Skip to content

Several Colleges Waive ACT/SAT, Other Admission Requirements, Due to Coronavirus

For high school seniors unable to take the ACT and SAT, a number of colleges and universities are waiving testing and other requirements as part of admission for fall 2020 and possibly beyond.

From the March 30, 2020, Inside Higher Ed:

Colleges are dropping the SAT or ACT for admissions, they are waiving fees and they are extending deadlines. These are some of the ways admissions officials are responding to the coronavirus — and they’re just getting started in what is likely to be an unprecedented and potentially difficult spring.

At least 17 colleges have dropped the SAT or ACT in recent weeks for one or two admissions cycles, specifically citing the impact of COVID-19.

Boston University announced that it will go test optional for those applying in the fall of 2021 or the spring of 2022, but only those two semesters. …

Tufts University announced a three-year experiment with going test optional. …

In Oregon, the University of Oregon and Oregon State University announced that they would no longer require the SAT or the ACT, permanently. …

The approach of combining concern over COVID-19 and equity concerns generally is prompting many colleges to act.

Among them is Drury University….

Scripps College announced a similar change and said that the policy “will allow admission officers to identify and advocate for students with a strong academic profile who may have previously been viewed as less competitive, based on their performance on a single exam.”

The University of the Cumberlands said it had been considering the policy for some time but decided to change now because of the COVID-19 situation. …

Newberry College, in South Carolina, is starting a new policy under which students who are unable to take the SAT or ACT can submit a statement instead. …

… Case Western Reserve University….

Other colleges are trying a range of approaches to bolster admissions. Franklin College, in Indiana, is going test optional and also cutting the deposit required to secure an admission spot from $200 to $100. …

Villa Maria College, in Buffalo, N.Y., which was already test optional, announced a series of changes in policy:

  • No deposit will be required from students seeking to enroll.
  • There is no May 1 deadline for responding to admissions applications.
  • All decisions will be based on unofficial transcripts (self-reported by students).

And Virginia Tech, while not struggling for applicants as some colleges are, became the latest college to put its campus visits online.

In addition, the University of California has relaxed its fall 2021 admission requirements, which means that high school students who are juniors and who are unable to take the SAT or ACT and who might not even have a high school GPA for spring 2020 are being offered this temporary leniency. Moreover, California’s other major universty system, California State, might take similar action, as reported in the April 01, 2020, EdSource:

The University of California is drastically relaxing its fall 2021 admissions standards for applicants who are currently high school juniors, including suspending the requirement that they take standardized tests and allowing pass/fail grades for this spring’s classes affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a university announcement Wednesday.

The dramatic action came in response to the cancellation of testing by the SAT and ACT this spring due to the widespread disruption at high schools in California and nationwide during the health crisis. However, UC officials emphasized that the dropping of standardized tests for this upcoming year does not imply a permanent change and said the UC, which has nine undergraduate campuses, will continue to debate that contentious matter in the future. …

Students applying for fall 2021 can still take tests and send scores to UC if they are able. Doing so can support their UC eligibility and help fulfill some university graduation requirements. But campuses must ensure that “no student is harmed in admissions selection should they not submit a test score,” according to the UC statement.

The 23-campus California State University system is reviewing whether to follow UC and drop its own testing requirement for 2021 admissions. “A final decision on how CSU will adapt its admissions process” is expected in the near future, according to a CSU statement Wednesday.

Finally, Inside Higher Ed offers this coronavirus live update link for the latest on “How higher education is reacting to the new coronavirus pandemic.”

college admissions


My latest book, A Practical Guide to Digital Research: Getting the Facts and Rejecting the Lies, is now available for purchase on Amazon and via Garn Press!


Follow me on Twitter @deutsch29blog

Jessica Baghian and Paul Vallas Among 7 Candidates for La. State Superintendent

On March 19, 2020, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) superintendent search work group, headed by Kira Orange-Jones, petitioned BESE to narrow the search for Louisiana’s next state education superintendent to the following seven candidates:

  • Jessica Baghian
  • Cade Brumley
  • Debbra Lindo
  • Lonnie Luce
  • Heather Poole
  • Joe Siedlecki
  • Paul Vallas

In the course of researching the seven individuals remaining in Louisiana’s superintendent search, I found this March 2020 board doc of resumes for 20 applicants.

I had already written most of the post based on other sources, which is better because I have information here that would not make it past resume gloss. Of course, feel free to also read candidate resumes from BESE’s board docs and compare to info in this post.



Jessica Baghian

I previously wrote about Jessica Baghian‘s wanting to be superintendent as no surprise since she is curently an assistant superintendent. What may surprise many is that she exited the classroom with only two years of teaching experience and zero experience as a school-level adminstrator. In true ed-reform fashion, Baghian was placed in a top-level admin position with only token K12 ed experience.



Cade Brumley

Cade Brumley is the newly-arrived superintendent of Jefferson Parish schools after being superintendent of DeSoto Parish. He is also a graduate of ed-reformer mint, the Broad Academy. Even so, Calcasieu teacher and education writer, Ganey Arsement, has found Brumley worthy of endorsement:

Cade Brumley: Currently serving as superintendent of Jefferson parish where he has been for a little over a year. Prior to that Brumley served as superintendent of DeSoto parish where he worked his way up through the ranks beginning as a teacher. Brumley also meets all of the qualifications mentioned above, but I want to offer a caveat. Brumley is also a product of the Broad Academy, as well as, numerous other “education reform” programs. I’ll go on the record and say that I had concerns about this, and I asked him about it, directly. In fact, I have had many communications with Brumley, and have never been disappointed in his responses. He was very willing to explain that his position is that if you are going to be successful at anything, it is imperative that you understand everything about it. In a sense, I agree. It’s difficult to defend your position if you don’t completely understand the other. Brumley has served as president of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents. He was instrumental in getting BESE to adopt a less stringent, although still stringent, accountability system.

In November 2017, the Louisiana Association of Superintendents made the bold move of unifying all of the superintendents across the state to press BESE to adopt a less stringent accountability plan and released a public statement which can be read here —>LASS Seeks to Unify Discussion and Actions to Improve Public Education in Louisiana

In order to better understand some of the context of the statement, I reached out to Brumley asking him to clarify. I emailed him and copied the other leaders of the organization, and when he responded, he included them in his response. It can be read here. —>Brumley Responses

I have many other communications with Brumley that I am happy to share should he become a valid possibility to replace White. If he does, I will support him. I hope you do, too.



Debbra Lindo

Debbra LindoNot feeling good at all about this one. For starters, I had to piece together Lindo’s background from multiple sources. Lindo has no readily-available, comprehensive resume online. Secondly, Lindo’s career in education has too much transience, and it seems that she is just trying to land a superintendency somewhere. 

So, here is what I have: From a picture caption in this June 18, 2010, San Diego Tribune article, I found Lindo’s education background:

Bachelor’s degree in U.S. history, Mills College; maters degree in education, Stanford University; doctorate in educational leadership, St. Mary’s College.

From this EF+ Math Program bio, I learned that Lindo “has been a public high school English and social studies teacher, a school principal in both urban and suburban settings.” The bio notes Lindo was a high school principal in the Oakland School District (California). This November 1997 San Francisco Chronicle article has Lindo as a high school principal in Belmont.

In 2010,  Lindo was a finalist to become superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District. However, after “a stint as CEO of the after-school college preparatory program College Track,she ended up in Palo Alto as director of secondary education, where she stayed for one year before moving on become superintendent of the Emery Unified School District (Emeryville, also in California) in 2011. Three years later, in January 2014, Lindo was placed on mystery leave despite her already stating she planned to leave anyway in June 2014. From the January 2014 E’ville Eye:

As first reported by The Tattler and since confirmed by the Oakland Tribune, embattled EUSD Superintendent Debbra Lindo, whom announced her retirement in October, has been placed “on leave” and effectively being forced out. She was slated to step down in June to give the city enough time to find her replacement but the situation may have escalated. Former Emery Superintendent and State of California Department of Education Trustee John Quinn has stepped in as interim Superintendent. The School District has not made an official statement.

It seems that Lindo has not been a superintendent since her clouded, 2014 departure from Emery Unified School District. Her EF+ Math Program bio, which appears to have the most recent information on Lindo, identifies Lindo in its final lines as “superintendent emerita” of Emery Unified.

Lindo looks like a load of problems eyeballing the Louisiana superintendency because, why not?



Alonzo “Lonnie” Luce

According to his Linkein bio, Lonnie Luce is the executive director of “blended and online school solutions” for Charter Schools USA in Baton Rouge for one year and was superintendent of Charter Schools USA in Baton Rouge, also for one year.

Prior to that, for only nine months, Luce served as chief operating officer for the Foundation for Louisiana’s Students, which, according to its 2017 tax form, “does business as” University View Academy, a Baton Rouge charter school where Luce was superintendent two years prior (2016-2018).

Prior to his involvement with charter schools, Luce was superintendent of St. James Parish (2007-2016), where the school board bought out his contract in 2016 due to “a tenuous relationship” between Luce and the school board. (Luce’s contract was apparently renewed in 2012 due to a single board member’s absence during the vote, and changes in the board left the board wanting “to move in a new direction.”)

Luce has experience as a deputy superintendent in Greenville County Schools (South Carolina) (2003-2007) and as chief information officer for New Orleans Public Schools (2001-2003).

Luce is a Louisiana native who graduated with a bachelors in social studies and math (1991) from Sounteastern Louisiana University and a Ph.D. in education administration and supervision from Louisiana State University (LSU) (1999).



Heather Poole

According to her Linkedin bio, Heather Poole has no experience as a K12 teacher or a school-level administrator. She holds an MBA from LSU (2004) and an Ed.D. in higher ed admin from Louisiana Tech (2019). She does not list her undergraduate degree on Linkedin, but it is in general studies from LSU. (See Poole’s board doc resume.) Her professional experience goes back to 1997 as assistant commissioner of assessment and economic development for Louisiana’s Board of Regents.

Poole has always been in some sort of administrative role notably removed from daily experience with the K12 classroom:

  • Asst. commissioner of assessment/economic dev’t, La. Board of Regents (1997-2012)
  • Executive director/dean, Learning Center for Rapides Parish (2010-2013)
  • Associate vice chancellor, enrollement services, LSU Alexandria (2013-2014)
  • Vice chancellor, Central La. Tech. Community College (CLTCC) (Jan.-Sept. 2015)
  • Exec. vice chancellor, student svcs., enrollment mgt.. fdn. relations (Sept. 2015-present)

State superintendent? Why not?



Joe Siedlecki

Well. Here’s Joe Siedlecki, from his 2017 Louisiana Charter Schools conference bio:

Joe Siedlecki is the Associate Commissioner for School Improvement, Innovation, and Charters at the Texas Education Agency. Before joining TEA, he spent ten years with the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation where he leads their Quality School Options initiative to advance the portfolio strategy and grow great schools. He has also worked for the White House Office of Management and Budget and Deloitte Consulting. Joe graduated from Lyndon B. Johnson School at the University of Texas at Austin and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

According to his “Joe S.” Linkedin bio, Siedlecki has no K12 classroom or school-level administrative experience. His bachelors degree is in business and economics, and his business landed him a charter-school-promoting job with the Dell Foundation, which, in turn, landed him a charter-school-promoting job with the Texas Education Agency:

  • Consultant, Deloitte Consulting (1998-2003)
  • Researcher, Ray Marshall Center (“for the study of human resources”) (2003-2005)
  • Budget, policy, regulatory analysis employee, White House Office of Management and Budget (2005-2008)
  • Supporter of “systems to design and grow great schools,” Dell Foundation (2008-2016)
  • Associate commissioner of school improvement, innovation, and charter schools, Texas Education Agency (2016-present)

No K12 classroom experience. No school-level admin experience. Wants to become state superintendent.


Paul Vallas

Paul Vallas

Paul Vallas is the worst one of all.

In my book, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education (Information Age Press, 2014), I have three chapters on Paul Vallas. Vallas was budget director for the City of Chicago, when in 1995 he was appointed Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO by mayor Richard Daley, who had just gained mayoral control of CPS. All of Vallas’ professional experience was in economics, and he had just been given carte blanche over Chicago’s public schools. Vallas was a budget slasher, school starver and closer. And he sees pension funds as money to spend. In order to balance the budget and create a surplus, Vallas raided the CPS pension fund, which produced a fiscal crisis for CPS, but not immediately. Vallas left CPS in 2001 after falling out of Daley’s favor, so he was gone by the time his CPS pension raid budgeting “miracle” was unraveling in 2006. By then Vallas had moved on to Philadelphia, again as a mayoral-control, carte blanche schools CEO. There he produced another school budgeting crisis:

Perhaps Vallas’ worst moment as a budgeter occured on December 11, 2006, when he had to face the Philadelphia City Council and justify not just more budget cuts, but more cuts in an attempt to solve a deficit mid-school-year to the tune of $73.3 million.

Four months prior, in August 2006, Vallas had told the Philadelphia City Council that the budget was balanced. And one month before that, in July 2006, the School Reform Commission (SRC) voted 3-2 to renew Vallas’ contract until 2010. Embarrased, SRC took Vallas to lunch in early 2007 to tell him they no longer had confidence in him. Vallas resigned in April 2007.

A couple of months later, he came to New Orleans. At the time of his arrival, Vallas indicated that he only intended to remain for a couple of years. During that time, Vallas maintained his residence in Chicago, and then-Louisiana superintendent, Paul Pastorek, allowed Vallas to use a taxpayer-funded vehicle to commute 31 times from New Orleans to Chicago.

As superintendent of New Orleans’ post-Katrina Recovery School District (RSD), Vallas once again was a superintendent with unchecked power. He answered to no one.

Four consecutive audits of RSD finances under Vallas (for 2007-2010) showed a lack of fiscal oversight, including overpaying employees year after year, theft of 34 laptops paid for with federal money, charges to the federal student breakfast and lunch programs for ineligible students, $6.1M for payments beyond the scope of contracts on modular campus construction, including a vendor charging for equipment not delivered and even charging $110 to drill each of 180 holes that took only seconds apiece to drill.

In 2010, Vallas missed 48 days of work as he traveled to Haiti to consult on education. He was not paid during the time he was absent, but he was missing in action to lead RSD. No problem for a man with carte blanche.

In 2011, Vallas went to Chile to promote school privatization and was met with 20,000 people, mostly students, protesting the “USA style reforms” Vallas was pushing.

Also in 2011, Vallas moved on to become superintendent in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he tried to exercise carte blanche leadership but was met by a complaint from the Connecticut Education Association for violating state laws regaring the involvement of school governance councils in education decision making. Vallas was also sued for lacking the prerequisite credentials to become Bridgeport’s superintendent. In November 2013, the Connecticut Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling against Vallas on a technicality. But Vallas had already decided to leave Bridgeport to become the running mate for Illinois’ Democratic governor, Pat Quinn. Quinn and Vallas lost in the general election in November 2014.

And that is where Vallas’ superintendent history stops. And may it remain stopped.

Vallas had his chance to be a commuter superintendent in Louisiana, and it was more than enough.


Schneider’s Picks

Given what I have written above, in this forced-choice situation, my first pick is Cade Brumley.

My second pick is Lonnie Luce.

I have no third pick.


Cade Brumley


My latest book, A Practical Guide to Digital Research: Getting the Facts and Rejecting the Lies, is now available for purchase on Amazon and via Garn Press!


Follow me on Twitter @deutsch29blog




Class of 2020: Redeem Your Senior Year

On Friday, March 13, 2020, I reported to school for a professional day to end the third grading period. Since it was a teacher workday, my students had the day off.

Just as our faculty was assembling for an afternoon meeting, Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards released a statement that all schools were to close until April 13, 2020.

My principal was stunned.

The afternoon was surreal.

I thought about my classes, wondered about how to end the school year, but I had no answers.

When I was on social media that evening, I began reading the expressions of shock and grief written by some of my seniors.

My desire to help the Class of 2020 nationwide and their families process grief over the profound loss of the senior year prompted me to contact a friend who had also lost his senior year, 2020 Louisiana Teacher of the Year, Chris Dier, to ask if he would write an open letter that I might offer the public as a guest post on my blog.

The resulting post, “Louisiana Teacher of the Year: An Open Letter to High School Seniors During Coronavirus Crisis,”  has had over 1.7 million views since its publication six days ago. Numerous readers– students, parents, grandparents, teachers, and others– have offered their stories in the comments section, with many adding that the post made them cry.

The grief is all too real, and it needed a place to be expressed. With so much of regular life being abruptly altered, I am grateful to have been able to connect Chris’ timely words with his very important audience and to provide such a place.

But let us not stop with grief.

A friend and fellow teacher asked me how she might help her students to have a better senior year. What she is really asking is if there is some way to redeem the senior year– some way to reclaim it despite the impact of the pandemic.

Yes. Yes, there is. Let me offer a few suggestions.

First of all, consider having prom in the summer or even in the fall. So what if it is late? Reschedule. Have prom anyway.

Second, try to do the same for a canceled senior trip or other senior outing. If rescheduling a senior trip is too complicated, change the event to a senior weekend at a closer destination, or create a senior picnic or a senior day at a water park or some other event. Don’t rule out scheduling the event in the summer or fall. Consider it your first “class reunion,” if you like (smile).

Third, if you are uncertain as to the viability of your school’s holding a formal graduation ceremony, consider a less formal setting. Rent a hall. Contact as many classmates as possible. Rent, purchase, or borrow some graduation gowns. Have a school or community member read your names as you walk across a stage. Take pictures with your friends and family. Throw your caps into the air.

Take charge. Create fresh opportunities for joyous memories.

Now, if you were a member of a club, sport, performing group, student council, or other extracurricular activity, consider redeeming memories in these venues, as well. Be creative even as you practice the necessary social distancing. Dress in your uniform, costume, professional attire, or other performance gear, and perform for the camera, whether it be for still photos or videos. If you are an artist, film yourself at your craft. Create a collage with other members of the group. Find someone to take charge of collecting the videos or pics and creating the collage. Disseminate the result to all group members of a particular activity, their families and even the entire senior class.

Do not let coronavirus defeat you.

As you grieve your loss, may you creatively turn this crisis on its head.

sunlight thru trees


My latest book, A Practical Guide to Digital Research: Getting the Facts and Rejecting the Lies, is now available for purchase on Amazon and via Garn Press!


Follow me on Twitter @deutsch29blog


La. Teacher of the Year: An Open Letter to High School Seniors During Coronavirus Crisis

Chris Dier is Louisiana’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.  He teaches social studies in St. Bernard.


Chris Dier

I have known Chris for most of his life. I remember celebrating his third birthday with his family (and have the Barney pics to prove it).

Chris knows what it is like to have his senior year of high school wrecked by a major crisis– Hurricane Katrina.

As a result of the social distancing required for America to combat the impact of the coronavirus, governors and other officials are canceling school, and the Class of 2020 across the nation is grieving the profound loss of their senior year.

I know your grief is real, and I am so sorry for your loss.

I want to comfort and encourage you, and for that reason, I asked Chris if he would write an open letter to America’s high school seniors. He enthusiastically and graciously accepted.

Below is his response, for you, Class of 2020.

Dear High School Senior,

On Friday afternoon a few seniors came into my classroom after the last bell rang. They were concerned about prom and their senior trip. It broke my teacher heart to listen. As you’re reading this, you most likely have similar concerns.

This is supposed to be your year. The year for your senior prom, sporting events, cheer competitions, senior trips, clubs, and the rest of what senior year has to offer. You were supposed to be the captain of that team, the officer of that club, or that student who wanted to be with their friends one last year before venturing into the unknown. This was THE year that your entire schooling was building up to. But it was robbed from you because of this global pandemic.

Let’s be abundantly clear – you were robbed, and it’s unfair. If you’re upset, then you should embrace those feelings. Commiserate with one another. Some folks will downplay the situation because they won’t know what it feels like to have their senior year stripped at the last moment.

I, for one, will not downplay it as it happened to me. Hurricane Katrina devastated my community when I was a high school senior. I remember leaving my school on a Friday afternoon with my buddies only to never return to that school. I was supposed to be the captain of my soccer team, go to prom with my longtime crush, and finish the year with my lifelong friends. But it was all canceled. Instead, I stayed in a shelter and finished my high school in a different state. It was tough, and I had to find solace in places I never envisioned. It was hard, but we made it through. And I’m reliving that pain as I think of your disruption to your senior year.

Most do not need to experience Katrina to know that this is tough on you. Those of us who work in schools do so because we care above all else. That caring does not stop once you leave those school walls. In situations like these, we worry more about you. There is a lot of uncertainty, but rest assured, districts across the nation are working in creative ways, from potentially abbreviated school years to organizing social events when this subsides, to make this situation the best they possibly can for you. Some educators are working endlessly to transfer to virtual learning and accompany those without the internet. Administrators are working to get those meals together for those who need them. We are all in crisis mode but know that we are all doing everything we can to help during this tumultuous time. You are not forgotten. We are thinking about you. We are here for you. We care.

There’s nothing I, or anyone, can say to make up for that time you are losing in what is supposed to be one of the best years of your life.

But I can offer some encouragement. Right now, you have the power to make the most out of this unfortunate situation. If a decade of teaching has taught me anything, it’s that people your age are resilient and innovative.

Your generation can navigate multiple worlds and bounce between physical and digital spaces with ease. You are part of the most racially and ethnically diverse generation, and you embrace those differences in ways adults seem to struggle. You courageously put yourselves out there for the world to see and criticize. You push boundaries and challenge norms. You find ingenious ways to compensate for any gaps you may have accrued without the help of educators, whether it’s through Khan Academy or a sibling. It’s a small wonder why “post-Millennials are on track to become the most well-educated generation yet.”

I can also offer some advice. Help one another and your family. They need you. Do your grandparents or your eldery neighbors need groceries? Offer support. Some teachers may even need your help as many try to transition to online learning. We need you. Utilize your tech savvy ways to bring yourselves closer together. Practice “social distancing,” or physical distancing, but stay as social as ever. FaceTime. Text. Tweet. Snapchat. Make Tik Tok videos (I don’t know if that’s still a thing so don’t laugh if I’m already out of date). Use these platforms to connect and uplift.

Binge Netflix and Disney+. Make memes. Exercise. Read books – maybe even those boring ones your English teachers were stoked for you to read. Or just read manga. Read something! Reach out to those friends you know don’t have internet access. Call and check up on ‘em. Listen to podcasts. Make a podcast. Start a hobby. Journal for posterity. You’re living through history. Your bold reaction to this is going to make history.

Lastly, I can offer some support. You may not know me, but I feel your pain; it stings. We as educators mourn with you. Again, you are not forgotten. We see your hard work. We value your unique perspectives. We hear your audacious voices. We cherish all of it, and we will continue to do so even from afar.

I am sad for you; truly, I am. I feel deeply for you; truly, I do. It makes my heart hurt as I write. But if there is any group that can plow through this in creative ways, it is your group. There is no pandemic strong enough to silence you or dent the passion of your generation. Keep your head up and keep fighting. Our country needs you because you provide hope for our future. This year may not be what you envisioned, but I’m eager to see what you do with it.

After all, it is still very much your year.

Stay healthy,

Chris Dier, a high school teacher

Follow Chris on Twitter @chrisdier



My latest book, A Practical Guide to Digital Research: Getting the Facts and Rejecting the Lies, is now available for purchase on Amazon and via Garn Press!


Follow me on Twitter @deutsch29blog

John White Is Officially Out; Deputy Beth Scioneaux Becomes La.’s Acting Superintendent

March 11, 2020, marked John White’s last day as Louisiana superintendent.

On his Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) bio, White began sometime between March 2019 and July 2019 to identify himself as “the longest serving state education chief in the nation.”

He does not mention the political maneuvering and insulation that brought him there and kept him there for eight years and two months.

Well, White’s political favor ran out during the 2019 BESE elections, and with the reelection of Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards to a second term, apparent behind-closed-door negotiations likely involving some of the same political forces that maneuvered to keep White in place for eight years made a deal which led to White’s resignation announcement on January 08, 2020, only days prior to Edwards’ second inauguration, on January 13, 2020.

Given that White tendered his resignation with “‘no plans’ for his immediate future,” his exit was not likely to be of his own doing. In 2017, Education Week found White to be the third highest paid education superintendent in the nation.

Education reform pays.

White’s annual salary was $283,384 in 2012 and has been $275,000 from 2013 to 2018, as per White’s annual financial disclosure reports (which can be found here). If White’s annual salary was also $275,000 in 2019 and $22,917 per month for his final two months, then that means Louisiana, with its average teacher pay falling in the national rankings, has paid its poltically-positioned, Teach for America-alum superintendent an astounding $2,254,218 for 8.16 years of employment.

White did not willingly walk away from such a plum.

But now, John White is former state superintendent, and Louisiana’s state ed board (BESE) appointed Deputy Superintendent of Management and Finance, Beth Scioneaux, as acting superintendent until BESE selects the next state superintendent, “in accordance with R.S. 36:646:

Title 36

§646. Deputy state superintendent

There may be a deputy state superintendent of the department, who shall be appointed by the state superintendent with consent of the Senate. He shall serve at the pleasure of the state superintendent at a salary fixed by the state superintendent, which salary shall not exceed the amount approved for such position by the legislature while in session. The duties and functions of the deputy state superintendent shall be determined and assigned by the state superintendent. He shall serve as acting state superintendent in the absence of the state superintendent. If no deputy state superintendent is appointed, the state superintendent shall designate the deputy superintendent of management and finance or the deputy superintendent of district support to serve in his absence.

Scioneaux holds a bachelors degree in accounting from Louisiana State; she has been with the LDOE working in finance since 1998. Scioneaux was promoted to Deputy Superintendent of Management and Finance in 2007.

Twenty-one individuals have applied to be Louisiana’s next superintendent. BESE might be ready to vote on the issue when it convenes April 20th and 21st.

john white 2

Former La. supt. John White


My latest book, A Practical Guide to Digital Research: Getting the Facts and Rejecting the Lies, is now available for purchase on Amazon and via Garn Press!


Indiana Set to End Test Scores as a Mandatory Part of Teacher Evaluations

The idea of using student test scores to measure teachers is ridiculous. Testing companies know as much; that is why no testing company dares advertise its standardized tests as suitable for measuring anything other than the aptitude or achievement of the individual completing the test.

Even so, the life blood of so-called education reform is danmation by test score, be it damnation of teachers, or schools, or districts, or states, or even our nation as a whole.

After a while, though, the ed-reform, system-shake-up appeal of standardized testing loses its luster. Such has happened in Indiana as concerns the state-mandated use of student test scores as a component of teacher evaluations.

Indiana Representative Anthony Cook (R-Cicero) authored HB1002, “AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning education,” a bill in which Cook simply removed the 2011 language requiring “school corporations” to include in teacher evaluations…

…objective measures of student achievement and growth to significantly inform the evaluations. The objective measures must include:

  • Student assessment results from statewide assessments for certificated employees whose responsibilities include instruction in subjects measured by statewide assessments
  • Methods for assessing student growth for certificated employees who do not teach in areas measured by statewide assessments, and
  • Student assessment results from locally developed assessments and other test masures for certificated employees whose responsibilities may or may not include instruction in subjects and areas measured by statewide assessments.

Consequently, the bill also relieves the state board of education of “Adopt[ing]… the measures to be used to determine student academic achievement and growth” for teacher evaluations.

HB 1002 retains language to the effect that school corporations “may” choose to use “test scores of students (both formative and summative)” as part of performance evaluation plans.

Regarding his reasons for removing the state-mandated testing component in teacher evaluations, on January 07, 2020, Cook said the following in an Indiana House press release:

Local school administrators have a better grasp of educators’ strengths in the classroom. Giving individual school districts the flexibility to decide how to use test scores in evaluations will provide a more complete and accurate picture of teachers’ overall performance.

Cook added the following on January 13, 2020:

This bill empowers administrators to decide how they want to use the data these exams provide to our teachers about students’ understanding of concepts. Our swift action behind this effort is an encouraging step in supporting our teachers across Indiana.

An exam given on one day does not paint an accurate picture of the hard work our teachers put in throughout the rest of the school year.

What is interesting is the popularity in dropping the state-mandated testing component: The Indiana House voted unanimously (100-0), and the Senate, 49-1, in favor Cook’s HB 1002.

As of March 03, 2020, Indiana’s HB 1002 awaits the governor’s signature. Assuming the governor signs, HB 1002 is set to go into effect in July 01, 2020.

According to an annual Indiana State University survey conducted in 2019, 92 percent of the 115 districts participating reported difficulties in filling teaching positions in areas including special education, math, and science. In 64 percent of the cases, the shortage was of three or more teachers. Ninety-four percent of reporting districts indicated filling positions via emergency permits; 28 percent reported using full-time substitute teachers.

Though low compensation appears to be the primary reason for Indiana’s difficulties in retaining new teachers, the issue of high-stakes testing is also listed.

Perhaps states and districts might reallocate monies once used to meet teacher eval testing mandates for boosting teacher compensation.

std test


My latest book, A Practical Guide to Digital Research: Getting the Facts and Rejecting the Liesis now available for purchase on Amazon and via Garn Press!




La. Superintendent Search: 21 Applicants

From the Associated Press, as published March 02, 2020, Lafourche Parish Daily Comet:

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP)– More than 20 people from across the country have applied to be Louisiana’s next state education superintendent, according to the state’s top school board.

The 21 applicants include higher education professionals from schools in Louisiana, Texas and Tennessee, as well as public school teachers, a Louisiana teacher’s union representative and other consultants, administrators and educators holding posts nationwide. An Arkansas Department of Education official as well as a former Kentucky education chief have also applied for the position, news outlets reported.

The current superintendent, John White, announced in January that he would be resigning March 11 after eight years in the role.

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member Kira Orange Jones is chairwoman of the working group that will help select White’s successor. She called the list of applicants ‘a very diverse and talented pool of educational leaders’ in an update released Saturday, one day after the application window closed.

Jones has said she hopes the panel will agree on White’s successor at its two-day meeting April 20 and 21. At least eight of the 11 board members must vote to approve the new hire.

Asked about the applicants Monday, Gov. John Bel Edwards didn’t name a favorite. He said he hoped the board will pick someone with classroom experience who has worked in a variety of education roles and is a ‘champion for education.’

‘I believe that we have multiple candidates who fit that bill,’ the Democratic governor said.

As of this writing, Louisiana’s state board (BESE) has not published its own press release.



My Book, A Practical Guide to Digital Research, Is Now Available!

My latest book, A Practical Guide to Digital Research: Getting the Facts and Rejecting the Lies, is now available for purchase on Amazon.

Garn Press will have the book available for purchase on March 03, 2020.