While teacher unions usually lead the way in criticizing Louisiana’s new methods for evaluating public school teachers, they had to take a back seat last week.

Mickey Landry, executive director of the Choice Foundation in New Orleans, was succinct in his view of what should be done about the current job evaluation methods.

“I think we ought to just blow it up,” Landry said.

Landry is a member of the Accountability Commission, which is studying whether and how to revamp teacher reviews.

Alexander: Higher ed needs transparency

Federal student loans provide cover for colleges and universities to jack up tuition and could eventually be ended unless higher education becomes more transparent about student outcomes.

LSU President & Chancellor F. King Alexander said that was the theme in his essay published last week by The U.S. News & World Report.

Alexander is vocal backer of an alternative system – many college leaders oppose the idea — being developed by the U.S. Department of Education that would grade colleges based on outcomes. He says that such a system would bolster public colleges, which charge substantially less than private schools but provide quality education.

“Students and parents want to know that universities charging $7,000 to $8,000 annually have graduate earnings equal to or better than universities charging $45,000 to $50,000,” Alexander said in an interview, echoing his essay.

Alexander said current rankings, like the influential one done by U.S. News & World Report, fail to include data to teach parents and students that lower-cost public universities provide a better value for their money and a better shot of success in the future.

How long does it take to graduate? How much debt do students have when they graduate? How many find jobs and what do those jobs pay? How much are the graduates making at mid-career? How many graduates default on their student loans?

This is information that many institutions possess or can easily acquire, he said.

“For decades, publicly subsidized institutions have gotten away with telling their constituencies to trust them because, ultimately, the investment will be worth it,” Alexander wrote. “This ‘secret garden’ approach of providing limited information led to significant market failure in higher education and inflated costs, as many schools strive to outspend their counterparts instead of demonstrating real value to potential students.”

Cassidy cooks, takes orders at Qdoba

Louisiana Congressman Bill Cassidy, a Republican attempting to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, spent lunch Friday working the line at Qdoba Mexican Grill in Baton Rouge. Photos posted to the candidate’s Facebook page show Cassidy, who was decked out in an official Qdoba shirt and plastic gloves, steaming tortillas and taking orders from customers.

A physician by trade, Cassidy has represented Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District, where the restaurant is located, since 2009. He previously served in the state Legislature.

Jindal meets with N.H. charter students

Gov. Bobby Jindal is back in New Hampshire this week, and today he took time to meet with charter school students there.

The governor’s official Twitter feed released these two photos of Jindal meeting with children in a classroom, along with several people who appear to be reporters.

The governor joked about the “tough interview” he had with the kids and said they discussed Spider-Man, cookies and whether the governor has the power to change a state’s name.

Jindal, who is weighing a run for president in 2016, also was in New Hampshire earlier this month.

Borné to speak at Press Club of BR

Dan Borné, president of the Louisiana Chemical Association, is the featured speaker at the Press Club of Baton Rouge on Monday, Sept. 29. He will talk about the chemical side of Louisiana’s petrochemical boom and what it means for jobs and the state’s economy

The Press Club meets Mondays in the Iberville Room at the Belle of Baton Rouge Hotel, located at 102 France St. Parking is free in the garage off of Mayflower Street. Lunch, which is served at 11:30 a.m., is $12 for members and $15 for nonmembers. The public is invited, but only members of the Press Club and the news media are allowed to ask questions during the question-and-answer portion of the program.

Council on Aging hosts candidate forum

The East Baton Rouge Council on Aging is holding a candidate’s forum Thursday

Candidates for congressional races in the 2nd and 6th Districts will be there along with judicial and school board candidates.

Candidates will be given a chance to answer questions submitted by some of the 85,000 seniors in East Baton Rouge Parish.

The forum will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Ballroom of the BREC Administration Building, 6201 Florida Blvd., Baton Rouge.

Compiled by The Advocate Capitol news bureau. Contact mballard@theadvocate.com