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LA DPS needs fewer excuses, more action

Transparency isn’t optional. Excuse-making should be. Louisiana’s Department of Public Safety needs to understand this, the latest audit of the agency and its constituent parts shows.

This week, the Legislative Auditor issued that report, which proved so fertile that the Baton Rouge Advocate found material for two separate stories about it. One highlighted that the agency couldn’t document over $2 million spent on patrolling New Orleans’ Vieux Carré.

After a surge in crime in 2014, the state began sending in state troopers and allocating state taxpayer money to fund partially this purpose. The fiscal year 2017 allotment DPS recorded all went to agency-wide fuel expenses, which the auditor flagged as questionable.


Latest scores debunk revanchist education myth

When you use this fact to dismantle a common argument made by defenders of Soviet-style education, kindly do so.

Apologists for school systems that resist reform, kowtow to unions and other special interests that owe more fealty to adults than children, and who blame everything but themselves for failing schools, often try to defend their failure by arguing they can’t do better because of the kind of bulk product – children – they have to work with. Frequently, the excuse takes two forms: minority children (read: black or Hispanic but not Asian) are more difficult to educate well because of the cultural environments their community historically has faced or even continues to deal with today, and/or poverty creates difficult learning conditions.

Worse, the two things interact and only dramatic solutions involving much greater spending on education and wealth redistribution outside of education policy can solve for that, it is asserted. Thus, poor performance largely is out of the hands of school districts and therefore exempts present systemic practices and policy from blame.


Lack of will, not money, explains LDH failures

Go to the dictionary and look up “audacity,” and there you’ll find the Louisiana Department of Health under Gov. John Bel Edwards.

That’s the conclusion drawn from the department’s latest attempts at damage control after scathing audits of its Medicaid provision. One identified very likely at least $62 million in improper payments on behalf of the Medicaid expansion population through the first part of 2018. In fact, because the figure looked at just a fraction of all enrollees, about five percent, the figure could be much higher.

The audit illuminated that LDH’s headlong attempt to qualify and stuff as many people as possible into the program unnecessarily led to that waste. In particular, under Edwards it reversed a decision that the state verify eligibility from an “determination state” to an “assessment state,” which the state only had implemented at the end of the former Gov. Bobby Jindal Administration because of the high error rate.


Perkins experiment exception in NW LA results

With one huge exception, elections in northwest Louisiana’s two most populous parishes changed things little.

Last weekend culminated the election season, marked by Shreveport city and Caddo Parish School Board elections, plus the latter in Bossier Parish. The Bossier contests featured next to no excitement whatsoever; even with a few incumbents opting out (one after qualifying), all but one of those districts drew just one qualifier and just one incumbent ended up with a challenge, which he beat back. With this conforming to Bossier’s eccentric small town/apathetic dynamics, it didn’t even need last Saturday’s elections to have wrapped up the Board’s composition for the next four years, which remains in partisan terms ten Republicans, one Democrat, and one independent.

Caddo and Shreveport city council contests provided little more excitement or change. In the school district, fewer than half the seats had competition and none of the challenged incumbents lost who had won previous election. The anomalous appointed member, Durwood Hendricks, did see his district with which his views and its didn’t exactly mesh dump him in November. But when the dust settled, the Board reverted to its form for most of last term – five white Republicans, one white Democrat, and six black Democrats – with nine old faces returning.