In the News

ICYMI: Catching Up

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

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 »

ICYMI: In Other News

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. 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!


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

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

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 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

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!


ICYMI: Let’s Fact Check

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

Fact Checking the New Orleans Reforms

Last week, Tulane University’s Education Research Alliance (ERA) published its findings on New Orleans’ student and school academic performance since Katrina. Their research showed that a typical school student’s scores rose by 8 to 15 percentage points.

“Even the lower end of that range suggests large positive effects,” ERA Director Doug Harris wrote. “We are not aware of any other districts that have made such large improvements in such a short time.”

Their analysis ruled out other factors that might have led to the improved scores.

  • The gains were NOT due to changes in student population.
  • The gains were NOT due to schools focusing their efforts on the “bubble students,” those right at the cusp of passing.
  • The gains were NOT due to pushing students out of school. The number of expulsions, suspensions, and days suspended are either unchanged or lower than in the pre-storm period.

Read More »

ICYMI: 5 Things to Know About NCLB

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

National Stories

Here are 5 Things to Know about House-Senate efforts to replace No Child Left Behind.

Indianapolis is looking at increasing school autonomy as a way to improve its public schools.

Chris Barbic, who is stepping down as superintendent of Tennessee’s Achievement School District, shares some of the lessons he’s learned over the past four years. Barbic says increasing school autonomy works, but it requires committed and talented leaders and teachers.

Closer to Home

Don’t forget to weigh in on Louisiana’s Common Core standards. Share your opinion online using the Louisiana Standards Review website.

New Orleans high schoolers are connecting with emerging biotech and digital companies through the YOUTH FORCE Summer Workplace Institute.

Read More »

ICYMI: 10th Anniversary Coverage Begins

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

Seattle’s Center for Reinventing Public Education invited education leaders from New Orleans to share their ideas about what’s next for New Orleans public schools.

U.S. News & World Report says Louisiana’s Recovery School District is a strong model for turning around failing schools.

The Advocate looks at the impressive progress and the ongoing contentious debate over New Orleans public schools.

In this five-part series, the Times-Picayune tells the story of Sean Talley, an expelled student struggling to graduate from high school.

Read More »