Showing posts with label school vouchers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label school vouchers. Show all posts

Saturday, June 29, 2013


Brilliant post by CenLamar exposing the lack of responsibility and oversight of the school voucher program, a pet project of Bobby Jindal and State Superintendent of Education, John White, part of a plan to destroy public education in Louisiana.
Yesterday, after more than a year of sustained criticism in the state, national, and even international media, Louisiana Superintendent John White (no relation) announced the Department of Education was banning the New Living Word School in Ruston, Louisiana from participating in the so-called Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program (the SSEEP), more commonly known as the school voucher program. Under the direction of Governor Bobby Jindal and the majority Republican state legislature, Superintendent White is responsible for rolling out and implementing the most expansive school voucher program in the nation’s history, a program that potentially qualifies as many as 56% of Louisiana students.
Read it all, and weep for the children of Louisiana.  Note especially the leaked email from White to "muddy up the narrative," rather than deal with the revelations about the inadequacies of New Living Word School long before now.

Since the Louisiana State Legislature is responsible for enabling this type of scam, I blame them for supinely bowing before the governor to pass legislation allowing the mad voucher scheme to go forward.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


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.

[Superintendent John] White said the 2013 scores for voucher students were low because of the large influx of students from failing schools.
That's right, Superintendent White, blame the public schools for the less than stellar results of the brilliant plan by you and Governor Jindal to improve education in Louisiana by privatization.  I'm not at all surprised at the results.  At least some of the voucher schools teach junk science and junk history.  What do you expect?  Roman Catholic schools do a creditable job of educating children, but it appears that a good many of the new "academies" that sprang into existence when vouchers became available to private schools are not the solution to poor performance by educational institutions in Louisiana.

Public schools have been struggling from cuts in funding from the state since Jindal took office in his first term, and, were it not for the Louisiana Supreme Court ruling that paying for vouchers from public school funds was unconstitutional, the schools would have suffered further as more and more voucher money was siphoned away from their budgets.  Keep in mind that private schools can weed out troublesome students and students with challenges, but public schools must accept all who apply.
Why not focus on improving public schools?
"Anytime you start something new, it's going to take some time to grow," White said. "Nearly two thirds of the kids taking tests in those schools had only been there six months."

And he pointed out that the state did take seven schools off the voucher list. "After a period of time we cannot tolerate failure," he said.
Come now, Mr White, no more excuses for the poor results in the private school voucher program that you and Governor Jindal esteem so highly; take responsibility for the consequences of your grand plan.  If the two had their way, the end result would be the gradual destruction of public school systems in the state, and what would replace them?  More "academies"?

According to the article, White did not actually take seven schools off the voucher list; he merely stopped them from accepting new voucher students, so, in my book, he is still tolerating failure.

Oh, and lets not forget the earlier glitch in the effort by Jindal and White to provide quality online education by private companies to the students of Louisiana. 

When will Jindal and White have gone far enough down the road of poor results to give them a grade of  F in educational reform?   

Friday, February 15, 2013


A new national poll focused on Louisiana shows Gov. Bobby Jindal with only a 37 percent approval rating and it also indicates that Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., leads several potential opponents in her 2014 re-election bid.

The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, of North Carolina, which conducts polls for Democrats and progressives, focused on Landrieu’s re-election chances, but also took note of Jindal, whom the firm polled at a 58 percent approval rating in 2010. The poll was not done for the Landrieu campaign.

The new poll that places Jindal at a 37 percent approval rating was conducted Friday to Tuesday by surveying 603 Louisiana voters through automated telephone interviews. Jindal had a 57 percent disapproval rating in the new poll.
From the Advocate today:
Gov. Bobby Jindal said Thursday everything is on the table as he tries to develop a plan that eliminates personal and corporate income taxes in a “revenue neutral” way.

“We don’t have a proposal yet,” Jindal said.

Jindal met briefly with local reporters following an event at the Governor’s Mansion honoring couples who had been married in excess of 70 years.

He fielded a half-dozen questions in his first availability to State Capitol reporters in about four months.  (My emphasis)
 Perhaps his low poll numbers got the governor's attention, and he decided to throw a bone to the local media and meet with them briefly and answer a few questions.

Note that Jindal's new tax plan is not yet ready.  The next regular session of the Louisiana Legislature will convene on April 8, 2013.  Will the tax plan be presented to the lawmakers at the eleventh hour and rushed through without giving the legislators time to examine the plan closely, as was the voucher bill for private schools, the financing of which has already been called into question by the State District Court?
Judge Timothy Kelley of State District Court ruled that the way in which the state finances its new voucher program violates the state Constitution, as it relies on money intended in “plain and unambiguous” terms solely for public schools.
As Jindal's minions in the legislature speeded the voucher bill through, Louisiana legislators, with few exceptions, meekly went along.  What could they do in the face of Jindal's awesomeness?  We'll see what happens to the tax plan.  When the lawmakers see the poll results for Jindal, they may begin to think for themselves when the time comes time to vote for a massive restructuring of the tax system in Louisiana.  Since the ideas of Jindal and his admirers in the legislature seem not to be firmly planted in reality, I don't see a good outcome if the tax restructuring plan, whatever it is, passes in the legislature and becomes law.    

Thursday, January 17, 2013


For Zack Kopplin, it all started back in 2008 with the passing of the Louisiana Science Education Act. The bill made it considerably easier for teachers to introduce creationist textbooks into the classroom. Outraged, he wrote a research paper about it for a high school English class. Nearly five years later, the 19-year-old Kopplin has become one of the fiercest — and most feared — advocates for education reform in Louisiana. We recently spoke to him to learn more about how he's making a difference.

Kopplin, who is studying history at Rice University, had good reason to be upset after the passing of the LSEA — an insidious piece of legislation that allows teachers to bring in their own supplemental materials when discussing politically controversial topics like evolution or climate change. Soon after the act was passed, some of his teachers began to not just supplement existing texts, but to rid the classroom of established science books altogether. It was during the process to adopt a new life science textbook in 2010 that creationists barraged Louisiana's State Board of Education with complaints about the evidence-based science texts. Suddenly, it appeared that they were going to be successful in throwing out science textbooks.
Below is a video of Zack on Hardball in 2011

What courage and determination in one so young.  I'm so very proud of Zack and what he has accomplished.  Sadly, the ignorance displayed by the reverend who objected to science textbooks that are biased in favor of evolution is not so rare amongst the citizens of the Gret Stet.  Govermor Bobby Jindal, a major force behind the Louisiana Science Education Act, surely knows better with his major in biology from Brown University, but he is the consummate opportunist.

Following his success in halting the practice of removing science textbooks from the classrooms, Zack plans to focus his attention next on voucher schools, religious fundamentalist schools that use supplemental materials in science classes to teach young-earth creationism to their students, whose numbers include those whose tuition is paid with state vouchers.  Zack has paid a price: he's been called the Anti-Christ and accused of causing Hurricane Katrina. (Multiple eye rolls)   Geaux Zack! 

H/T to my Facebook friend Chris H and others for the link to the article.

Friday, November 30, 2012


State District Judge Tim Kelley ruled Friday that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s expanded voucher program unconstitutionally diverts public money to send some public school students to private and parochial schools.

Kelley said that both Act 2 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 99 unlawfully divert tax dollars for nonpublic educational purposes.

Kelly heard closing arguments Friday morning from attorneys for the state, teacher unions, school boards and school-choice advocates.
Of course, the decision will be appealed, and who knows what will happen on appeal, but the news for now is good.  The voucher system transfers state funds, dedicated by law to public school systems, to private schools, which are not held to the same standards as public schools. However, the decision is not about unequal standards, which is a whole other matter, but about following the Louisiana Constitution.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Taxpayer dollars in Louisiana’s new voucher program will be paying to send children to schools that teach creationism and reject evolution, promoting a religious doctrine that challenges the lessons central to public school science classrooms.

Several religious schools that will be educating taxpayer-subsidized students tout their creationist views. Some schools question whether the universe is more than a few thousand years old, openly defying reams of scientific evidence to the contrary
Even as public schools go wanting, and public universities lay off staff.
"What they’re going to be getting financed with public money is phony science. They’re going to be getting religion instead of science,” said Barbara Forrest, a founder of the Louisiana Coalition for Science and a philosophy professor who has written about the clashes between religion and science.
Yes, but we are not to worry.
Superintendent of Education John White says annual science tests required of all voucher students in the third through 11th grades will determine if children are getting the appropriate science education in the private school classrooms.

“If students are failing the test, we’re going to intervene, and the test measures evolution,” White said.
After hundreds of thousands or even millions of state dollars have been given to schools that teach nonsensical science and leave their students ignorant.
[Governor] Jindal, who holds a college degree in biology, has supported the teaching of creationism, saying the theory of evolution has “flaws and gaps.”
Jindal was also a Rhodes scholar, and how he made his way from his studies for a degree in biology from Brown University and his studies at the University of Oxford to his present opinion in support of creationism is a mystery.

How will the schools that teach creationism coach the students at testing time?  Will the teachers say something like, "Well, you have to say that evolution is correct on the test, while you keep in mind that it's not really true";  in other words, will they coach the students to lie on the test?  Or will they encourage the students to give back what they've been taught and risk not meeting state standards?