More MFP Gobbledegook from Supt. White


Email conversation with Supt. White regarding the meaning of the G/T funding formula.   A shell game for sure.  Compare with my other post of conversation with BESE member James Garvey.  BOTTOM LINE - GT funding is being cut.  District MFP funding is being cut. 

March 13, 2013 
Supt. White -

The St. Tammany Association of Gifted and Talented Education met tonight to discuss concerns about your new MFP formula.

Administrators interpreted the following section - Gifted and Talented Weight and High Standards Weight -  to mean that only Gifted, and not Talented, students would have to meet certain criteria on the exams listed.  Is this accurate?  If so, does it mean that all Talented students 9-12 would receive a weight of 30%?  If this is correct, I need to correct my misstatement before the BESE committee and those of the two written testimony that I presented.  

Gifted and Talented Weight - The formula recognizes the cost of providing educational services to Gifted and Talented students. Students in grades Preschool through 8 identified as Gifted and Talented are provided a 60% weight. Gifted and Talented students in grades 9 through 12 are 
provided a weight of 30%. To determine the Gifted and Talented weight, the eligible February 1 Gifted and Talented Student Count (1.0) is multiplied by 60% or 30% respectively.

High Standards Weight – This weight is provided to recognize the cost of providing advanced coursework. A 30% weight is provided for students in grades 8 through 11 that meet the certain criteria on exams. To determine the High Standards Weight, the number of eligible students from the latest available data is multiplied by 30%. Students must meet the following criteria in order to be considered eligible:
o Students in 8th grade that score excellent on Algebra I End Of Course (EOC) tests
o Students in 9th grade who score excellent on Geometry End Of Course (EOC) tests or score a 3 or higher on an Advanced Placement (AP) exam
o Students in 10th grade who score 3 or higher on an Advanced Placement (AP) exam
o Students in 11th grade who score a 3 or higher on an Advanced Placement (AP) exam or a 4+ on an International Bachelorette (IB) Course 

Lee P. Barrios, M.Ed., NBCT

On Mar 13, 2013, at 10:33 AM, John White wrote:
Lee, I appreciate the note and the question. There are no changes to the way students qualify for gifted or talented services; nor are there any changes to the way those programs are to be administered.

Some quick points:
  • Special education and gifted and talented services will continue to be provided, as required by law, according to IEPs. There will be no cuts or changes to these legally required services. 
  • The MFP is a block grant to local school districts. The formula is simply the calculation used to determine how much money the state contributes to the overall cost of educating children. This results in one lump sum payment. There are no MFP dollars tied to particular programs, and the formula has nothing to say about how students qualify for specific programs or how the programs are administered.
  • Districts use the block grant to provide services they choose to provide or are required to provide, such as gifted and talented services or special education services. Districts must provide these services irrespective of the amount of the block grant (in St. Tammany, the MFP block grant is projected to increase significantly this year).
  • If a district shows a projected increase or decrease in the state MFP contribution, it is because the district has seen an increase or decrease in enrollment or local tax revenues.
  • BESE included in the MFP a pilot formula to determine the cost of educating special education students and students taking gifted, talented, and advanced coursework. This pilot has only 10 percent of its true impact, making the typical result an increase or decrease of $10 or less per student (in St. Tammany it is a gain of $8 per child). If a district is projected to lose or gain funds in this year’s MFP, it is because of a change in population or local tax revenue, not because of this pilot. Furthermore, the MFP is only a block grant; it has always been used at the discretion of school boards. It is state and federal law that continues to require that districts provide gifted, talented, and special education services.
John
John White
Louisiana Department of Education

 I understand those aspects.  What is in question is how talented students will be funded.  You have academic requirements for gifted as listed under high standards weight and since you don't differentiate anywhere between gifted and talented it is interpreted by some (if you remember the two statements I read t the BESE meeting) that talented students will receive their prescribed weight based on the same academic requirements as gifted.  My question - is that an accurate interpretation or will talented students in 9-12 simply receive a 30% weight without the, or instance math, academic requirements?

Thanks

Lee P. Barrios, M.Ed., NBCT

On Mar 13, 2013, at 12:03 PM, John White wrote:
Lee, students and programs are not funded in the MFP. All the MFP does is calculate the cost of education in a given school system and then send those funds as one block Grsnt to the system. It has no bearing on any individual programs, each if which is governed by laws that require they be done in a certain way.

Sent from my iPhone

Must be a reason that you are avoiding this question.  I am obviously asking you about that calculation and how it ill be made with reference to Talented students.  

I fully understand, with all due respect,  because of my certification and experience teaching gifted. I understand the law and how gifted and talented learners are served.  What is difficult to understand is your wording in this document.  It is perfectly clear to me that you are requiring gifted and talented 8th graders to score Excellent on End Of Course Algebra I Test.  However, others are incredulous that you would require talented students who may or may not be gifted to score Excellent on that same test or lose the 30% weight going into 9th grade.  I am simply asking for a yes or no answer as to whether 8th grade talented students must also qualify on this test in the same way gifted students must in order to receive a 30% weight for funding.  

I hope that my question is clearer now and that you will answer it.  Thanks

Lee P. Barrios, M.Ed., NBCT



On Mar 13, 2013, at 4:07 PM, John White <John.White@la.gov> wrote:
Lee, my point is that the MFP does not make policy for programs. It only calculates the cost of education and the size of one block grant. So not only is the answer no, but also we would not and could not seek to change academic policy through the MFP. There are no changes to talented services and the policies governing them.

Sent from my iPhone

You are making me dizzy! I think you have been conversing too much with all those TFAs you hired and have lost your clarity -or you picked up the wrong script because your answers don't seem to match up with questions? Signing off. Thanks

Lee P. Barrios, M.Ed., NBCT 

On Mar 13, 2013, at 5:12 PM, John White wrote:
There are no changes to gifted. There are no changes to talented. There are no academic policy changes as a result of this finance pilot.

Sent from my iPhone

Got that, however I don't hear you saying there are no changes to funding those programs or clarifying what those changes are. Your no applies only to your insistence that we are talking about program policy changes. If you and Senator Claitor try to sell this evasive answer to the legislature it will be right up there with "no transfer of funds."

Lee P. Barrios, M.Ed., NBCT 

From: John White
Date: March 13, 2013, 6:38:00 PM CDT
To: Lee Barrios
Cc: Erin Bendily, Beth Scioneaux
Subject: Re: MFP/gifted and Talented
Lee. The MFP is a block grant. It does not fund programs. Its use has always been at the discretion of superintendents and school boards. The law requires that they spend it on some programs, of which G and T are two. The law has not changed, so the programs do not change.

Sent from my iPhone

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