Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Jindal plan: Social promotion for private school failures

There's a lot the administration hasn't had time to tell us about Gov. Jindal's voucher scheme. That's one of the problems with ramming a bill through committee in the first week of the legislative session.

Times-Picayune columnist Jarvis deBerry exposes some of what they missed in this essay about the unequal treatment given students in public schools versus those in private and religious schools.

If a public school student fails the LEAP test, the student is held back. If a student in one of Gov. Jindal's voucher schools fails the LEAP, the student gets a social promotion.

That unfairness is just one of the many reasons why Gov. Jindal's vouchers shouldn't spread to the rest of the state.

As previously reported here, voucher schools in New Orleans in fact produced worse test scores than public schools.

Public schools showing such dismal results would be sanctioned, then closed or chartered. There is no such accountability for Gov. Jindal's voucher schools.

Reporter deBerry asked the governor's spokesperson if it is true that voucher students get social promotions. The response was less than direct:

"We've provided evidence that the scholarship program is working and parents are overwhelmingly satisfied. It's also clear that current system is failing far too many students. How many kids over how many decades would you trap in failing schools while you wait on MORE data the program is working."

Accountability in public schools means test scores. Accountability in Gov. Jindal's voucher schools means parents are satisfied (that their child got a social promotion).

And that stuff they've been saying for years about using data to gauge a school's success? That only applies to public schools. In Gov. Jindal's voucher schools, a happy smile is proof enough.

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