(Baton Rouge – August 2, 2016) An Internet list claiming that Louisiana has the worst schools in the nation is an unscientific collection of random reports that does not deserve serious attention, according to the interim president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers.
“Our schools have their problems, to be sure,” said LFT Interim President Larry Carter. “We are one of the poorest states in the nation, and our educators are fighting for the children every day. We welcome any information that can show us a better way. But this clickbait collection of factoids is intended to drive Internet traffic, not to help our schools.”
The report is by a Web site called Wallethub, which offers credit report scores. Wallethub drives traffic to its site by packaging research by others into lists with dramatic headlines like “Best & Worst Cities for Driving,” “Most Patriotic States,” “Best & Worst Cities for Staycations” and “Best Cities for Hockey Fans.”
“They cherry-pick the results of other people’s research and make lists that have no context and no reason to exist other than to attract eyeballs,” said Carter.
For example, the Wallethub list notes that Louisiana has some of the nation’s lowest scores on the ACT test, which indicates a student’s college readiness. It does not explain that unlike many states, all Louisiana high school students take the ACT test, even if they don’t plan to attend college.
“If another state only gives the ACT to students who go to college, of course our scores will look lower,” Carter said. “That is the danger of reporting a statistic without context.
“Wallethub does not report that our students’ ACT scores have actually risen for the past three years,” he added.
The Web site picked information from 17 different studies and shoehorned that into a list, Carter said.
“They could have picked reports that say our ACT scores and graduation rates are rising, and listed Louisiana as having the best schools in the country,” Carter said.
“If this story tells us anything, it is that the Internet is not the place to go for a serious discussion of education issues,” Carter said.