On Thursday, November 10th the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education held a special meeting to finally vote on the long-debated changes to the high school accountability model. The proposed changes were adamantly opposed by superintendents, principals, teachers, school board members and other educational stakeholders, but supported by non-education special interest groups like the Pelican Institute, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), and the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools.
In particular, the changes would have de-prioritized dual enrollment courses and student growth in the point allocation system behind school performance scores. Ultimately, the changes would have labeled more schools and students “failing” and discounted the progress happening in those schools. At no point during the creation of the proposed changes were teachers consulted about their opinions or needs.
As Cynthia Posey, LFT Legislative and Political Director, pointed out in her testimony before the board, many teachers are leaving the profession because they don’t feel their work and expertise is valued and appreciated. “The accountability system before you today, will not recognize that hard work. [It] will only exacerbate the crisis of the Louisiana teacher shortage…you cannot expect to provide a quality education to our children and rise in national rankings if you do not have a certified teacher in the classroom” she told the Board.
Louisiana’s accountability system is in desperate need of changes; we need a complete overhaul in how we look at and evaluate all that students and teachers accomplish in the classroom. But the new system must be developed with input from educators so that it can actually be useful to teachers, schools, parents, and most importantly, students. The system should produce data that can be used to improve education, not create arbitrary metrics that are only used to penalize schools and teachers.
After nearly six hours of discussion and testimony on Thursday, and months of debate prior to the meeting, the proposed changes were finally voted down by a vote of 7-3, followed by a round of applause from the educational professionals in attendance.
Voted in Favor of the Proposal
- James Garvey, District 1
- Kira Orange-Jones, District 2
- Ashley Ellis, District 5
Voted Against the Proposal
- Sandy Holloway, District 3
- Michael Melerine, District 4
- Ronnie Morris, District 6
- Holly Boffy, District 7
- Preston Castille, District 8
- Belinda Davis, Member-at-Large
- Thomas Roque, Member-at-Large
- Doris Voitier, Member-at-Large
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