ICYMI: Let’s Fact Check

Monday, August 10, 2015, 6:25 pm

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.

Read More »

By the Numbers: Who Is Leading Our Schools?

Sunday, August 9, 2015, 1:54 pm

By the Numbers: Who is Leading Our Schools?

There has been a lot of talk – from both friends and foes of New Orleans K-12 Ed Reform – about outsiders coming in to run the schools. So, Educate Now! surveyed every OPSB and RSD school, direct run and charter, to get a profile of who is leading our schools and whether they were here before the levees broke.

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

There are 77 schools for the 2015-16 school year and 85 school leaders, as some schools have more than one leader.

2015 School Leaders
District African-
White Other Lived in N.O.
30 24 4 26
13 13 1 21
New Orleans
43 37 5 47
51% 43% 6% 55%

The education reforms post-Katrina have been the work of veteran and new educators, and the work of New Orleanians who were here before the storm as well as others who moved here to be part of rebuilding a great city.

Our educators are more ethnically diverse, but a majority of our school leaders and a majority of our teachers are still African-American.

As we commemorate the 10-year anniversary of Katrina and the beginning of another school year, I hope we can join together to celebrate the remarkable progress that has been made in our schools and thank all of our teachers and administrators, both those from New Orleans and those who moved here more recently, as they work tirelessly to provide educational opportunities for our students.

N.O.’s Expulsion Rate Below State Average

Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 9:20 pm

New Orleans’ Expulsion Rate is Below the State Average

In 2014-15, the Student Hearing Office worked with schools, students, and advocates to refine expulsion policies for New Orleans. Discipline conferences are now used as an intervention prior to expulsion and are keeping more students in school. Additionally, student offenses are tiered based on severity of behavior to better differentiate consequences.

The Results:

  • The number of expulsions fell from 231 to 199, even as student enrollment across the city increased.
  • The expulsion rate dropped from 0.52% to 0.43%.
  • New Orleans’ expulsion rate is now below the 2014 state average.
Expulsion Rate*
New Orleans

*State data is from 2013-14 year. The state has not completed its full 2014-15 data entry and verification.

Expulsion Rates by District

District 2014-2015 2013-2014 Change
Rate #
Rate Change
in #
in Rate
30,487 145 0.48% 30,220 198 0.66% – 53 – 27%
13,335 47 0.35% 12,514 29 0.23% + 18 + 52%
OPSB Charter
10,008 17 0.17% 9,466 4 0.04% + 13 + 302%
OPSB Direct Run
3,327 30 0.90% 3,048 25 0.82% + 5 + 10%
BESE 1,981 7 0.35% 1,572 4
45,803 199 0.43% 44,306 231 0.52% – 32
– 17%

Read More »

ICYMI: 5 Things to Know About NCLB

Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 8:57 pm

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.

Read More »

TEDxNew Orleans Conference: Watch It!

Monday, July 27, 2015, 1:02 pm

Videos from the recent TEDxNewOrleans Conference are now available online.

This TEDx conference showcased a wide range of perspectives on Katrina and the changes we’ve seen in the New Orleans region since the storm. It was a powerful day, and Educate Now! encourages you check out the videos below.

Speakers Mentioning Education

Jay Altman – The Charter School Movement in New Orleans
Andy Kopplin – Government Post-Katrina: A Disruptive Force for Good
Troy Simon – Education as a Vehicle for Liberation

Other Speakers

Aron Chang – Make Your Mark
Michael Hecht – Radical Resilience
Lavonzell Nicholson – Green Space Completes a Canvas
Brandan Odums – Art to Inspire
Peter Ricchiuti – The New Orleans Economy; What’s Up Down Here
Kimberly Rivers-Roberts – Triumph Over Tragedy – What Do You Win?
Virginia Saussy – If We Don’t Laugh, We Cry
Jessica Shahien – The Talent Phenomenon
John Spain – New Orleans and Baton Rouge – a Super Region
Doug Thornton – How Unity of Purpose Brought the Superdome Back to Life
Rod West – Powering Life – Literally!


2015 ACT Scores: New Orleans Improves More than State

Thursday, July 16, 2015, 4:27 pm

ACT Scores Continue to Rise


New Orleans improved more than the state.

  • New Orleans’ composite ACT score improved from 18.4 to 18.8, a gain of 0.4 points, while the state improved from 19.2 to 19.4, a gain of 0.2 points.

More New Orleans students have TOPS-qualifying ACT scores.

  • 63% of the senior class scored a 17 or higher on the ACT (the qualifying score for 2-year TOPS Tech).
  • 38% of seniors scored a 20 or higher (the qualifying score for 4-year TOPS Opportunity).
New Orleans continues to move up in the state rankings.
Year ACT
2004-05 17 61 out of 68 parishes
2013-14 18.4 40 out of 69 parishes
2014-15 18.8 35 out of 69 parishes

New Orleans is closing the gap with the state’s ACT average.

ACT - Closing the Gap

Both OPSB and RSD improved.

  • OPSB gained 0.4 points, moving from 20.5 to 20.9.
  • RSD gained 0.2 points, moving from 16.4 to 16.6.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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