In the News

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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Great Story: New Normal in New Orleans Public Schools

This article captures the spirit of the unique way New Orleans’ system of schools is working. Enjoy.

New Orleans Has Developed a New Normal in Education


ICYMI: 10th Anniversary Data Available on DOE Website

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

The Louisiana Department of Education has created a special webpage with information on RSD and OPSB schools from 2004 to the present. 10 Years After Hurricane Katrina: The New Orleans Education Landscape Today includes analyses and data on enrollment and demographics, academic outcomes, high school performance, African-American student performance, students with disabilities, school facilities and ensuring equitable access for all students.

Congratulations to the class of 2015! Watch highlights from the second annual Senior Shout Out, a celebration of the 2,500 New Orleans seniors who received $75 million in scholarships and are going to over 300 colleges and universities.

The Times-Picayune takes a comprehensive look at changes in special education since Katrina, beginning with An introduction, and continuing with What happened after the storm?, One child learns to love school, Graduation rates rise and other successes, Problems that remain, and Is there life after high school?

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ICYMI: HB 166 (Bouie) Defeated

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

HB 166 (Bouie) Defeated

The Louisiana House of Representatives defeated HB 166 (Bouie) return of schools 33-61. The Times-Picayune would agree with this decision.

State Headlines

A District Court ruled BESE’s funding of type 2 charters in the MFP is constitutional. The judge said Type 2 charter schools are clearly public schools, and it was proper to support them with the use of public funds. The plaintiffs will appeal.
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Common Core Compromise Reached

Legislators and Superintendent John White have reached a compromise on a plan to move forward with Louisiana student standards and tests.

Both sides of the Common Core debate will declare a victory with this compromise.

For Common Core opponents:
  • BESE will begin a review process of the standards and come up with proposed new/revised standards by February 21, 2016.
  • The public, the Legislature, and Louisiana’s next governor will be able to weigh in on any new proposed standards.
  • Louisiana will no longer be part of the PARCC consortium for its tests. Next year’s tests will have no more than 49% of questions from PARCC.
For Common Core supporters:
  • Louisiana will keep its commitment to more rigorous standards and will have tests that allow Louisiana to compare its performance to other states.
  • The existing Common Core standards will remain in place until new standards are developed and approved.
  • Although new standards must be approved by the Legislature and the governor, any decision must be on the standards as a whole; they can’t edit specific parts. A No vote means BESE goes back to the drawing board, and the existing standards remain in place.

For more on the compromise and the proposed legislation that will make it possible, click on the links below.

View the proposed plan: Terms of an Agreement to Implement Challenging Louisiana Student Standards and Tests.

Read a Statement from the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) on the proposed compromise.

Read more about the proposed compromise on