ICYMI: Election Results and Education Reform

Sunday, November 22, 2015, 11:04 pm

Election Results and Education Reform
John Bel Edwards will be Louisiana’s next governor. Despite his assurances, many education advocates are worried charter schools will be in jeopardy.
Two BESE elections were also decided Saturday. Kathy Edmonston won District 6 (Baton Rouge area), replacing Chas Roemer, and Tony Davis won District 4 (Shreveport area). While John Bel Edwards stated again today his intention to replace Superintendent John White, it is unlikely he can do so. With the election of Tony Davis, John White has the support of 7 BESE members, and it would take 8 of the 11 members to replace him.

John Bel Edwards has been a vocal critic of Common Core, but uprooting the academic standards from classrooms will be a huge challenge with the recent compromise bill passed by the Legislature.
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ICYMI: What Could Elections Mean for N.O. Education Reform?

Sunday, November 1, 2015, 7:36 pm

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) … Your mini news clippings

The Elections and New Orleans Education Reform

John Bel Edwards and David Vitter are “night and day” on major education issues. These differences are very apparent in how they answered the questionnaire from the Louisiana School Board Association about charter schools and the RSD.

A recent Advocate editorial said Edwards may be more informed than Vitter about the failure of charters in East Baton Rouge, but Vitter’s position on charter schools is the right one – students in New Orleans are much better off today than they were pre-Katrina, and charters are a critical component of that success.

While both the Tea Party and teacher union activists oppose Common Core (as do Edwards and Vitter), the “manufactured controversy” didn’t resonate with most statewide voters in the recent BESE elections.

More on High School Performance Scores

High schools across the state are showing significant improvement, but Louisiana standards are not in line with national standards for college readiness – at least not yet. Currently, Louisiana considers an A-graded high school to be one where: 75 percent of students graduate on time; the average ACT score is at least 18; and the average EOC score is Good or above. Beginning in 2016-17, the state will start to raise the bar on every performance measure so that in 10 years, the majority of students in A-rated schools will be college and career ready.
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High School Performance – A WOW Moment!

Friday, October 30, 2015, 5:24 am

New Orleans high schools are (finally) showing great improvement.

The state released Letter Grades and School Performance Scores (SPS) for most high schools1, and there is cause for celebration!


  • More than half of New Orleans high schools earned a letter grade of A or B. Five years ago, only two high schools had an A or B letter grades and both were selective admission schools (Ben Franklin and Lusher).
  • New Orleans schools outperform other high-poverty high schools in Louisiana. Among schools statewide serving student populations where three-quarters or more of students are economically disadvantaged, New Orleans has the top 5 performing schools.
2015 Grade
Edna Karr A 111.1
Warren Easton A 109.2
Sci High B 98.6
KIPP Renaissance B 96.8
Sci Academy B 96.3
  • Four high schools were among the top 10 most improved in the state: KIPP Renaissance, Clark Prep, New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy, and Sci Academy.
  • Eight high schools improved enough to change their letter grade.

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ICYMI: BESE Election Results

Tuesday, October 27, 2015, 4:55 am

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) … Your mini news clippings

Election Results

Backers of strong accountability and standards won a majority of seats in Saturday’s BESE elections. The New Orleans area solidly supported incumbents Kira Orange Jones in the 1st District and James Garvey in the 2nd. Saturday’s losers included incumbents Lottie Beebe and Carolyn Hill, vocal critics of Common Core and state Superintendent John White. Two other seats will be determined in a runoff election on November 21, and the remaining three seats will be appointed by Louisiana’s next governor. Who the governor appoints, along with the outcome of two runoffs, will determine how united or divided BESE will be going forward.

The race for OPSB’s 1st District will be decided in a runoff election on November 21 between John Brown Sr. and Keith Barney. This is a special election to replace Ira Thomas, who resigned in March after being charged with corruption.
Eyeing New Orleans as a Model
The Hechinger Report examines some of the challenges and successes of turnaround districts, including Louisiana’s RSD.
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PARCC Results: A New Baseline

Sunday, October 25, 2015, 11:20 pm

The state has released the 2014-15 PARCC test results for English and math, grades 3-8.

How did New Orleans do?

  • 60% of students scored Proficient (Basic or above); the state was 65%.
  • 28% of students scored Mastery or above; the state was 33%.

Compared to other districts?

  • New Orleans is ranked 45th out of 69 districts for percent Mastery or above.
  • We outperformed 21 districts, and tied with three others.
  • We held steady. Last year we ranked 46th; this year we ranked 45th.

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Grant Opportunity for Open Enrollment Orleans Parish Public High Schools

Friday, October 16, 2015, 11:44 pm

YouthForce NOLA Career Readiness Initiative

Proposals due November 4, 2015

The YouthForce NOLA Steering Committee seeks proposals from schools interested in exploring, piloting and planning, or implementing high-quality career and technical education school models. Grants will help build the capacity of schools to offer the necessary coursework and experiences so students may develop the knowledge and skills to pursue high-wage, high-demand career pathways.


YouthForce NOLA will support New Orleans open-enrollment, public high schools looking to refine and expand their school models around CTE. Schools will be eligible for the following grants: 

  • Exploration: up to $10,000, plus technical assistance
  • Pilot + Plan: up to $40,000, plus technical assistance
  • Implementation: up to $300,000 over three years, plus technical assistance
Multiple grant rounds are anticipated over the next three to five years. A limited amount of funding is available for this first round; applicants not selected will be invited to re-apply in future rounds.

Download the YouthForce NOLA Schools RFP. All open enrollment New Orleans public high schools are eligible to apply.

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ICYMI: Top Stories

Friday, October 9, 2015, 9:30 pm

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) … Your mini news clippings

Top Stories

OPSB Superintendent Henderson Lewis surprised many with the honesty of his remarks during a presentation on his first six months on the job. Dr. Lewis said we have to “be real” and see New Orleans schools for where they really are. He called it misleading to say OPSB is an “A” district when, if you take just the direct-run (network) schools, OPSB would have a score of 77.7 and would rank 54th in the state. He also said if we expect schools to return to local control, we have to start viewing New Orleans schools as one system. “The most important score this morning is 83.4,” he said, “because that score represents every single school in New Orleans.” View Dr. Lewis’ presentation on his first 180 days.
A coalition of eighty colleges and universities, including all of the Ivy League, is trying to change the college admissions process. They are abandoning the Common Application, and they want students to focus on their portfolio of work beginning in 9th grade. Read More »

ICYMI: Catching Up

Saturday, September 26, 2015, 12:39 am

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) … Your mini news clippings

Katrina Anniversary Coverage

There was a lot of national media coverage of New Orleans K-12 education reform during the Katrina 10 anniversary week.

Educate Now! has posted a list of national stories about New Orleans K-12 education from the week (or so) before the anniversary for those of you who might be interested.

National Stories of Interest

The Urban Institute says college is surprisingly affordable for the lowest income Americans and argues that families need to be made aware of financial aid options much earlier to give them time to prepare for college properly.

A recent study found kindergartners with good social skills are more likely to succeed as adults.

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Kudos to OPSB

Sunday, September 13, 2015, 5:47 pm

OPSB took a huge step forward last week by passing a strong charter school policy (Policy HA).

Policy HA was needed because OPSB did not have clear and consistent rules governing charter school operations. As a result, some OPSB charters participate in the city’s common enrollment system; others do not. Some provide transportation; others do not. And some have negotiated special neighborhood preferences that are different from the citywide zones that almost all other schools in the city use. These different rules fostered distrust between schools and confusion for parents trying to navigate the system of schools. (Note: The RSD requires all of its charter schools to participate in EnrollNOLA (OneApp) and to provide transportation.)

For OPSB to be a good authorizer and regulator of charter schools, it needed policy that created consistent rules for everyone and a framework for new charter schools. Policy HA lays an excellent foundation.

New Charter Schools: Going forward, all new charter schools authorized by OPSB:
  • Must provide transportation.
  • Must participate in the citywide enrollment system (OneApp/EnrollNOLA).
  • Cannot have a neighborhood attendance zone different than the zones in the citywide enrollment plan.
  • Cannot be academically selective.
  • Can, as part of its initial charter application, have non-academic admission criteria, tied into its mission and scope. For example, Cypress Academy has a mission-specific focus on early intervention in reading and reserves spaces for students with dyslexia.

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2015 EOC Results – New Orleans ties the state!

Sunday, September 13, 2015, 5:46 pm
New Orleans high school performance on End-of-Course tests (EOCs) continues to improve.
  • New Orleans citywide, including Type 2 charters, is now performing at the state average.
  • New Orleans is the 5th most improved district in the state.
  • OPSB and RSD-NO combined is in the top 50% statewide and is ranked of #31 out of 69 parishes. This is the first academic ranking where New Orleans is in the top half of the state!
Percent Proficient on EOCs
* Includes all New Orleans Schools – OPSB, RSD-NO, and two Type 2 charters.

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