Monday, 23 July 2012 15:32

Louisiana Rep. Abramson, gives qualified approval of school accountability program

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AbramsonLouisiana State Representative Neil Abramson, the author of the amendment that sealed the deal on the accountability part of Jindal’s education  package this spring legislative session focusing upon vouchers for private schools, said that “based on my initial review and in speaking to Superintendent White, I believe his proposal addresses the primary purpose of my amendment.  My definition of accountability included testing, criteria for evaluating the testing, and ramifications for schools failing to meet that criteria.”



On Monday, Superintendent  White released his proposals.

Abramson also said in response to an email question asking him to respond to the proposal:

When the scholarship program was first instituted as a pilot program in New Orleans four years ago, I added the amendment which made the program apply to existing students in failing schools only.  I believe kids deserve a quality education and if they are in a failing school, they deserve the opportunity to go to a better school.  However, it made no sense to me to move a  child  from a failing public school and to put them in a failing private/parochial school.  My accountability amendment this session was intended to address that type of situation.

Superintendent White's accountability proposal ensures that testing occurs for scholarship students in private/parochial schools, puts in place a grading scale for those schools and takes away future scholarships from schools which do not meet certain standards.   In addition, Superintendent While has incorporated a general accountability requirement by giving the Department of Education the authority to review curriculum and levels of academic achievements of any participating school regardless of testing results, and the authority to impose measures as it deems appropriate as a result of that assessment. 

I plan to attend the BESE meeting tomorrow, where I will be able to hear further discussion on Superintendent White's proposal.

Not everyone involved feels comfortable with the current proposal. 

According to the Monroe News Star, “BESE member Lottie Beebe said she can’t support the guidelines until there are more specifics.

“Frankly the superintendent can waive any provisions. To me its weak.” she said. “If we can’t make it contain more substance, I will abstain until I get clarification.”

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