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Mercedes Schneider: The Failure of “Reform” In Louisiana

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Mercedes Schneider teaches high school English in Louisiana. She has been a close observer of the corporate reforms (the Disruption movement) under State Superintendent John White. White has been in charge since 2012. He has had the authority to pursue his own agenda, with the unwavering support of a state board elected by out-of-state money.

Schneider lays out his record, based on NAEP scores and ACT scores. 

It is not a pretty picture.

Schneider is accustomed to John White’s cherry-picking of data. But she will not let him get away with it.

She writes:

On October 30, 2019, the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores were made public.

After seven years of John White as Louisiana’s state superintendent, the results were so unsavory White and his Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) that his Louisiana 2019 NAEP Results Summary does not include a single actual NAEP scaled score.

Instead, the propagandistic flier advertises “change from 2017 to 2019” (differences in the actual scores that are intentionally excluded) and features “Louisiana ranks No. 1 in the nation for 2019 improvement in 8th grade math scale scores and
proficiency rates” and “Louisiana’s pace of improvement since 2009 in all subjects significantly exceeds national trends.”

So, let’s look at Louisiana’s NAEP average scaled scores across time– not just from 2017 to 2019.

She posts all the state’s NAEP scores from 2005-2019 (White has been superintendent since 2012)

But then there are the ACT scores.

She writes:

On the same day that 2019 NAEP scores were released, so were Louisiana’s Class of 2019 ACT scores.

Louisiana’s Class of 2019 composite was 18.9— the lowest since all Lousiana graduates began to be required to take the test, beginning with the Class of 2013. In that year, Louisiana’s baseline composite was 19.5 (or 19.1, depending which LDOE info one reads).

Louisiana’s ACT Composite Scores (2013 – 2019):

  • 2013: 19.5 (or 19.1)
  • 2014: 19.2
  • 2015: 19.4
  • 2016: 19.5
  • 2017: 19.6
  • 2018: 19.3
  • 2019: 18.9

Not so surprisingly, White has no press release for Louisiana’s 2019 ACT dive.

That does not mean he has not been asked.

New Orleans Public Radio education reporter, Jess Clark, asked White to comment on Louisiana’s falling ACT score and received the following vague response, including NAEP-propaganda deflection:

Asked for comment on the latest ACT results, Louisiana State Superintendent John White sent an emailed statement pointing to progress the state made in 8th grade math on another national standardized test, the “Nation’s Report Card,” or NAEP.

While the nation’s report card shows Louisiana tops the nation in 8th grade math progress, it’s important that we look at other indicators of our challenges,” he said.

John White wants to look at other indicators of “our” challenges.

I’ll bet he does.

.

 

 

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