Louisiana’s Department of Education is hosting a series of regional meetings this month to talk about simplifying the state’s high school diploma options.
The department is looking to put more emphasis on career training, after lawmakers’, employers’, and teachers’ repeated complaints that the state is too focused on sending kids on to college, instead of preparing them for real-world jobs.
While departments across the state are seeing steep cuts, the Department of Education has been getting more than it needs, according to accusations Wednesday in a House Appropriations Committee meeting.
Committee chairman Jim Fannin noted: year after year, the department has been allocated more money than it spent. In fiscal year 2012 the department's actual expenditures were $400 million dollars less than its $5.6 billion dollar operating budget.
After saying last August that a public records request would be fulfilled, Louisiana's education department is again refusing to provide The Associated Press with records on how schools were chosen to participate in Gov. Bobby Jindal's new statewide voucher program.
Taxpayer dollars in Louisiana's new voucher program will be paying to send children to schools that teach creationism and question evolution, challenging the lessons central to public school science classrooms.
Several religious schools that will be educating taxpayer-subsidized students tout their creationist views. Some schools question whether the universe is more than a few thousand years old, openly defying reams of scientific evidence to the contrary.
A state appeals court has upheld a decision that allows Gov. Bobby Jindal's statewide voucher program to begin in August.
Teacher unions and local school boards sought to block the start of the program as they challenge its constitutionality.
But in a 2-1 decision, a three-judge appellate court panel agreed with a lower court judge that an injunction couldn't be issued, citing a law that bars injunctions if a state agency chief says it would cause a deficit.
Five people have been appointed to a state Department of Education team to help Louisiana school districts implement new education standards and a teacher evaluation system.
State Superintendent of Education John White said in a Monday news release that the team will work with districts as Louisiana joins most other states in adopting uniform standards known as "Common Core." They also will aid in adoption of a teacher evaluation system called "Compass," which focuses on student improvement as well as other evaluation methods including classroom observation.
BATON ROUGE — Louisiana's Department of Education says the state's annual dropout rate has fallen for three years in a row. A department news release says the percentage of dropouts in seventh- through 12th grades decreased from 3.5 in 2009-2010 to 3.1 in 2010-2011. That means 1,100 more students chose to stay in school.