Influential business group commissions study to investigate falling North Shore school scores | Education

An in-depth study commissioned by the North Shore Business Council sought to understand how the performance ratings of the St. Tammany Parish School System have slipped in recent years, an election-year move that shows the influential group has an operating budget of nearly $500 million. vested interests in the education system.

The study has been sent to all candidates running for St. Petersburg. Tammany School Board seats in November. 8 elections, and a commitment to asking candidates to support a more transparent and accountable school system.

The pledge calls for candidates to provide support in 10 areas, including early childhood education, federal funding and school options related to pandemic learning losses.

Business group focus

As the parish’s largest employer, the St. Tammany Public School System is an area of ​​focus for the Business Council, an invitation-only coalition of approximately 70 business leaders on the North Shore.

“People are moving to St. Tammany because of the school system. We want to know why we are where we are now,” said attorney Ross Lagarde, chair of the committee.

The 96-page study, conducted by Southeastern Louisiana University’s Center for Business Studies, was designed to analyze how St. Louisiana University is doing. Tammany opposes better-performing areas in Louisiana and out-of-state. The “aspiring” or high-performing districts used in the study included Livingston, Ascension and Plaquemines parishes, as well as nonpublic school districts in suburban Atlanta, Nashville and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Since 2010-2011, St. Tammany fell from first place. 4 states ranked No. 1 18 states ranked below the top 25% of schools in Louisiana.

“We have the highest ACT test rate, but other parishes are teaching passing LEAP,” Lagarde said.


Third graders with St. Tammany Public Schools Superintendent Frank Jabbia visits Abita Elementary in August. 8.

Among public school students in grades 3-8 in the New Orleans metro area, less than half were adequately prepared for the next grade before and after the pandemic, according to test scores recently released by the Louisiana Department of Education. .

Pandemic Learning Loss

Across the state, school districts are catching up and managing the impact of pandemic-related learning losses. Of the seven public school systems in the New Orleans metro area, St. Tammany is the only region to see no improvement in LEAP scores between 2021 and 2022.

Nonetheless, St. Tammany, one of the largest school districts in the state with approximately 37,000 students, still ranks second in the metro area with 42% of students achieving proficient or above on the LEAP test. That’s tied with Plaquemines Parish and 1 percentage point behind St. Charles Parish. The statewide average is 31%.

stone. Tammany also excelled on the ACT test and college preparation, the report said. School district officials say it’s important.

“ACT gets our kids to college. That’s what our kids pay for technical school and community college tuition and St. Louis University for free. Tammany Parish doesn’t have it. 1,” St. Louis. Frank Jabbia, head of Tammany School, said.

Earlier this week, the business council held a face-to-face meeting with school officials, the first of Jabia’s tenure, to discuss plans to address performance concerns. Jabia, who became superintendent in October 2020, said in their efforts to improve state testing, their focus has been on realigning a disjointed curriculum that has been plagued by community opposition to the Common Core Standards since 2016.

“For too long, we’ve had to hodge-podge our curriculum,” he said. “One big problem is all these different curricula. When you jump from grade to grade, those teachers have to start all over again.”

Except for St. Tammany, the report examines the performance of three other North Shore school districts – Tangipahoa Parish, Washington Parish and Bogalusa City Schools. stone. Tammany is the largest of the four parishes with the lowest poverty rates and is the only North Shore school district in the top half of Louisiana’s performance rankings.

The study showed that the Diocese of Tangipaho dropped from 47th in 2017 to 58th in 2019. The Diocese of Washington and the City of Bogaloosa ranked 40th and 68th, respectively, in 2019. All three districts have higher household income and poverty rates than St. Petersburg. Tammany, the report said this was the strongest factor associated with school performance.

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