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La. Schools Graded F for 4+ Years Mostly Serve Low-Income Students of Color

November 10, 2019

On November 06, 2019, Louisiana’s 2019 school and district grades were made public.

To herald the occasion, the Baton Rouge Advocate published an article entitled, “44% of Louisiana Public Schools Need Major Improvements; 45K Students Attend F-Rated Schools.”

This headline comes one week after Louisiana’s 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and ACT scores were released.

The results were not pretty and do nothing to support the argument that corporate-styled, test-dependent ed reform works and serve as a blatant indictment of the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) led since 2012 by Louisiana’s ed-reformer-in-chief, superintendent John White.

According to the “F-Rated Schools” Advocate article, White says, “This can and must change.”

According to LDOE’s outdated page on “school redesign,” one can read the following nebulous info on “struggling schools and ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act)”:


In 2017-2018, the first year under ESSA, 85 school systems submitted plans to improve their struggling schools to the state through the school redesign process, and as a result, school systems are implementing high-quality plans to improve 274 schools in 2018-2019.

Of course, if “school redesign” does not work, there are always warmed-over, No Child Left Behind (NCLB)-styled solutions, which include converting traditional public schools to charter schools:

Acting as the final intervention for schools that continue to struggle despite plans for redesign or comprehensive school system improvement strategies. Involvement by the RSD can include mergers, closures, or transformation by a charter operator.

If “transformation by a charter operator” actually worked, then 15 years following the creation of Louisiana’s Recovery School District (RSD) the former New Orleans RSD superintendent would not be writing a 2018 opinion piece stating that all-charter New Orleans needs “more good schools.”

Out of 66 New Orleans schools with A-F grades for 2019, 21 (32%) are graded D and 8 (12%) are graded F, compared to 14% D and 9% F statewide. These are the results of a state-run “recovery” that began in 2003 and kicked into high gear post-Katrina, in 2005.

The Advocate’s November 06, 2019, “F-Rated Schools” article mentions the following about Louisiana’s persistently F-rated schools and the non-solution of cycling these schools into a state-run “recovery” euphemism:

…89 [schools] that have received an “F” for two or more consecutive years and 25 that received an “F” for four or more consecutive years.

Those 25 are eligible for entry into the Recovery School District, which houses schools with persistent academic problems.

I was curious which exact schools were among the 25 referenced in the Advocate article; a public records request for the names yielded the following response:

In response to that request, the Department provides that the 2018-2019 School Performance Scores are available at the link provided below:

Please be advised that schools are eligible for the Recovery School District if they have been in Academically Unacceptable Status (AUS) for 4 or more years, as indicated in the file by the column, “2019 Academically Unacceptable Schools (AUS).” A value of AUS4, AUS5, or AUS6+ would indicate RSD eligibility. Note that there is a separate tab for alternative schools due to the different scoring formula.

Based on the above information, the following 26 (not 25) schools have received a F grade for four-plus years. Note that all are almost exclusively comprised of economically-disadvanteged students of color, except for the three virtual/online charter schools and one alternative school.

The following 12 schools have received F ratings for six or more consecutive years:

The following eight schools have received F ratings for five consecutive years:

And these six schools have received F ratings for four consecutive years:

What this list demonstrates is that the best way to escape the possible restructuring-merging-charter-conversion punishments of test-centric ed reform is to be white and moderately-monied– and to not attend an online charter school.

No predominately white, traditional public school is among these 26, four-plus-consecutively-F-graded schools.

But four online charters are.

They must not be *transformative* charters.

crcked road


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Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

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Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

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  1. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    Test scores are the weapon of choice to avoid confronting entrenched poverty and racial bias in policies. I find not an ounce of hope in reversing this faux measure of accountability. It is hardwired into ESSA and the charter industry, supported by billionaires, loves this simplistic way to call for the demolition of public schools. Your analysis is, of course, another example of what headlines and state officials prefer not to disclose. The uses of ACT and SAT and NAEP scores are only slightly different. If those scores all improved there is a army of people ready to proclaim the tests are too easy.

  2. Mercedes – Could you reduce this to letter to theceditor ir guest editorial size?

    Name Occupation (include author & book title) Writer’s city of residence Street address & phone (not published) 450 words (guest editorials are usually longer)

    Lee P. Barrios, M.Ed., NBCT

    178 ABITA Oaks Loop ABITA Springs, LA 70420 985-789-8304 Blog:


  3. Reblogged this on David R. Taylor-Thoughts on Education and commented:
    Grading schools is the most futile and worthless activity there is these days. It only identifies what we already knew, poor school perform below wealthier school. What a bad policy!

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