"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, September 29, 2005

LEAP Comes Back to Earth

Accustomed to being at the bottom of every national education survey, Louisiana took a huge LEAP (Louisiana Education Assessment Program) in 2000 to become # 1--the first, that is, to use a test as the sole criterion to make promotion decisions for elementary grade students. Since then, of course, 9 other enlightened states and/or large municipalities have joined in this practice, which has been condemned by every child psychology and educational research or interest group in the country. New York City has one-upped Louisiana, now requiring kids to pass tests in grades 3, 5, and 7. That'll teach those crackers who the educational leaders are!

Now it seems, in the wake of Katrina, the State Board in Louisiana is having second thoughts on the fairness of this practice that has left behind approximately 70,000 4th graders since 2000. Voting unanimously to suspend the retention requirement for one year, the Board has been brought face to face with what it could not see ever since Emancipation: it is unfair to hold these poverty-riddled schools to the same standard that is set for the white suburban schools of the state.

Experiencing a blinding insight, Dr. Phillip Rozeman noted to the Shreveport Times piece, "All the movements of the students have rendered the baseline (scores) unuseable . . . It is simply not fair to compare system against system, school against school." What Dr. Rozeman and his colleagues don't seem to get is that the pillar-to-post moving among the poor did not begin with Katrina. In the many poor communities of Louisiana, it is not uncommon to have 20-25% of the school population to change in any year, hurricane or no hurricane.

In a wave of empathy that coincides with a wave of attention to Louisana's educational genocide against the poor, Rozeman continued, "My fear is, if we continue sticking to business as usual in the school systems, we will leave people bleeding and broken." Dr. Rozeman, sir, the storm came ashore in 2000--Not even Brownie would be this late in responding.

In the meantime, we wait for news from on high as to what Maggie and her lawyers have decided in regards to their role in the continuing mis-educative crimes against humanity.

For a PowerPoint presentation w/text (2005) on the achievement gap that remains an open gash in Louisiana after five years of the unrelenting assault on poor children, click top item on Google search page here.

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