Letter: BESE plan harmful to education

On Wednesday, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted a recommendation from Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White concerning local involvement in the implementation of COMPASS (the current educator evaluation system). Unfortunately BESE chose not to focus on the basic weaknesses of COMPASS and in essence is shifting the failure of the evaluation system to local school districts.

While it is critical to involve local schools and educators in COMPASS, as BESE should have done at least two years ago before COMPASS was adopted, the current involvement does not in any way look at the underlying weakness of ACT 54, value added stability, the weakness of the current student assessment systems, or the coming “Common Core” assessments. Each of these factors is critical in the effective implementation of COMPASS.

Using an ineffective system to impact evaluations, salaries, promotion, tenure, retention, reduction-in-force, etc., and then requiring districts to implement the policies without giving educators or districts any input into the underlying problems, is weak and harmful to the education process.

The department’s recommendation and BESE’s adoption are not surprising, it is just weak, but then so are many of their decisions.

Wayne Free, assistant executive director

Louisiana Association of Educators

Baton Rouge