LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Accountability is lacking in our school system

Published 6:53 pm Saturday, September 7, 2019

It has been the worst of times and the best of times for public schools in Louisiana. The criticisms for failing to meet the needs of the students in the districts are the responsibilities of both the state and local leaders. The signs of poor performance were there for all to see. Test scores headed on a downward slope year after year. Large numbers of teenagers continued to drop out of school.

Louisiana shared tax dollars with vouchers/scholarships for private schools, lift caps on charter schools with many saying there was never a transparent way of holding private school choice programs accountable by letting the public see the grades from schools in communities competing for tax dollars.

In case you missed the report by Lee Zurik on “The Cost of Choice”, a great report, included you will find scores under KNOW THE SCORE: Grades of schools in the Louisiana Scholarship Program. To look at the scores for the public schools you need only to go to nola.com (August 28,2019). The article also appeared in The New Orleans Advocate, with St. John and St. Bernard posting the deepest drops in the New Orleans Metro Area.

The Governor is talking about changes to the program. We can hope there will be transparency for grades of private and charter schools when the public school grades are made available.

We looked at the Lee Zurik report and paid attention to the grades of the private schools receiving taxpayer dollars in St. John.

We would like all of our representatives to look at this report and expect a few calls and emails asking why is BESE thinking about opening a charter school in St. John Parish with the interest of working with Louisiana Premier Charter which is trying to open on Riverside Campus.

We are concerned that BESE would allow a charter school (first on record) to be placed on this campus or let any officials from a private school that has been sanctioned for four years with this years’ grade as an F be apart of conversations for charters in this parish. We need LDOE, BESE, and State Legislators to sit down and work out the issues that has Louisiana at the bottom of every rank, not limited to education, education is the driving force, after parents that help our children succeed in whatever careers they choose.

It doesn’t matter if one person or a million people say something, it is being said, in the words of our leaders, “Our Children Can’t Wait”.

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor- Desmond Tutu

Citizen Jean
Carolyn Jean Batiste/Retired Educator