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EPSB President calls changes to school scoring “a direct shot at board members”

By: ELIZABETH
WEST
Managing Editor

For the third meeting in a row, last year’s school scores, which have yet to be released, were discussed at the Evangeline Parish School Board’s bimonthly meeting on Wednesday.
Superintendent of School’s Darwin Lazard said, “Board members across the state are unhappy with the changes in accountability.”
The changes being implemented when grading a school’s performance score is predicted to cause the state to drop in the number of A and B schools in the state.
According to the superintendent, last year, “43 percent of the school in Louisiana were rated A’s or B’s.”
Whereas this year, the state is predicting that only 11 percent of schools will be A’s or B’s. Of that 11 percent, they believe two percent will be A’s and nine percent will be B’s.
The drop in scores will occur because the points a school earns for each student who scores basic, master will no longer be the same.
In the past a school received 100 points for a child that scored basic on the state test, but now, a school will only earn 70 points for basic.
As a member of the Superintendents Group, Lazard said, “If this prediction holds, we are hoping that there will be some modifications.
“We have asked Mr. White to make Mastery worth 110 points, and we have asked him to make basic worth 85 points instead of 70 points. There are some other things as well that are a part of a four point package. If those things were adopted, the fall would not be as bad.”
During the meeting Board President Wayne Dardeau expressed his thoughts on the changes being made, and called them “a direct shot at board members,” who must run for re-election next year.
He explained, “It’s going to look bad on the school board members if the school’s look like they are doing bad. It’s a slap at the school board, because we have absolutely no say in test scores.”
He also expressed that he felt there was “another motive” behind La. State Superintendent John White’s decision to make these changes.
Dardeau said, “Right now if you are an A or B school, those students are not allowed to apply at voucher schools. But, if your school is classified C, D, or F, those students automatically go to voucher system.
“These changes are going to increase the number of C, D and F schools big time.”
Lazard then added that having C, D and F schools “can allow charter schools to come into the district.”
This is a concern because schools are allotted money based on student enrollment. Therefore if a student leaves the public school system in Evangeline Parish, then the school district loses the money they received from the state for that student.
At this time, no for sure date has been set for the scores to be released.

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