Thursday, July 12, 2012

Parents Should Know the Facts: A Letter to the Editor by LAE's Assistant Executive Director for UniServ & Instructional Advocacy Wayne Free

Parents should know the facts

As printed in the Monroe News Star

It worries me that so many people were surprised to hear about the recent news coverage surrounding John White's voucher scheme emails (as first reported by The News-Star).

I would have thought most would have realized by now that Gov. Bobby Jindal, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education leadership and the Department of Education have been manipulating and hiding data to disguise the real weakness and purpose of the current education reform initiatives.

How many have read in the news media that the two for-profit virtual charter schools, which receive millions of dollars in state funds, scored below state averages in practically every area of performance this year? No one?

That's because the DOE hasn't advertised it.

After looking at the data released by the DOE listing this springs student performance, I questioned the DOE about the virtual charter school performance I found on their website and whether the information was correct. Their answer was yes. I then asked what that said about virtual charter schools' performance. The answer was that they had "high parental satisfaction", and that's how the DOE measured their performance.

I find it difficult to believe that parents are "highly satisfied" if their children are failing. In fact, I think public satisfaction would be seriously lacking if the true weakness of for-profit virtual charters was known.

I think the BESE and DOE leadership has failed to inform the public because they know how poorly it would reflect upon the Jindal initiatives they supported and testified on before the Legislature.

I doubt it would surprise many to know that the DOE leadership worked against a legislative bill designed to provide greater accountability toward the for-profit virtual schools.

It's one thing to talk about parental choice. It's something totally different to talk about informed parental choice. What many fail to realize is that millions of dollars are being provided to for-profit entities to support failure.

Perhaps the Jindal/BESE/DOE leadership should be informing the public about these issues, or at least emailing each other, to see how to avoid such testimony.

Wayne Free

Assistant Executive Director

Louisiana Association of Educators

1 comment:

robert trudeau said...

Let the parents know. Let the legislators know. Most teachers are already aware of the failings of many of the voucher schools.