John White’s Lawsuit to Block James Finney’s Public Records Requests: Some Details
On April 25, 2016, Louisiana state superintendent John White sued private citizen James Finney because Finney is making too many public records requests, and (according to White’s suit), White doesn’t have the records; it would take too much time and effort to create the records, and some information requested is exempt from public records law.
In this post, I do not dissect the entire lawsuit. Instead, I take the first section of the suit and reveal some of its soft underbelly.
The first request mentioned in the lawsuit concerns ACT scores. On September 08, 2015, Finney asked for information on ACT scores by district and school for the Class of 2015. On October 13, 2015, the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) said it did not yet have the info. (For an interesting rabbit trail on that issue, see my post, John White’s Two Sets of 2015 ACT Scores.)
Finney also asked for total numbers of students for this ridiculous table, which supposedly reports how many “more” students scored 18+ on the ACT from 2011-12 to 2014-15 without including how many students took the ACT in 2011-2012 versus 2014-15.
Here’s how that works: Let’s say that 100 students in District X took the ACT in 2011-12, and 10 scored composites of 18+. Now let’s say that 200 students from District X took the ACT in 2014-15, and 15 scored a composite of 18+. In his spreadsheet, White hails this as an “increase” of 5 students scoring composites of 18+ from 2011-12 to 2014-15 for District X.
What readers of White’s spreadsheet do not get to know is that for District X, that “increase” of 5 is actually a decrease, from 10 percent (or 10 out of 100) scoring a composite of 18+ in 2011-12 to 7.5 percent (or 15 out of 200) scoring a composite of 18+ in 2014-15.
White’s LDOE has told Finney that it does not have information on the total numbers of students contributing to each district’s score. It has also told him that it does not John White’s Lawsuit to Block James Finney’s Public Records Requests: Some Details | deutsch29: