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1.12.22

Edwards pandemic policies cost youngest readers

The wages of Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ overly-oppressive Wuhan coronavirus pandemic policy continue to accumulate, this time at the expense of the youngest children.

This week, the Louisiana Department of Education released its annual Reading Report, which evaluates reading ability for children in kindergarten through third grade. While the older children made gains, the youngest showed a decline. Superintendent Cade Brumley fingered a pandemic policy that effectively caused closure of early learning centers and face covering mandates that may have delayed speech development and language acquisition.

Both conditions Edwards needlessly foisted onto families. Actually, very early in the pandemic while schools exited in-person instruction in the last two months of the spring, 2020 semester, many centers remained open. The problems began when Edwards didn’t lift commercial restrictions and then imposed masking that summer and kept these in place far too long, becoming one of the last states to ditch such policies two years later even as considerably earlier the relative lack of efficacy of restrictive policies had become apparent.

30.11.22

De Soto jurors must scrap unconstitutional plan

For those hollering about Louisiana’s reapportionment over the past several months, the shoe now is on the other foot in De Soto Parish.

This week, aggrieved residents notified the parish’s Police Jury that unless it reconsidered its reapportionment within two weeks they would file an injunction to prevent its reapportionment, decided at its Apr. 18 meeting, from going forward. They alleged the jurors drew districts that substantially didn’t have equal populations, violating a 10 percent deviation standard (the highest and lowest being over 17 percent apart) which intentionally awarded more representation to the parish’s largest municipality at the expense of the parish’s northern part.

As a result, the Jury will address the topic at its meeting next week. It very well should, for the citizens have an excellent case, starting with the obvious 10+ percent spread. That isn’t an absolute standard, but to go beyond that limit requires some compelling reasons that don’t appear to apply.

29.11.22

Dueling endorsements maintain Tarver advantage

Democrat state Sen. Greg Tarver, in a runoff for Shreveport mayor, should hope that his latest association with a politician named Edwards works out better than it did a quarter of a century ago.

Tuesday, Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards appeared at a news conference to endorse Tarver for the city’s top job, with the election coming on Dec. 10. Tarver pretty consistently has backed Edwards’ agenda, perhaps most controversially when he voted to uphold a veto Edwards cast against a bill that would have promoted competition fairness in women’s sports by not allowing biological males to compete in those, but which the year later passed into law with Tarver’s support and Edwards’ refusal to sign.

Tarver’s last experience with Prisoner #03128-095, formerly known as Democrat Gov. Edwin Edwards, for him turned out less satisfactorily. That Edwards earned his new moniker at the same trial that exonerated Tarver on similar corruption charges, after which Tarver didn’t run for reelection, sitting out for eight years before regaining office in 2011.

28.11.22

Legislature must excise favoritism scholarships

Bad enough that in general academia increasingly has become immersed in politics replacing scholarship and learning. Worse, in Louisiana politics still drives too much even basic decisions in the realm of academia, a condition that should be eliminated recently illuminated by another example of unethical behavior.

The politicized nature of Louisiana higher education is well known, with Louisiana State University alone the scene of attempts to suppress free speech of students, of faculty members, and giving athletics the run of the place. But politicians and their appointees also intervene in the more mundane aspects of administration in order to convert power into favoritism, with former LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans Chancellor Larry Hollier having been revealed as a crass practitioner of this.

An internal investigation last year revealed Hollier intervened to help arrange scholarships for each of his grandsons and thousands of dollars in awards for his grandson’s girlfriend. Hollier denied giving them any assistance and remains a faculty member with a salary in the half million-dollar range after having served in the top spot from 2005-21. He left that abruptly amid charges he pushed for improper pay bumps for his inner circle, underpaid women, and violated the university’s policies while hiring and firing people, as another report indicated.

27.11.22

Fiscal crisis looms for high-tax Bossier schools

Over the past four years, things deteriorated for the high-tax, burgeoning-deficit, above average-performing Bossier Parish School District. That recent elections returned largely the same cast of School Board members calls into question whether the situation will improve any time soon.

Only two new faces will grace the Board when it convenes in the near future, although one of the remaining ten joined only last year and was the only one to face a reelection challenge, and another newcomer slid in unopposed. In essence, nine incumbents sailed back into office without opposition despite some uninspiring data concerning their policy-making.

On the performance side, in academic year 2018 Bossier schools ranked 21st out of 70 in the state with a district performance score of 82.8 (state average: 76.1) or graded “B.” Last AY, the district jumped to 11th out of 64 (Lafourche, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, and Terrebonne didn’t report; four ranked ahead of Bossier in AY 2018) with a score of 86.4 (state average: 77.1). Both in an absolute sense and relative sense, there was minor improvement.