In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) … Your mini news clippings
American Prospect magazine looks at how a Trump presidency could change public education. This analysis examines how the President-elect might expand school choice with charters, vouchers, and for-profit schools; decrease federal oversight and accountability; influence state and local policy in areas like Common Core; and limit funding for higher education research.
The confirmation hearing for Betsey DeVos, the President-Elect’s nominee for Secretary of Education, has been postponed until January 17. DeVos, is a billionaire and education activist who inspires strong opinion (both positive and negative) for her support of charters and vouchers and her efforts to reform Michigan public schools. In a piece for Politico, Andrew Vanacore of The Advocate explains how the New Orleans model differs from Michigan’s and could serve as a helpful guide to DeVos and the Trump administration. While her position on school choice has gotten the most attention, Andrew Rotherham maintains it’s important to know where she stands on other key issues, such as school accountability and the government’s role in enforcing civil rights in schools.
Unifying New Orleans Schools
In the next 18 months, New Orleans could become the country’s first all-charter system under a locally-elected school board. This comes with a unique set of challenges, risks, and expectations. At the heart of the New Orleans transition, is OPSB Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr., who is responsible for unifying New Orleans schools under one district. New Orleans Magazine profiles Superintendent Lewis and calls him thoughtful, diligent, and “one of the most important people in town.”
The Fordham Institute looks back on 2016: The year we came apart, at what led to such anger and what role our education system played in the growing divide.
Research from Nobel Prize winner James Heckman shows a significant return on investment for early care and education programs targeting low-income children from infancy to age 5. Heckman found children in high quality 0-5 programs have higher IQs, are more likely to graduate high school, less likely to be incarcerated, and remain healthier during their lives.
Closer to Home
Staff of Louisiana’s Board of Regents have presented their ideas for reducing the state’s TOPS scholarship budget. These include: permanently funding scholarships at a reduced percentage; converting TOPS to a flat grant not linked to tuition; shifting some funds from merit-based to needs-based scholarships; increasing the number of class hours required per semester; and possibly selling naming rights to TOPS, e.g., the Rouse’s Market TOPS Scholarship.
The International School of Louisiana (ISL) will add a new location for K-2 students at the former Bethune campus in New Orleans. ISL is a Type 2 statewide charter with multiple locations in the New Orleans area. Recently, the ISL board voted not to re-charter its Jefferson Parish campus.
A series in the Times-Picayune examines the lives of children of incarcerated parents and how Louisiana’s criminal justice system works against children, families and communities when parents are imprisoned. A follow-up editorial to the series says, “Louisiana is essentially discarding entire families with excessive sentences for minor crimes, an inflexible bail system, and unfriendly policies toward families of inmates.”
New Orleans College Prep released the new income-based sliding scale for preschool tuition at its Hoffman site. College Prep is planning to expand its program at Hoffman from ages 3-4 to 0-4 and will seat tuition-paying students along with those from Head Start and state-funded preschool programs.
Congratulations to Melissa Sawyer and Sonny Lee, who were named New Orleanians of the Year 2016 by Gambit. Melissa founded the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), which provides a wide range of services to at-risk, court-involved, and out-of-school youth. Sonny Lee created Son of a Saint, a mentoring program for young boys without fathers that gives them the male role model he never had.
The Louisiana Restaurant Association’s Education Foundation is accepting applications for its 2017 Scholarship programs. The program supports the continuing education of college students in pursuing a career the restaurant, foodservice, tourism, or hospitality industry. The application deadline is January 31, 2017. More information can be found at www.LRAEF.org/scholarships.