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If the state takeover of New Orleans schools worked, ACT scores below 16 would not be embarrassing

In 2003, the Louisiana legislature created a School Recovery District ( RSD) that allowed the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to take over schools with a school performance score (SPS) of 60 or less.

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans, and in November 2005, the Louisiana legislature used that destruction to take over even more schools by raising the deficient school score to an SPS below the current average of 87.4. (For more information on the history of RSD, see this post.)

Note that a key component in the calculation of SPS is the standardized test score. At the high school level, one of these test scores is the ACT, which was administered to all third-year students beginning in the 2012-13 school year. In addition, 100 percent of the 2013 class in Louisiana took the ACT.

The overall goal of the state takeover of the Louisiana schools was for the state to take over most of New Orleans' public schools, which it did in 2005, and to charter all schools that before they were administered by the local council. schools – what he did in May 2014.

The New Orleans RSD (RSD-NO) in Louisiana was an experiment, one that was supposed to "turn around" those deficient schools and make the conversion of RSD a modern miracle.

By 2017 – twelve years after Katrina – it is clear that the experiment has failed. There is not an incredible miracle based on the test score, and nowhere is such a failure as obvious as the average composite scores of ACT for the RSD-NO in general and its high schools individually.

The rest of this post offers a detailed examination of ACT's average composite scores for RSD-NO, where the miracle-producing engine has stalled.

On August 9, 2017, the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) published the ACT Class composite scores for the Class of 2017 by school and school district.

What is not included among the published school and district grades is an average ACT composite score for the Class of 2017 for New Orleans high schools that were acquired by the post-Katrina state and that comprised the School District of New Orleans. Recovery, New Orleans (RSD-NO).

In fact, the average composite score file for the ACT 2016 LDOE class also does not include a separate score for the RSD-NO high schools.

In May 2016, the Louisiana legislature voted to begin returning the RSD-NO schools to the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB), a decision that provided a convenient reason for the Louisiana State Superintendent, John White , stop reporting the annual average Composite ACT scores for RSD-NO as a separate score.

Beginning with the Class of 2012, the ACT average composite score reported by the state for the RSD-NO high schools has been a disgrace, making the state acquisition a difficult sale for a corporate reformer like White.

White was never able to promote RSD-NO high schools because he had an average ACT compound that even reached 17.0.

In fact, the best composite ACT score of RSD-NO occurred several years ago, in 2012, when RSD-NO reached 16.8

To provide a context for the meaning of ACT composite values, keep in mind that for a high school graduate to obtain unconditional admission to Louisiana State University (LSU), they must have an ACT composite score of 22.

Then, according to LDOE's own reports, it was reduced to 16.3 in 2013. (See Leslie Jacobs, the voice of the Louisiana Reform, minimize the fall of the ACT in 2013 to 16.3 in this New Orleans Miracle sales release.)

And it climbed modestly in 2014, to 16.4. That year, White did not publish the composite scores of the Louisiana ACT. I published them in January 2015, with the help of someone in higher education who got tired of waiting for White. Within days of my release, which had RSD-NO from high schools at 15.7 for an average class of 2014 compound, White released his 16.4.

The comparison of their numbers with the ones I got asks for an audit. But for now, we're going with White's 16.4, which is nothing to show, and that seems to be a key reason why White did not release the scores in a timely manner in the first place.

In 2015, LDOE reported that the average ACT composite of RSD-NO was 16.6. And before it was time for an ACT score release for the Class of 2016, the Louisiana legislature decided to start sending the RSD-NO schools back to OPSB. Of course, since those RSD-NO schools are now charter schools, their "return" to OPSB is not the same as if they were traditional public schools, as Danielle Dreilinger reported in May 2016 at :


The Louisiana Legislature is ready to close a chapter in the history of New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives voted to reverse the state takeover in 2005 of most of the city's public schools. …

But the re-unified school system will not be the same as in the old days. In the last decade, the Recovery system has become a realm of independent charter schools, mini-kingdoms managed by non-profit and non-elected boards. Those boards will continue to reign after the transition, making their own decisions but to meet the benchmarks of the Orleans Parish School Board. They are currently reporting to the Recovery District, which is a unit of the State Department of Education, and to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

that OPSB will oversee the RSD-NO schools that are now returning in a "portfolio" style of market-driven reform that adds a level of bureaucracy that complicates supervision, such a return is a true gift to John White.

White can better hide the shame of the RSD-NO ACT score by averaging the RSD-NO high schools with the OPSB high schools and never, ever, have to report an average composite score separated from ACT in those RSD-NO high schools ever again.

From 2012 to 2015, the LDOE reported the average OPSB and RSD-NO ACT scores separately, but also reported them in a combined manner, which helped to draw attention to how low the RSD-ACT composite scores were. DO NOT. .

And the average RSD-NO composite materials, which were low (ranging from 16.3 to 16.8 during the four years of 2012 to 2015) helped to hide the fact that several secondary schools of RSD-NO continued to have composite scores of ACT below 16, and that many of the ACT compounds for RSD-NO schools year after year continue to be erratic:

RSD-NO School, and ACT composites for the classes of 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012:

  • Lake area: 16.4, 17.1, 16.8, 16.2, 17.2
  • The NET: 14.3, 14.6, 14, 13, 12.5, N / A
  • Media Luna: 14.2, 14.1, 14.3, 14.4, ~, N / A
  • ReNEW WB: 14, 14.5, 13.9, ~, 12.7, ~
  • Sci Acad: 18.4, 17.8, 19.7, 18.2, 18.8, 20
  • GW Carvr: 16.7, 17.9, N / A, N / A, N / A, N / A
  • Cohen CPrp: 18, 17.8, 17.8, 18.7, N / A, N / A
  • Landr Walk: 16.3, 16, 15.7, 17.8, 17.7, 20.1
  • Algiers Tech: 15.6, 15.9, 16.6, 14.9, 15.5, 17.1
  • SophieWright: 18.1, 17.9, 18.8, 17.1, 18.5 , 17.8
  • KIPP Renais: 18.3, 19.4, 18.5, 17.9, N / A, N / A
  • JosephClark: 15.9, 15.9, 15.4, 14.2, 14.9, 15.4
  • Dr. MLK: 16.8, 17.5, 17.7, 15.3, 15.5 , 15.9

If the state takeover of the secondary schools RSD-NO would make a substantial difference n the results of the tests (the preferred measure of success promoted by the corporate reform), then that difference will possibly manifest itself in some kind of upward trend consisting of the scores of RSD-NO ACT over the years for the majority of the secondary schools of RSD-NO.

Such evidence simply does not exist. If he did, you'd better believe that John White would be broadcasting it.

Instead, it is allowed to combine RSD-NO and OPSB high schools to produce an average ACT compound that is more acceptable to the public. However, even this will get old because the low ACT compounds of the RSD-NO secondary schools are producing what appears to be a stagnant RSD-NO-OPSB composite that can not break an average composite of 19.0.

OPSB and RSD-NO combined ACT composite scores for the years 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012:

  • OPSB with RSD NO: 18.9, 18.9, 18.8, 18.4, 18.2, 18.8

The composite scores are presented below of ACT for OPSB without RSD-NO, for 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012 (LDOE did not inform OPSB separately from RSD-NO in 2016 and 2017):

  • OPSB without RSD-NO: 21, 20.5, 19.7, 19.5

In contrast to the low-score, non-erratic RSD, the non-state OPSB high schools showed a steady upward trend in ACT's average composite scores.

One could argue that many OPSB schools are selective admission schools that did not fit the state definition of "failure" in the first place and, therefore, should not be compared with the state schools of RSD-NO.

However, the rotation of the state does not take off so easily.

The state's takeover point is to "turn" schools with problems, and after more than a decade, such a change should be clearly evident in the state's RSD-NO ACT scores. But it is not, far from it.

The state takeover of the RSD-NO high schools did not "turn" those schools up successfully. In fact, such a failure is profoundly underlined by the fact that the "success" of RSD-NO can not be marketed without hiding the RSD-NO ACT scores behind that average averaged score of OPSB-RSD-NO ACT.

And even combined, RSD-NO-OPSB continues unsuccessfully to achieve an average ACT composite of 19.0.

It is not exactly the essence of miracles.

Originally posted 12-12-17 on

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