Letter: Advocate stifling excellence

Once again, The Advocate’s anti-excellence position has been produced on the Opinion Page of April 24 in opposition to the proposed a new school district in East Baton Rouge Parish. Two previous “breakaway” districts have shown how to achieve excellence in their student populations and The Advocate is not honest enough to admit their success. The Advocate opposed new districts in the past.

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber joins in this drumbeat for mediocrity. I wonder what goes through the businessmen’s minds when they know they support a system that cannot produce graduates who are competent enough for them to hire? I guess they are happy with a steady “D” performance.

Many parents have recognized the years-long failure of the East Baton Rouge Parish school district to correct and improve the public education it is responsible for. Schools in EBR parish simply do not make significant improvement in spite of money, new leaders and promises. As a result, many of these parents want to abandon the parish failure system and help fund a better system for their children. There has been ample opportunity and plenty of time for the EBR school district to fix the poor education it has been offering.

The Advocate has opposed changes to the school district on weak or just useless grounds. Now we see that reasons for no new district are such things as legacy costs, logistics, overcrowding and on and on. Notice there is no discussion of the possible (and probable) positive impact on student achievement. Two of the three new districts have demonstrated this positive impact, which is being ignored.

As noted by The Advocate, 44 percent of Louisiana’s schools were recently rated as “D” or “F” — almost half.

Furthermore, EBR got a score of “D,” although somewhat improved over last year. So parents are encouraged to keep their kids in a “D”-performing district. The Advocate does not rank excellence in student achievement as important, for it has opposed many of the advances made by successful breakaway districts.

And look at the grades of some districts that surround EBR: Zachary. “A”; Central, “B,”; West Feliciana, “B,”; Livingston “B,” Ascension, “B.” That should get your attention. While EBR continues to score a “D,” its neighbors score much higher.

So the moral is this: If you want some advice on where to send your children for a good education, then forget asking The Advocate. The newspaper is not advocating excellence, it is advocating status quo mediocrity in a failed district. I wonder why?

Bill Fontaine

retired retail manager

Central