The primary building block for society is the educational framework that passes knowledge, culture, values and skills along to the next generation. Louisiana, as all states, DOES have a Department of Education with the mission of “overseeing school and community programs, including student, school and community health and nutrition programs, transportation, community adult programs, and post-secondary and workforce development programs.” However the path of accrediting, evaluating and grading these programs is a very subjective political football. And, using a sports analogy, the pigskin is in play and the Governor is utilizing all his tools to manage the program to fit his agenda.
The problem with the governor’s agenda and the Louisiana DOE is that the department is making rules and standards up as it goes along. This may work for some coaches on the field, but Louisiana’s future is more important than any football strategy that appears unproven and certainly poorly documented in the way of an established success record.
The 2013 school year is the first year that teachers in Louisiana are being evaluated under COMPASS. This is a new system with limited, at best, standards and no track record for evaluation. When researching the LDOE website for information on COMPASS, some of the links found are as follows:
- COMPASS: http://www.louisianabelieves.com/teaching/compass
- School Performance Goals of COMPASS:http://www.louisianabelieves.com/accountability/school-performance-scores
- Attrition with respect to COMPASS: http://www.louisianabelieves.com/home
- Certification with the COMPASS Rubric: http://www.louisianabelieves.com/teaching/certification
- Certification with COMPASS: http://www.louisianabelieves.com/teaching/certification
Data for a program that hasn’t been implemented just doesn’t exist. And the Superintendent appears to be coaching this program without a playbook. As one teacher wrote concerning this program: “(Superintendent) White made a comment last week that teachers were not retiring because of the COMPASS evaluation system. I have anecdotal evidence to the contrary. However, I know the difference between anecdotal and data.”
A recent letter in the Shreveport Times by a Baton Rouge educator cast doubt of support of any of the LDOE programs using SCORE by any teacher, administrator or parent. If the system is as described and as the links on the LDOE website suggest, the coach may be working in a very dangerous environment for all parties. The analogy of a political football works great in theory, but when the future of so many is in the balance, citizens should have a better plan.
The issue taxpayers and voters must address is the validity of an untested coach using an untested plan to measure experienced teachers while throwing money at more untested future schools as Louisiana’s future is in the balance. Louisiana’s lights may go out during another game when the stakes are even higher than the Super Bowl.