ICYMI: 10th Anniversary Coverage Begins

Sunday, July 12, 2015, 11:01 pm

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

Friday, June 26, 2015, 9:25 am

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

Monday, June 15, 2015, 9:04 am

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

Monday, June 1, 2015, 1:01 am

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

Friday, May 29, 2015, 10:34 am

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

Monday, May 18, 2015, 7:51 pm

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

Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 3:42 pm

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 Nola.com.

NOT NOW – Say NO to HB 166

Tuesday, May 12, 2015, 3:57 pm

House Bill 166 (Rep. Bouie, D-New Orleans) passed the Education Committee by the slimmest of margins and will now go to the House for a vote.

If enacted, HB 166 would require RSD New Orleans schools that are no longer failing to return to the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) as early as this fall.

OPSB is not ready for the return of these schools.

OPSB’s new superintendent, Henderson Lewis, Jr., has said he isn’t sure yet whether the district would be ready for the transfer of schools.

In an interview with The Advocate, Lewis pointed out that some of the most important functions of any central office in a charter-dominated school system are still carried out by RSD officials, including the central enrollment system and the hearing office for students facing expulsion. OPSB doesn’t have the policies or systems in place it will need to manage all the schools.

OPSB remains dysfunctional on many levels. It took the board 2½ years to hire a new superintendent. They have not been able to build consensus and pass new policies, even on easy issues that would bring OPSB into compliance with state law. And the recent indictment of former OPSB president Ira Thomas is an unfortunate reminder of the corruption that has plagued the OPSB.

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New Orleans Celebrates Our Graduates

Sunday, May 10, 2015, 4:04 pm

Friday was Senior Shout Out Day for all New Orleans public high schools to celebrate our 2,500 Seniors, 300 Colleges and $75 million in scholarships.

senior shout out 2015It was a truly inspiring day with graduates from every public high school in attendance.

Educate Now! congratulates and thanks the educators who impacted and helped shape these young people. Thank you for what you do every day.

I urge you to read Danielle Dreilinger’s story on the event: They’re off to College, and New Orleans Celebrates as well as this story from NBC News.

Educate Now! also thanks the City Council for recognizing our graduates.

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By the Numbers: Teacher Diversity

Monday, May 4, 2015, 5:09 pm

There has been a lot of talk about changes in teacher ethnicity since Katrina. Let’s take a look at the numbers.

In 2012-13, the most recent year for which we have district data, the makeup of New Orleans teachers (OPSB + RSD) was 51% African-American, 45% white and 4% other.

District
African-American
White
Other
RSD-NO 53% 43% 4%
OPSB 44% 51% 5%
New Orleans 51% 45% 4%

How does New Orleans compare to other cities?
Note: Educate Now! used data it could find online. Not all years compared are the same.1

  • In Louisiana in 20% of teachers were African-American. Nationally, 7% were African-American.
  • In Atlanta, 74% of teachers were African-American. Washington, DC was similar to New Orleans, while Chicago and New York City had a smaller percentage of African-American teachers.
City/District
African-American
White
Atlanta
74%
22%
Washington, D.C.
52%
36%
New Orleans
51%
45%
Chicago
24%
50%
New York City
20%
49%
Louisiana
20%
74%
National
7%
82%

How do we compare to pre-Katrina?

In 2003-04 (the state did not publish data for 2004-05 school year), 74% of New Orleans teachers were African-American, 24% white and 2% other.
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1 Teacher data for Chicago are from 2013-14. Data for the national average and for other cities used for comparison are from 2011-12.