Sunday, April 27, 2008

Here we go us Albert!

Regarding the consent order, if the judge has authored parts then we can call it quits and think about working together for a better Jefferson School System.

In 2002, data freely available at, among Louisiana Public Schools, Rudolph Matas was the only elementary school in Jefferson Parish ranked within the top 50 schools in Louisiana at number 14....the next was Airline Park at 64. Among the middle schools, Alfred Bonnabel was ranked at number 3, no other in the top 100, and Grace King High School was ranked at 25 with Bonnabel following at 51. Our comparable district, Orleans, at least did rank two schools better than Jefferson at the middle and high school levels. Each school accept Bonnabel are, according to the JPSS's standards, racially identifiable white.

Why do I point this out? Well, Jefferson Parish is arguably one of the most metropolitan, progressive and economically sound leaders (AA- credit rating) within the State of Louisiana yet we can not educate our children to qualify to be among the top twenty ranks of Bossier, St. Landry, Lafayette, East Baton Rouge, St. Tammany, Calcasieu, Caddo, Catahoula, Rapides, Tangipahoa, LaSalle, Vermilion and Ouachita Parishes. Some places of which I have no idea of their location, save for googlemaps.

Ok...see my point yet?...Let me spell it out.

To the JPSS, their lawyers, the parents (both for and against this "Final" consent order), by-standers, anyone thinking of moving to Louisiana...listen-up. We have a moral responsibility to educate our children and a fiscal responsibility to provide taxpayers with the best their (our) money can provide. The system may have to be turned on its head for this to happen.

If our schools rank among the bottom 150 in the state then salaries and benefits should also rank accordingly. If our teachers are clamoring to get into the best schools then maybe as a matter of course they should spend 3-5 years contributing and being accountable for improving some of our worst schools qualification to advance to the better schools. If our administrators on the board and elsewhere wish to make a name for themselves leading metropolitan school districts then they should shadow board members of more academically advanced districts to experience the interaction between these members and their community. They will probably experience more patience and cooperation and less name call. If parents expect their schools to mold their children into great thinkers then parents need to be involved in the molding process at home (and at the school). If you find your conditions less than ideal for educating your child then your involvement must be greater than ideal. As for the lawyers, I have a quote from Albert Einstein: "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” It's their job...they could care less about any outcome but their win/lost statistics.

I was told when I was younger another of Einstein's familiar saying, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results". Necessary change is painful. It often requires sacrifice, overcoming fear and being unpopular. These are some of the challenges to change that face our leadership. If our leaders wishes not to rise to these challenges then failure will follow as it has for so many others in our community and we all "consent" to change nothing.

To the kids, listen to Albert:

“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein

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