In a blow to Lusher Charter School, the administration disclosed the name of its admissions test in response to attorney general’s opinion released Thursday.
The selective-admission charter school came into the spotlight earlier this year when it refused to release the name of the test given to prospective kindergarten students after a parent requested it.
A spokeswoman for Lusher said the opinion speaks for itself, and provided the name to The Lens today.
It is the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test, Cheron Brylski said.
Parent Jacob Landry asked CEO Kathy Riedlinger for the name only after his son took the test. His son did not get in and attends a different charter school.
According to Landry, Riedlinger told him he would have to sue to find out what test Lusher uses.
In June, Riedlinger said she would leave it up to the Attorney General, “to make the decision as to whether or not this policy should stand, and follow his opinion.”
Riedlinger has said that releasing the name would give some parents an unfair advantage in gaining access to the test, for instance, if they worked in education.
“Even if we don’t provide you with test questions and answer keys, if prospective parents know the name of the test, they might be able to access the test that is used year after year,” Riedlinger told Landry in a followup email.
Landry wanted the name to ensure the test being used was not an intelligence quotient examination, which is barred by the state for being used in admissions processes.
In her letter, Riedlinger said Landry asked for “information concerning the entrance exam.” She cited an exception to the state Public Records Law that shields “testing instruments” administered by the state, as well as answers or student scores for those tests.
“If the admissions exam does not fall under the above referenced exemptions, then virtually all tests given in Louisiana primary and secondary schools would be subject to the Public Records Act,” Riedlinger wrote. “For example, a parent could use the Public Records Act to request a copy of his or her child’s biology exam before it is administered.”
Landry said he just wanted to know the name of Lusher’s test.
The opinion sides with both. It says the contents of the exam may be kept private but the name must be released.
An attorney general’s opinion does not have the force of law, but it’s the state’s analysis of how a court likely would rule.
The opinion references two statutes which would prevent the school from releasing the actual admission test.
“Thus to refer back to the example provided by Lusher, the school could rely upon these two statutes, when read together, to deny a parent’s request for his child’s biology exam before it is administered.”
But, it also states the name of the test is not protected and therefore subject to public records law.
“While this may be a compelling reason to advocate for a change in the law to provide for a specific exception relevant to the name of an admissions test used by a charter school, it is the opinion of this office that the current Public Records Law does not provide such an exception.”
Benjamin Franklin High School, a selective-admission charter, makes the name of its test known. Board of directors president Duris Holmes said previously this is not a concern because the school uses a new version of the test each year.
Reached Friday, Landry said he thought the opinion authored by Assistant Attorney General Emalie Boyce was fair.
“It’s how I thought they should answer the question,” Landry said. “She essentially said they have to reveal the name of the test, they do not have to give a copy of it.”