In the News

News Alert: OPSB seeking interim to fill Ira Thomas’ seat

The Orleans Parish School Board is seeking an interim replacement for board member Ira Thomas.
Thomas resigned Friday, March 6 upon being charged with taking a bribe.

The school board has 10 business days to find a replacement to fill Thomas’ seat until a Special Election is called. They are hoping to appoint a qualified person at their March 17 meeting, but if they can’t agree on a candidate, Governor Bobby Jindal must appoint someone.

OPSB has put out a call for candidates. Anyone interested must hand deliver a Letter of Interest to the OPSB office by noon on Thursday, March 12. Candidates must be at least 18 years old, a resident of Louisiana for the last two years and of District 1 for the last year.

OPSB is hoping to get someone well-versed on school matters who “can just jump on board.” This is important since the school board is in the middle of negotiating a contract with its new superintendent, Henderson Lewis Jr.

To apply:

Letters of Interest should be addressed to Board President Seth Bloom and hand delivered to the OPSB Board Office, 3520 General de Gaulle Drive, Suite 5055, New Orleans by noon on Thursday, March 12, 2015.

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ICYMI: Common Core Heating Up

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

Common Core Heats Up:

  • Students take the tests in March, and we will see how many parents opt out.
  • BESE meets tomorrow to discuss a common core compromise, including reviewing the standards, freezing school letter grades, and delaying use of test results in teacher value-added evaluations for another year.
  • Governor Jindal unveiled his budget, which would decimate funds for key tests. If Louisiana does not have English and math tests in grades 3-8, it risks losing more than $500 million in federal aid. And, the renewal of the federal NCLB legislation does not offer a way out. Every version so far keeps the testing requirement.
  • Scott Angel (R), David Vitter (R), and John Bel Edwards (D) have all come out against common core, calling for Louisiana standards and for Louisiana to not participate in the PARCC test. Jay Dardenne (R) supports the common core standards and comparing our students’ performance to those from across the country.

New Orleans in the News:

A delegation from Georgia, including Governor Nathan Deal, visited New Orleans last weekto hear about lessons learned as Georgia works on its Opportunity School District, modeled after the RSD.

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ICYMI: Expulsions drop 39% in RSD

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

Fewer students are being expelled from New Orleans public schools. RSD schools saw a 39% decrease in the first half of 2014-15 compared to the same time last year, and the citywide average is down 21%. Educate Now! agrees with the Times-Picayune that this news is encouraging. To download expulsion rates by school, click here.

Georgia’s governor, Nathan Deal, wants voters to create a state-run district to take over struggling schools. The idea is modeled after Louisiana’s RSD and is a drastic departure from Georgia’s current, more passive approach to failing schools.

An overhaul of No Child Left Behind cleared the U.S. House Education Committee along party lines. The committee approved major revisions, including how title funds would be allocated.

This is why Common Core matters. At all levels, including the top 10% of students, the United States trails other industrialized nations in the skills needed to compete in the global labor market.

Governor Jindal proposed a series of education reforms at a D.C. breakfast as part of his 2016 presidential preparations. Many were an extension of the New Orleans experience, including expanding charters, removing caps on the number of charter schools allowed, and giving principals a more active role in their schools’ direction.

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In case you missed it …

ICYMI … Your mini news clippings

Common Core update: Some parents in Lafayette are threatening to boycott the PARCC tests scheduled for March 16-20. Governor Jindal wants BESE to offer these parents an alternative, but that appears highly unlikely.

Henderson Lewis’ selection as superintendent marks a new chapter for the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB). Andre Perry solicits national and local opinions on what Mr. Lewis should do when he becomes OPSB’ s next superintendent. The Times-Picayune is hopeful his selection represents a fresh start. Most illuminating is Danielle Dreilinger’s profile of Mr. Lewis’ diverse background.

In this interview with the Reason Foundation, Superintendent Patrick Dobard discusses the history of the Recovery School District (RSD), how closing failing schools has been difficult but has helped students, and how the RSD, unlike traditional school districts, is able to innovate and respond quickly to changing needs.

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OPSB Selects Superintendent

ICYMI … Your mini news clippings

  • In this letter to the editor, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Juvenile Court Chief Judge Gray and others applaud the One-App’s centralized enrollment process and congratulate the RSD for its efforts to hold schools accountable for serving all students.

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In case you missed it …

ICYMI … Your mini news clippings

  • For an insightful view of the charter school debate, read this Forbes commentary. The author, an economist, cites strong evidence from numerous studies that charters are better at educating poor students and black students than regular public schools. They are not as good for non-urban schools and white students. His main point: if any other public policy showed these types of results, it would be embraced much more readily.

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In case you missed it …

ICYMI … Your mini news clippings

  • Thrillist website named metro New Orleans the #1 food city in America, and travel publication Rough Guides named New Orleans the #3 destination in the world, beginning with a Bob Dylan quote, “There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better.” Educate Now! agrees.
  • The state is recommending BESE not renew Wilson’s charter. Wilson’s board is fighting back, arguing they would have received a “D” if the state had not changed the way it calculates School Performance Scores midway through the year.

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In case you missed it …

ICYMI … Your mini news clippings

In case you missed it …

In the news (or mini news clippings..ICYMI)

And … 

Don’t forget to vote YES this Saturday, December 6! 

Help pass the school facility millage to keep New Orleans public school buildings from falling into disrepair. 
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Schools Need Your Help

Times-Picayune and Gambit have both come out in support of the school facility millage on December 6th.

  • Before the flood, many schools in New Orleans were old and in deplorable shape because of years of deferred maintenance. There was no dedicated stream of revenue for repairs. It would be a terrible waste to allow that to happen again with the schools being built or refurbished post-Katrina.
  • This proposition will NOT increase your taxes: The 4.97 mill tax currently received by schools to pay construction bond debt would be redirected gradually (when not needed to pay the bonds) and dedicated to facility preservation. Your taxes will not increase.

Help pass the millage – What YOU can do:

  • VOTE on December 6th! Turnout looks to be low, so every vote is important.
  • Share this information with your friends.
  • Put up a yard sign. Email me at ljacobs@educatenow.net, and I will get you one.

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