wanted me to report to appease local politicians. If you were wondering why the Advocate only reports one sided reports of the Common Core situation, the reason is money and politics. I make no money from my blog (and have turned down offers of financial support in the past – although if Bill Gates wanted to give me a million dollars like he has everyone else I’d probably tattoo CCSS on my chest. If you see me wearing one of those I beg you to stop listening to me. . . ) so I am free to report what others are afraid too, or paid not to do.

St Tammany is not the only parish where protests are taking place. I have heard of similar events in Vermillion and Terrebonne. An “all in one” sign is apparently circulating in Terrebonne along with magnets and decals.

In Caddo and the northern part of our state the conservative Louisiana Power Coalition and Diane Long is making an impression and a stand against Common Core.



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In the central part of our state the Acadiana Patriots, and their allies, are taking a stand and going community to community, library, to town hall, to community center informing parents of the poorly contrived Common Core. I have some very interesting footage of some of their meetings I will try and post later. This group was also in involved in the rally at the LDOE a few weeks back that I attended.

On Facebook I’ve been invited to a half dozen local anti-Common Core groups from different parishes.

Our Teachers Unions, LAE and LFT are opposed to LDOE’s ill-conceived rollout of Common Core.

The only people that seem to be in favor of Common Core are Exxon, LDOE and the Advocate. So put that newspaper in the trashcan, pass by that Exxon station, and open your eyes and ears so you can see and hear the truth. Common Core is under siege, and for good reason, and no amount of printed lies and staged news conferences will change that. The only people that still think Common Core is a great idea for our children have been spending too much time with the Common Core Kool-Aid man.

Back away from the punch, Louisiana. This guy does not belong around our children.

Louisiana Releases new SPS school grade scale, in bright colors, to make easier for Louisiana parents to understand

Louisiana Releases new SPS school grade scale, in bright colors, to make easier for Louisiana parents to understand

October 24, 2013

Baton Rouge, LA

Today John White and the Louisiana Department of education have released a new grade scale they believe will make it easier to understand SPS, School Performance scores. Whereas in the past, the old, yucky score scale was printed out in monochrome grey, the new scale features the word “NEW” with colorful dashes around the word “New” and comes in 5 new bright colors. When asked about the change, John White replied:

“Why should Apple iPhones get to come in all those fancy colors and not our SPS score scale? It just didn’t make sense to parents that they would get a grade of ‘A’ but still be stuck with a grey letter just a few shades lighter than an ‘F’. Now parents will be able to proudly display that their kids attend an ‘A’ school in greenish chartreuse. Even parents of ‘F’ school students have improved options under this new system.”

Figure 1 Taking their cue from apple, LA redesigned their SPS scoring system

When asked for official comment, LDOE spokesperson Erin Bendily reported that they decided to go to the simpler scale so parents could color coordinate their school choice with their car paint jobs and personal palette preference.

“No longer will parents be fettered by the color of low expectations.”

When BESE president Chas Roemer was contacted for comment he had this to say:

“Everyone knows the SPS scores are meaningless. LDOE juggles the formulae every year and we just approve whatever John White tells us to approve. I’m a lawyer so I don’t have to do math, so that 150 points could be 150 bagillion trillion millioniplex for all I know. What I do know is that new scales are always better and less confusing than old scales. By the way, did you know my daddy was Governor?”

To further explain how much simpler these scales were, John White had this to say in the Times Picayune:

“We are providing a transition letter grade so that schools can see using the same formula as last year how well they did this year,” he said. “And we’re including the new grade to ensure that as we transition to the new system, we give families a clear apples to apples comparison.”

Obviously since no one understood scores previously, including those scores along with new scores will make things easier for parents to understand. And who can’t see a difference in color (except for color blind parents who will sadly be unimpressed by the new scores.) To further explain how simple the new method is John White provided this very simple breakdown and the old scale and new scale.

As for the method of grading, the previous rating system for elementary schools counted student scores on iLEAP and LEAP tests for 90 percent of the school’s grade. School attendance accounted for 10 percent of the grade. Now, however, these schools will be graded entirely student test scores.

For middle schools, 90 percent was formerly based on test scores, 5 percent on attendance and 5 percent on dropout rates. This year, 95 percent will be based on test scores, and 5 percent will be based on how many students drop out or don’t progress to the next grade level.

At the high school level, 70 percent of the school’s grade was based on end-of-course examinations, 30 percent on graduation rates. This year, 25 percent will be based on ACT scores, 25 percent on end-of-course exams and 50 percent on graduation rates.

Another change is that schools no longer will receive any points for students scoring in the two lowest tiers of LEAP and iLEAP exams: unsatisfactory and approaching basic. But in an effort to avoid a drastic decrease in some schools’ scores, the state is implementing a bonus system, where schools may receive as many as 10 points for students who scored in the two lowest tiers but who made significant progress from the previous year.

White says he does not expect to see a drastic shift in the number of schools rated highly or poorly under the new grading system. He has proposed that no matter how elementary and middle school students performed on tests this year, no school would see its letter grade drop more than one letter grade.

This year’s scale is:

  • A — 100-150 points
  • B — 85-99.9
  • C — 70-84.9
  • D — 50-69.9
  • F –0-49.9

    The previous scale was:

  • A — 120-200
  • B –105-119.9
  • C – 90-104.9
  • D –75-89.9
  • F — 0-74.9

So there you have it folks. The new SPS scoring system LDOE has been working on for 6 months before releasing SPS scores. They needed to multiply the previous numbers by 0.75. Now I really feel like my tax dollars are being put to good use.

I also go this explanation from an anonymous tipster for why it took so long to release the scores.

I don’t suppose it has ANY bearing on the holdup of school performance scores, (wink wink nudge nudge), but it seems there’s a bit of a headache with the voucher schools & students….

Seems that, of the 21 voucher-receiving schools that had enough data to get a ‘comparable’ SPS, the score breakdown is: 1 B, 2 Ds and 18 would have an F. Yes, you read that right; 18 of 21 would have an F. The department is desperately trying to figure out a way to give these schools “bonus points” so that they don’t appear as ‘bad’ as they are (hesitant to  use that term about any school), but they need to play with the entire data set…so, they can’t release a score for fear it will end up changing.

There’s also a ‘slight’ problem with the data collections…it’s so bad in the non-public schools (which never bother updating info….look who I’m telling!) that students were included in both the NPS as well as their original public schools…neither the total numbers or percentages match up.

Apparently the bonus points are for the voucher schools. So voucher schools that were super crappy, but did a little better, get a 10 point bump to their score to make it look like they dramatically improved. So reporter guys, please look at that before you go off the deep end gushing about how those schools have posted dramatic gains. I’d really appreciate it if I don’t have to correct any more of your stories for you. I have my own to write. Thanks. CCF