Thursday, February 12, 2009

Low Performing School Characteristics

The Louisiana Legislature requires reporting on low performing schools that are not making acceptable yearly progress. Currently, the report highlights schools with a School Performance Score of below 60 and growing at a rate of less than 2 points. The report is the Louisiana MFP Accountability Report. The most recent version is dated May, 2008.

The complete report is available at

I am quoting below highlights of findings as reported in the Executive Summary.

  • Schools with the "Academically Unacceptable label" have higher percentages of student poverty, student minorities, and teacher minorities.
  • Schools with higher K-12 student attendance rates and higher percentages of certificated teachers have higher SPS.
  • Schools with higher percentages of minority and impoverished students have lower SPS.
  • Schools with the "Academically Unacceptable label" have higher expenditures and lower teacher salaries compared to the average for all schools.
  • Schools with higher percentages of minority teachers and higher teacher turnover have lower SPS.
  • Schools with the "Academically Unacceptable" label have a higher percentage of teachers with a Master's degree, a larger pupil-teacher ratio and slightly less years of teacher experience when compared to the average for all schools.

Certainly this information must be considered in context. And the findings should add to the public understanding of educational issues discussed in the local media. For example, Teacher Quality was recently the subject of several news stories.

This information should also be helpful to PTA, alumni and other civic organizations with a stake in this community.

Education Financial Information for Louisiana

Many conversations regarding school performance center around resources. The question of financial equality (or rather financial inequality) is inescapable. I am therefore creating a link to the Louisiana Division of Education Finance for easy a quick reference. The link is as follows:

Using this link, you can quickly get into critical financial reports and other financial information.

Governor's Education Focus

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was in Shreveport on February 11, 2009 in part to promote the need for new education legislation. There appear to be three major areas that have so far been identified. They include:
  • A discipline agenda
  • Value added testing
  • Removal of barriers that limit or restrict faith-based organizations relationships with charter schools.

According to news reports, the discipline agenda aims to give teachers more options in controlling the classroom as well as turning up the heat on parents who fail to take responsibility for student behavior.

This site has previously suggested some type of legislative approach should be considered in the area of parental accountability. However, we also believe in balance and funding. Balance would include provisions for mental health services and adequate funding to provide these services.

It does not take much imagination or research to know that much of the student anti-social behavior has its roots in the home and that the home needs, in many many cases, mental health services.

In any event, this overall legislative package should be closely monitored by concerned community members, to make certain that thoughtful and constructive ideas are incorporated in any final product.

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