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|Winnsboro elementary's predicament|
Franklin Parish Schools most likely will learn early next month whether the state will take over Winnsboro elementary.
In the past two years, Winnsboro elementary has not made satisfactory progress in meeting goals set by the Recovery School District of Louisiana. The recovery district set those goals for Winnsboro elementary because its test scores showed it was a poor performing school.
The bad news does not end there.
For the past five years, Winnsboro elementary has posted test scores that do not meet state standards. According to guidelines established by state Superintendent Dr. Paul Pastorek, a school that posts inadequate test scores for four years is subject to being taken over by the state and operated as the state sees fit.
That is what could take place at Winnsboro elementary.
When the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meets in early December Pastorek will make a recommendation to BESE on what to do with Winnsboro elementary. He could advise that BESE pursue one of four avenues to hopefully bring Winnsboro elementary up to speed. Those possibilities range from Franklin Parish Schools entering a contract with the recovery district to the recovery district taking over Winnsboro elementary and possibly operating it as a charter school.
We do not like the idea of the state taking over a local school. After all, whatever happened to the idea of public education being handled locally?
It is apparent, though, that much is amiss at Winnsboro elementary.
While we feel certain a host opinions exist on why Winnsboro elementary is not cutting the mustard, so to speak, we can say with a great deal of certainty the blame for Winnsboro elementary's shortcomings do not fall at Superintendent Lanny Johnson's feet. Instead, we feel fairly certain the state—if it takes over Winnsboro elementary—will learn the problems at the elementary school can be attributed to a number of causes. We suspect as well that the state will run into the same problems Johnson and the Franklin Parish School Board have encountered in trying to bring Winnsboro elementary up to par.
Yet, the reason, or reasons, why Winnsboro elementary continues to lag can be attributed, in part, to the number of uncertified teachers employed at the school.
That raises a question, though.
Why are there so many uncertified teachers teaching in the public school system in Franklin Parish?
Could it have something to do with the pitifully low salaries the public school system in Franklin Parish can afford to pay?
The answer to that question is a resounding yes. Good teachers, or certified teachers, can land jobs at parish school systems that pay well.
But before public school teachers in Franklin point to this opinion piece and say, "We told you so," they should be reminded that pouring more money into education is not necessarily the answer.
Remember, Louisiana spends more money per pupil than any other state in the Deep South. What has that done for us?
It has bought Louisiana the dubious distinction of possessing one of the worst public education systems in the country. That's exactly what the vast amount of money the state has spent on education has secured.