Jefferson Parish Schools Lie With Statistics
In a recent article in The American Conservative, writer Rod Dreher discussed the actions of John White, the head of education for the state of Louisiana. While the article focused on East Baton Rouge, it could have just as well used the Jefferson Parish School system.
As the Jefferson Parish administration takes all the high performing students from their assigned schools, the remaining schools are encountering the same problems as the schools in East Baton Rouge Parish. If you take the talented students out of a school, send them to charter, international, arts, and other niche schools, what’s left in the normal everyday schools? Is this a key for success or a key for failure?
John White, the head of education for the state is rumored to be in line for another high profile job outside the state. The Jefferson Parish Superintendent, Jim Meza and his cronies drive change based on what the business community desires, not the needs of the students.
Jefferson Parish School Superintendent Games the System
Meza’s methods are is fairly simple – make his “model” schools look great and show how the remaining schools (without their high performing students) are abysmal failures. He becomes the hero and the faculties and administrators at the remaining schools become the goats. His answer then is to fire the school administrators, replace 50% of the faculty, and then give the school time (~5 years) to get their scores up. And just like John White, by that time Meza will have ridden off into the sunset, leaving the parents and children of Jefferson Parish Schools to suffer the consequences.
John White has learned from his mentor, Governor Bobby Jindal. Both their approaches are the same – Lie With Statistics – before anyone finds out the truth, we’ll be on to the next gig! I don’t want to belittle the efforts of the fine young men and women that participate in “Teach for America.” But what will we do when the funding dries up for all of these short-term teachers? Are our Louisiana Colleges & Universities doing such a bad job training teachers that we have to import them from other states?
It’s truly time to address our educational problems, both at the K-12 and Higher Education levels. Let’s take this away from the political rhetoric and bring it back to needs of our kids. Future generations depend on it.