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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

ICYMI: In Other News

Sunday, September 13, 2015, 5:45 pm

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

BESE President Chas Roemer, one of the state’s top backers of Common Core, said he will not seek a third term. All eight elected BESE seats will be on the ballot October 24. Each seat has drawn multiple candidates, and the candidates have sharply contrasting views on Common Core, state Superintendent of Education John White, and other topics.

Also on the October ballot is a special election to fill the unexpired term of Ira Thomas. The three candidates for OPSB’s First District seat are all current or former educators: Keith Barney is a teacher at Arthur Ashe Charter and chair of the board of Mary Coghill Charter; Shawon Bernard is a lawyer and mathematics teacher at Helen Cox High in Harvey; and John Brown Sr. led Phillips Junior High, Harriet Tubman Elementary and Alcee Fortier High and is now serving on OPSB as the interim board member for Thomas’ seat.

With the Katrina 10 anniversary behind us, discussions are moving to what’s next for NOLA public schools. One conversation that will be gaining traction: Diversity by Design. NOLA.com asks “Has gentrification begun in New Orleans public schools?” and Ben Kleban, founder/CEO of New Orleans College Prep Charter Schools says all schools should be diverse by design, so more middle class and white parents will chose to send their child to public school. Kleban points out that nine schools enroll 50% of the school system’s higher-income students and 74% of the white students, even though there are seventeen other A and B open-enrollment schools.

OPSB has approved Superintendent Lewis’ plan for restructuring OPSB’s central office, which creates a portfolio unit to monitor the performance of all OPSB schools, not just charters, and provides for operating the five OPSB direct-run schools in a semi-charter fashion, giving their principals significant autonomy.

Thank A Teacher!

Monday, August 31, 2015, 8:36 pm


It’s true! New Orleans has seen dramatic improvements in student performance over the last ten years. These gains wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and tireless dedication of our teachers.
Show your support for New Orleans teachers by sharing this email with your friends or uploading this Thank You message to Facebook or Twitter.
You can also order a free Thank A Teacher bumper sticker from Educate Now! Just reply to this email, and be sure to include your mailing address so we know where to send it.*
Public schools in New Orleans are #1 for academic improvement in the state. Thank a teacher today!

National Coverage of New Orleans K-12 Education Ten Years After Katrina

Sunday, August 30, 2015, 12:36 pm

The 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina generated extensive national coverage of New Orleans K-12 education reforms.

Excerpt from President Obama’s speech

“Working together, we’ve transformed education in this city. Before the storm, New Orleans public schools were largely broken, leaving generations of low-income kids without a decent education. Today, thanks to parents and educators, school leaders, nonprofits, we’re seeing real gains in achievement, with new schools, more resources to retain and develop and support great teachers and principals. We have data that shows before the storm, the high school graduation rate was 54 percent. Today, it’s up to 73 percent. Before the storm, college enrollment was 37 percent. Today, it’s almost 60 percent. We still have a long way to go, but that is real progress. New Orleans is coming back better and stronger.”

Broadcast Media

Superintendent John White on MSNBC

NBC on the state of schools post Katrina

Roland Martin on Troy Simon, who could not read until age 14 and is now at senior at Bard College

The 74: Videos of Past, Present and Future of New Orleans schools

NBC highlights New Orleans education and includes the YouthRise rally

Read More »

NY Magazine counters NY Times

Monday, August 24, 2015, 8:39 pm

Supt. John White is not the only one to take exception to the New York Times op-ed.

Jonathan Chait wrote a great piece for New York Magazine‘s NYMag.com called How New Orleans Proved Urban Education Reform Can Work.


Peter Cook provides a detailed fact check on the op-ed.

An open letter from State Supt. John White

Monday, August 24, 2015, 9:43 am

In response to a recent New York Times op-ed that was filled with inaccuracies, State Superintendent John White has written An Open Letter to Supporters of New Orleans Schools and Children.

It’s worth the read!


By the Numbers: Student and School Performance

Saturday, August 22, 2015, 9:18 pm

This fall, Louisiana’s Department of Education will release new baseline scores for schools and for student performance. As we move to the new academic standards, Educate Now! will no longer use 2005 as a comparison point. Instead, our new baseline will be the 2014-15 school year.

It’s time to focus on what’s next for New Orleans public schools, but before we move on, Educate Now! wants to thank the educators, administrators and volunteers who have worked tirelessly over the past decade to help our students succeed.

Ten years after Katrina, here’s how New Orleans public schools have changed.


The percentage of students enrolled in failing schools fell from 62% to 6%. The percentage enrolled in A or B schools increased from 13% to 37%.1
The percentage of students proficient on state tests increased from 25% to 62%.
aen-performance-all-students-072715 no header
The percentage of Black students proficient on state tests increased from 21% to 59%, and we now outperform the state by 5 percentage points.


Read More »