Friday, January 28, 2011

Testy exchanges over seized schools' performance

Schools that have been seized by the state are not performing up to expectations, and lawmakers want to know why.

That's the gist of the action at Wednesday's meeting of the joint House and Senate Education Committees, reported here by The Advocate's Will Sentell.

They got few answers from Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education President Penny Dastugue.

Both said that the schools taken by the state had been failing their obligations to students for years, but that wasn't what the senators and representatives were asking. They wanted to know why many schools, some operated by independent charters and some by the state Recovery School District, aren't faring any better under the new management.

In testy exchanges, Pastorek said that "dozens" of the 180-plus schools seized by the state have shown major improvements.

But with some 200 schools under consideration for seizure, lawmakers were seeking assurance that the department of education can guarantee improvement. They got no guarantees.

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