In the News

In the News: December 29, 2013

What’s Next for New Orleans?

New Orleans will have an all-charter school district next year
The Advocate – December 24, 2013
When the Recovery School District closes its last four direct-run schools at the end of this school year, it will become the nation’s first all-charter district. A.P. Tureaud and Benjamin Banneker are scheduled to be closed in June, and RSD’s last two direct-run high schools, Sarah T. Reed and George Washington Carver, will be phased out one year earlier than planed. The remaining schools – close to 60 – will all be run by independent nonprofits with their own boards.

New Orleans and the Road to Educational Equity
New Schools for New Orleans – December 20, 2013
Neerav Kingsland of NSNO says the charter school system in New Orleans has made real strides toward achieving educational equity. OneApp gives families fair and transparent access to nearly all public schools, and the centralized expulsion system ensures that access cannot be arbitrarily reversed once a student enrolls. In 2014-15, new weighted funding formulas in the RSD will help to cover additional costs related to serving special needs students, and NSNO is working with charters to develop high-quality settings that can meet the needs of our most at-risk students.

The permanent, dwindling Recovery School District
Times-Picayune – December 16, 2013
It’s been eight years since the state took over all but 17 of New Orleans’ public schools, raising the question of whether the Recovery School District has become a permanent part of the city’s educational landscape. The 17 charter schools eligible to switch to OPSB control this year all voted not to return. Their reasons included the lack of a permanent OPSB superintendent, recent board behavior at public meetings, questions about special education funding, and the uncertainty that comes with a locally elected board.

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In the News: December 8, 2013

Transitioning to Common Core

BESE backs changes to ease Common Core transition
The Advocate – December 5, 2013
BESE approved the changes to accountability recommended by Superintendent White to soften the impact of moving to the Common Core and PARCC testing. For 2014 and 2015, schools will be graded on a curve, with the same percentage of schools receiving an A, B, C, D, and F as did in 2013; fourth and eighth graders will be given more leeway to advance to the next grade if they do not pass the tests; and there will be a two-year moratorium on using value-added data in teacher evaluations.

BESE tweaks school grading policy
The Advocate – December 5, 2013
BESE made one adjustment to its plan to grade schools on a curve in 2014 and 2015. They added a safeguard to protect any school that has the same or better School Performance Score as 2013 from the unlikely event they would be dropped a grade due to the curve.

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In the News: November 25, 2013

Best in the World

National Geographic names New Orleans one of 20 top travel destinations in the world
Times-Picayune – November 22, 2013
National Geographic Traveler magazine named New Orleans one of its 20 most recommended places to visit in the world for 2014. Only one other location in the United States, Rocky Mountain National Park, made the list. The magazine said the list reflects “what’s authentic, culturally rich, sustainable and superlative in the world of travel today.” New Orleans was praised not just for its history but also for the revitalization of its local neighborhoods.

Consultant to OPSB: Clean Up Your Act

Orleans Parish School Board must clean up its act to find a good leader, consultant says
Times-Picayune – November 19, 2013
The firm hired by OPSB to find the next School Superintendent said OPSB needs to address some serious issues – micromanagement, bickering, focus on non-classroom matters, and the lack of a cohesive strategic plan – before it interviews a single candidate. Lead consultant Bill Attea told OPSB otherwise, “you’re not going to hire the type of candidate you need.” Attea also said there was general agreement in the community that the school board’s dysfunction is keeping RSD schools from choosing to return to local control. Read the full report.

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In the News: November 17, 2013

Educating City Hall

At a recent City Council budget hearing, Mayor Landrieu’s budget director, Cary Grant, suggested that the council consider repurposing school board millages (property taxes) to pay for other city services. He said that the school board has “a huge fund balance” because their 44 mills pay for only 33 schools now, down from 120 schools before Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Grant is wrong.

  • These taxes fund students at all New Orleans public schools, not just OPSB schools. That’s 87 public schools educating 45,000 students.
  • These funds (98%) go directly to the public schools for their operations. They do not go to increase OPSB’s fund balance.
  • Public schools in New Orleans are funded below the state average. They receive an average of $9,200 per student in state and local money; the state average is $9,500.
  • Repurposing the millage would take money away from schools, and our schools do NOT need a cut in funding. Investing in our children and providing them opportunity is the best long-term strategy to lower the city’s criminal justice costs!

If you know Cary Grant, or if you know a City Council member, Educate Now! suggests you drop them a note and let them know these funds are very much needed.

NAEP Results Are In

Louisiana students score near bottom on national test
Times-Picayune – November 7, 2013
Students in Louisiana showed slight improvement in reading on the latest NAEP test (National Assessment of Educational Progress) but still rank near the bottom in reading and math when compared to the rest of the United States. Superintendent John White said the results show why Louisiana needs to implement Common Core. “Our own growth, our own progress within Louisiana doesn’t mean as much if we’re not really competitive with our peer states.”

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In the News – November 3, 2013

OneApp Begins

OneApp 2014-15 opens Monday to accommodate selective New Orleans schools
Times-Picayune – November 1, 2013
OneApp, the centralized enrollment program for New Orleans, begins Monday for the next school year.

  • Almost all schools in the city (RSD direct- run and charter, Type 2 charters, OPSB direct-run, and some OPSB charters) are participating. Eleven OPSB charter schools are not.
  • OneApp will be accommodating some schools and/or programs with admission standards. These schools have a December 20 deadline.
  • Applications for other schools will not be due until February.
  • This year, families do not need to complete an Intent to Return form. Families only participate in OneApp if their child wants or needs a new school for 2014-15.

Read More »

In the News – September 18, 2013

In this edition of In the News:

  • TFA Boosts Learning
  • OPSB Updates
  • Teacher Evaluation – Compass Results
  • Other Louisiana Headlines
  • National Stories
  • Local News

TFA Boosts Learning

TFA Teachers Shown to Boost Secondary Math Learning
Education Week - September 11, 2013
A rigorous, federally funded study examined the impact of Teach For America on student learning in math and found that:

  • Students of TFA teachers outperformed university trained teachers and teachers from other alternative programs.
  • Students of inexperienced TFA teachers (teaching for 3 years or less) outperformed students of more experienced teachers.
  • The difference in performance was equivalent to about 2½ months of additional learning.

The authors concluded that filling positions with TFA teachers, even if they leave after a few years, would still lead to higher math achievement than filling the same positions with non-TFA teachers who remain in their positions for longer.

The study looked at both the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years and looked at thousands of students and hundreds of teachers in eight different states. As the headline from this Washington Post article states, “TFA is a deeply divisive program. It also works.”

Read More »

In the News – September 30, 2013

In this edition of In the News:

  • The Biggest Experiment
  • The Price of Inaction
  • Common Core Updates
  • National Stories
  • Louisiana Headlines
  • Local News

The Biggest Experiment

Inside the Nation’s Biggest Experiment in School Choice
Wall Street Journal - September 29, 2013
The Wall Street Journal explores school choice in New Orleans, where parents are empowered but must work to be informed and to find the right fit for their children. A lot has been done to help families and to simplify the process, but it’s still laborious for some parents to navigate the new system of schools.

Read More »

In the News: September 2, 2013

In this edition of In the News:

  • Impact of Change
  • Louisiana Headlines
  • National Stories
  • What Do Parents Want?

Impact of Change

New Orleans’ summer of school change: Where did the students go?
Times-Picayune – August 30, 2013
This summer saw more changes in New Orleans public schools than in prior years – 4 closed, 3 converted to charters, 3 transferred to new charter operators, and 2 merged. The centralized OneApp system has made it easier to track where the impacted students enrolled this year. The new charter operators worked hard to retain existing enrollment, and most schools saw high rates of returning students.

For some New Orleans students, school choice means pre-dawn bus pickups
The Lens – August 26, 2013
Before Katrina, most students were assigned to their neighborhood public schools. Now that parents can choose a school, many are choosing schools in other parts of the city from where they live. Parents say long commutes are worth it when they find the right school for their child, but the early mornings and long days can be hard, especially for young students. Read More »

In the News: August 19, 2013

In this edition of In the News:

  • Good News for New Orleans
  • Common Core Updates
  • National Headlines
  • News from BESE
  • Local Stories

Good News for New Orleans

New Orleans charter schools show progress with students, study finds
Times-Picayune – August 8, 2013
The latest CREDO study focused on Louisiana and found that New Orleans charter school students are learning faster than their peers at conventional schools and faster than their peers at charters elsewhere in Louisiana. Half of the city’s charter schools are performing significantly better than conventional public schools in reading, and 56% are performing higher in math. These gains equate to an extra 120 days of learning in reading and 150 days in math. Read More »

In the News – August 7, 2013

In this edition of In the News:

  • New Orleans is Hot!
  • Special Education Challenges
  • Good News
  • National Education Stories
  • OPSB Updates
  • Louisiana Headlines
  • Other Local News
  • In Memoriam – Everett Williams

New Orleans is Hot!

Hot U.S. Cities That Offer Both Jobs and Culture Are Mostly Southern and Modest Sized
Daily Beast – July 30, 2013
New Orleans is a “hotspot” and a magnet for opportunity according to the Daily Beast. Looking at employment, per capita income, population growth, the migration of college-educated people, and the quality of life, the Daily Beast found that New Orleans is not only culturally rich but also a good place to build a career, buy a home, and ultimately raise a family in relative comfort. Read More »