In the News – January 12, 2013

Sunday, January 12, 2014, 11:16 pm

A City of Possibility

GOOD Magazine names New Orleans one of its Top 20 Cities of Possibility
Times-Picayune – January 7, 2014
GOOD Magazine named New Orleans one of its Top 20 “Cities of Possibility.” GOOD measured “possibility” using criteria such as transportation, diversity, work/life balance, green space, and civic engagement. Atlanta was the only other American city chosen.

Top Education Stories from 2013

The Times-Picayune reviewed the top education stories of 2013. Here are the highlights.

Top 5 New Orleans Stories

  • Percent of students in failing schools drops below 6%.
  • Charter enrollment now tops 90%.
  • OPSB’s behavior undermines its credibility, and no charters vote to return to local control.
  • Serving special needs students is still a challenge, but centralized expulsion system improves transparency and fairness.
  • Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux gets involved.

Read More »

New Orleans is Over 90% Charter

Sunday, December 29, 2013, 1:48 pm

Educate Now! has reviewed the most recent enrollment data from the state. As of October 1:

  • 91% of New Orleans students are in charter schools.
  • Enrollment keeps increasing by around 1,500 students per year.
  • New Orleans schools have grown more diverse since Katrina.

New Orleans Enrollment Over Time

October 1

(all students)*
2004-05 2009-10 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
TOTAL 66372 38051 42030 43540 44950
Charter 1.5% 61.4% 77.5% 83.9% 91.0%
Direct-Run 98.5% 38.6% 22.5% 16.1% 9.0%
White 3.6% 5.4% 7.9% 6.7% 6.9%
Black 93.2% 90.0% 86.3% 87.3% 86.1%
Other 3.2% 4.6% 5.8% 5.9% 7.0%

*2013-14 does not include 0-3 enrollment or NOCCA (which dropped below 50% N.O. enrollment) but does include Milestone SABIS (with over 50% N.O. enrollment).

According to a recent market share report, New Orleans has the nation’s highest percentage of public school students in charters. In 2012-13, Detroit was second with 51% percent in charters, and Washington, D.C. was third with 43%.

Also, 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.

UPDATE: This post has been updated to reflect corrected state data that increased charter enrollment from 90.2% to to 91%.

In the News: December 29, 2013

Sunday, December 29, 2013, 1:36 pm

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.

Read More »

Voucher Performance Lacking

Monday, December 9, 2013, 2:41 pm

At least 45% of students in Louisiana’s voucher program last year attended D or F schools, according to the state.

The state released scores for 22 of the 118 schools participating, and last year these schools enrolled 2,888 of the nearly 5,000 voucher students. The other schools had too few students at testing grades for scores to be released.

Of the 22 voucher schools receiving a score, more than half (13) were in the F range.

  • Seven of the F rated voucher schools are in New Orleans, and together these seven schools enrolled more than 1,000 students in 2012-13.
  • Of the more than 50 K-8 public schools in Orleans Parish, only 3 received an F.

Educate Now! urges parents to really explore all of their choices. The public schools in New Orleans offer some excellent (and better performing) options.

For more on voucher performance, download the state’s annual voucher report and read this article in the Times-Picayune.

In the News: December 8, 2013

Monday, December 9, 2013, 2:38 pm

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.

Read More »

In the News: November 25, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013, 1:01 pm

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.

Read More »

In the News: November 17, 2013

Sunday, November 17, 2013, 7:03 pm

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.”

Read More »

In the News – November 3, 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 10:35 pm

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 »

2013 School Performance Scores Released

Thursday, October 24, 2013, 1:11 pm

New Orleans Gains Continue!

I am amazed and awed by the continued academic improvement of our schools and students. In 8 years:

  • New Orleans has gone from 62% of students attending failing schools to 5%.
  • We have moved up in the state rankings from 67th to 38th.
  • We have shown robust improvement on the ACT.
  • We have more high performing, high poverty schools than anywhere else in Louisiana.

Congratulations to the remarkable educators across the city. Incredibly well done!

Only 5% of students now attend a failing school –
down from 62% in 2005. 

In 2004-05, 78 public schools in New Orleans, enrolling over 38,000 students, were failing. Today, only 9 schools in the city, enrolling 2,481 students, are failing.*

The End of Failing Schools in New Orleans Is In Sight
Percent of students in failing schools 2005 vs. 2013

Read More »

The Promise of Career Prep

Monday, October 21, 2013, 12:26 pm

This guest editorial appeared in the Times-Picayune, and I wanted to share it with you.

Career prep can improve lives, aid local economy: Leslie Jacobs

Delgado Image

In New Orleans, less than half (48 percent) of African-American men of working age are employed – the rest are either out of work or out of the workforce. This employment crisis threatens the livelihoods of individuals and families, as well as the fabric of our city. Our new system of schools must evolve to prepare all of our students for meaningful careers.

Let’s be clear: Our schools have made tremendous gains.

Our K-8 schools have increased the percentage of eighth-graders performing on grade level in math and English from 28 percent pre-storm to 67 percent last spring, just one point shy of the state average.

The graduating class of 2013 is in much better shape than the class of 2005. In 2005, only about 50 percent of our high school students graduated. Today, close to 80 percent of our high school students will graduate. And we have increased the percentage of graduates qualifying for a four-year TOPS college scholarship from 16 percent to 26 percent.

These gains are truly impressive.

But what about the large percentage of our high school graduates who are not yet ready to succeed at a four-year college? How are we preparing them for jobs that provide livable wages and career opportunities? Read More »