News and Updates

John White in Lafayette, 9am July 23rd, for first of nine regional LDOE meetings on ESSA: Every Student Succeeds Act.


At 9:00 am on Tuesday July 23rd at Lafayette Middle School, State Superintendent of Education, John White, begins a series of public meetings about ESSA – the Every Student Succeeds Act. The public, including parents, teachers and community members are required to be involved to help build the state’s ESSA compliance plan. This provides the public the opportunity to change the state accountability system, one that is currently almost exclusively driven by standardized test scores.

ESSA, which replaces No Child Left Behind, marks a turning point. There are things that we can do now that we couldn’t do before.

  • We can choose multiple indicators -not just state testing- to demonstrate school quality and student success.
  • We can choose a better way to identify the strength of our schools. A single letter grade – A to F – doesn’t communicate what parents and educators need to know.
  • We can change our response to schools that struggle by involving parents, teachers and the community in determining interventions.
  • We can protect parental choice for children to opt out of state tests without punitive measures for children or schools.
  • We can eliminate the evaluation of teachers based on students’ scores on state tests.

Imagine schools that are measured by access to school support personnel, access to fine arts and foreign language programs, years of experience and expertise of the faculty, bullying prevention methods and positive behavior programs, parent and community involvement, and appropriate assessment programs. All of these opportunities to demonstrate student success and school quality are currently being ignored in Louisiana’s accountability system. ESSA gives us a path to demand that these measures be the standard by which our schools are judged. We can achieve this.

For more information about ESSA and how you can promote change, please click here for A PPEL Guide to ESSA. Print out the guide and share it with friends.


Superintendent White needs to hear from you. Please attend one of these regional meetings:

  • Tuesday, July 26- 9:00, Lafayette Middle School, 1301 W. University Ave., Lafayette
  • Tuesday, July 26- 2:00, Lake Charles Boston Academy of Learning, 1509 Enterprise Blvd. Lake Charles
  • Wednesday, July 27- 9:00, Aiken Virtual Program Building, 2121 Mason St., Alexandria
  • Wednesday, July 27- 2:00, Wanda Gunn Professional Development Auditorium, 1961 Midway, Shreveport
  • Thursday, July 28- 9:00, City of Monroe School Board, 2101 Roselawn Ave., Monroe
  • Friday, July 29- 9:00, McKinley Middle Magnet School, 1550 Eddie Robinson Sr. Dr., Baton Rouge
  • Monday, August 1- 10:00, Terrebonne Parish School Board, 201 Stadium Dr., Houma
  • Tuesday, August 2- 10:00, Fontainebleau High School, 100 Bulldog Dr., Mandeville
  • Tuesday, August 2- 1:00, Woodson/KIPP Central City Academy, 2514 Third St., New Orleans

Each one of the nine meetings begins at either 9:00am, 10:00am or 2:00pm – all times when many busy parents are at work. Superintendent White has said he would be happy to attend other meetings when he is invited. He should be invited back by communities and organizations for day and evening presentations, so more people can provide input. Don’t miss attending – or requesting – a meeting! It is a rare opportunity for the general public to create policy changes at the Louisiana Department of Education that will directly benefit our children.



A PPEL Guide to ESSA: the Every Student Succeeds Act


Please print out this Guide to ESSA, the new federal law that replaces the No Child Left Behind act, and share it with family, friends and co-workers.

Education Week Watch: ‘One App’ Pushback


As corporate-supported K-12 education reformers promote school choice, the concept of ‘single applications’ for all schools within a city or district – traditional, charter, for-profit, voucher, on-line, etc. – is also being promoted.  The New Orleans ‘One App’ single application system is looked upon as a model, despite significant parent criticism.  Boston, MA, and Oakland, CA, are planning to create single-enrollment systems for all traditional public schools and charter schools.  These districts might heed warnings

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Education Week Watch: State Testing + Computers = Poor Scores


Research on learning with paper texts versus computers shows unique strengths for paper. Comparisons of PARCC scores echo those findings.  Scores of students taking PARCC tests on paper were consistently higher than for matched groups of students taking the tests on computers. READ about PARCC score comparisons here:  PARCC Scores Lower on Computer Exam. READ about  research on reading here: The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens. Are school systems

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Withholding Data: John White, PARCC, and the BESE Elections


There’s been a lot of criticism of John White, the Louisiana Department of Education, and the sitting BESE board for withholding data and data manipulation. Educational researchers and policy advocates are particularly incensed when the LDOE refuses to release data that had been traditionally used to double-check the claims of the state. The Advocate has posted a story about the rising controversy over White refusing to release PARCC test scores. (PARCC is the standardized achievement test that

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Misplaced Priorities: One Acadiana’s Educational Advocacy


The education priorities One Acadiana announced at a PR event at ULL’s Picard Center are a mixed bag. Sure it’s great to support increased funding of pre-K classrooms at the Picard Center for Childhood Development. But the confident announcement of success for Louisiana’s corporate-driven reforms is both disturbingly self-congratulatory and dangerously wrong. The absences and odd choices in the presentation should serve as a warning signal to concerned citizens—absent is any mention of Louisiana’s basically unchanged

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Forum on The School Performance Score: how does it affect our children?


PPEL (Power of Public Education Lafayette) held a public forum on the Louisiana School Performance Score on September 15 at 6:00 pm in the Clifton Chenier Community Center in North Lafayette. The free forum focused on how the Louisiana School Performance Scores, School Letter Grades, and standardized testing effect our children. It provided up-to-date information from people with different positions within the world of public education. Questions were taken from the audience and folks stayed after the event to talk with other interested members of the public and the speakers. It was an interesting and invigorating night.

Featuring speakers included: Tom Spencer, LPSS Director of Accountability; Noel Hammatt, education researcher; Dr. Frank Del Favero, Education professor at UL Lafayette, and Dr. Patrice Pujol, Ascension Parish Superintendent and member of the State Accountability Commission.

The forum was broadcast on AOC and clips of each presentation have been made available on AOC’s YouTube channel. Each speaker’s presentation is embedded below.

Tom Spencer
The LPSS Director of Accountability


Noel Hammatt
Educational Researcher, Former East Baton Rouge Parish School Board member, and past President of the Louisiana School Boards Association


Frank Del Favero
Professor of Education at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette


Patric Pujol
Ascension Parish Superintendent and member of the State Accountability Commission

PPEL Fundraiser and Friday Happy Hour

Hey it’s Friday. And it’s beer. And it’s local music. Aaand it’s our 1st fundraiser as an official non-profit. We’ve got plans and we need your help. (That $10 admission.)
The live music includes Adam Doucet’s Coup de Main and Rodolfo Espinoza’s jazz and stuff combo. Mark your calendars and bring your friends.
Please share!
Event page on this website (with map).   Event page on Facebook (let us know you’re coming!)
PPEL Fundraiser 8:2014



LPSB: Lawsuit Threatened; Conditions Set; Draft of Potential Suit Available


Stories in the Independent and the Advertiser broke the news that Greg Davis, with Gary McGoffin acting as lawyer, have threatened a lawsuit against the board unless they comply with demands to pass as set of resolution that end the investigation of Superintendent Cooper and that the board accept last years budget going forward rather than finish putting together its own budget. The Advertiser in particular has a very interesting and informative set of comments that begin to raise appropriate questions. 

In response to a query I made in the Advertiser comments on that story Gary McGoffin kindly forwarded a copy of the cover letter, and a copy of the resolution he wants the school board to adopt to avert the threat of lawsuit. I’ve uploaded pdf versions to the PPEL site and are making them available at the following URLs:

The cover letter outlining the demands:…/2014/08/Rule-65.1-letter.pdf

The proposed board resolutions whose passage would presumably head off the lawsuit:…/Board-Resolution…

The draft copy of the application for an injunction against the board that would be filed against the Board should they fail to comply:…/Injunction…

Dont mortgage the bridge to our childrens future


Ann BurrussAnn Burrus has a fine essay on the budget issue in the Advertiser. If you’ve not seen take a look:Dont mortgage the bridge to our childrens future.