In the News

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. 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.

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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

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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 NYMag.com called How New Orleans Proved Urban Education Reform Can Work.

And

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.

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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.

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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.

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ICYMI – New Orleans Schools Have Dramatically Improved

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

The academic performance of New Orleans public schools and students has improved dramatically in the decade since Hurricane Katrina, according to the Cowen Institute’s 2015 State of Public Education in New Orleans (SPENO).

These gains were also highlighted at a recent three-day conference sponsored by Tulane University’s Education Research Alliance for New Orleans. Alliance Director Doug Harris presented his team’s research, which showed test score gains of eight to 13 percentile points among elementary and middle school students through 2012. Harris said it is “very rare to see movement like that.” Tulane researchers controlled for various factors that might affect scores, including the trauma of loss and displacement, the change in the city’s population, and the schools children attended while they were gone. Editor’s note: Gains of 8-13 points are dramatic and exceed the effect of pre-Kindergarten or smaller class sizes. Congratulations and thank you to all of the educators who made these gains possible.

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ICYMI: Changes for New Orleans Charters

Sen. Claitor’s SB 267 is awaiting the governor’s signature.

The bill will result in a number of changes for charters across the state, but it will have a significant impact on how New Orleans charters are funded.

Changing How Charters Are Funded

The MFP uses a weighted student formula, recognizing some students are more expensive to educate than others. The formula provides extra money for poor students, VoTech education, and gifted and talented students. But, it provides the most money for special education students.

Currently, Type 1, 2, 3 and 4 charter schools are funded using the AVERAGE per pupil amount in the MFP. Hence, they get the same amount of money for a student whether that student is a regular education student or a special education student.

SB 267 changes charter funding in two ways:

1.  It requires Type 1, 2, 3 and 4 charters to be funded based on the money inside the formula for the individual students they educate – not the average. 

    Money will still follow the student, but the amount of money will better reflect the cost budgeted in the MFP for that student. For a charter school that has a lower percentage of special needs students than the district, this change will lower the amount of money the school receives. If a charter exceeds the average, it will get more money.

Educate Now! agrees with this funding change. If a school is not educating special needs students, then they should not get the extra money the state allocates for these students. In New Orleans, we have some charters that enroll less than 5% special education students and others that have more than 20%. The amount of money schools receive should reflect these differences.

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