Wednesday, August 15, 2018 … 1:12 P.M.

When candidate qualifying for Caddo Parish School Board seats closed last month, five of the twelve current members were re-elected without opposition.

Depending on who one asks, that high number of unopposed members may speak to how “well” the board is doing its job, or to precisely the opposite: that the district is in such dire straits that most Caddo residents ignore all related subjects … including CPSB member elections.

Regardless, in the remaining seven districts, five incumbents have election opponents, and are thus most directly accountable, theoretically, for what is happening in and to the system:

District 1 … Steve Riall
District 7 … Raymond Green
District 8 … Denee Locke
District 10 … Durwood Hendricks
District 12 … Dottie Bell

These members must be thanking their lucky stars that the new – real and honest – school-by-school grades from and by the BESE Board (Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education) are usually released too late to affect their November 6th elections.

Last year, for example, the new school grades were released on November 7th.

When the new state grading system was voted in last year, its infamous grading curve was removed. As a result, state education leaders then figured F-graded public schools would jump by nearly 60%, and A-graded ones would fall 40%-ish.

With that in mind, imagine what grades Caddo schools may be fairly expected to score.

As I explained in articles in February 2016 and October 2017 (SEE link below), only 13 of Caddo’s 65 schools were graded “A” or “B.”

Then, I wrote the summary fact this way:

“We must let this sink in: 24 passing schools and 41 failing schools … nearly two-of-three, 63%, failing.”

In fact, a possible harshly negative public reaction to the new school grades so frightens some that …

… the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, Louisiana School Boards Association and Louisiana Association of Principals publicly opposed the whole shebang;

… though two BESE votes were cast to soften the blow of no-curve grading, both failed on votes of 4-7, with three-of-the-four losing votes cast by the three BESE members appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards; and,

… the legislature then passed a special bill which forces the state to this year issue two scores for each school, one calculated the old way, and one the new.

Back to my original point, our CPSB incumbents have little to fear. The ways things now are, we should not be surprised if the new (real) school-by-school grades are just plain ignored by the CPSB, parish superintendent, traditional news media, and all their supporters.

Some few of us, however, may well look forward to finally knowing which Caddo Parish public schools are legitimately graded “A” and “B” … no matter how few … after so many years of deliberately, openly rigged such “grades.”

(My sincere thanks to Advocate education writer Will Sentell for his always excellent work.)

© 2018 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Elliott Stonecipher, October 24, 2017:

Will Sentell, The Advocate, May 11, 2018:

Will Sentell, The Advocate, August 5, 2018:

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