ICYMI: In Other News

Sunday, September 13, 2015, 5:45 pm

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

BESE President Chas Roemer, one of the state’s top backers of Common Core, said he will not seek a third term. All eight elected BESE seats will be on the ballot October 24. Each seat has drawn multiple candidates, and the candidates have sharply contrasting views on Common Core, state Superintendent of Education John White, and other topics.

Also on the October ballot is a special election to fill the unexpired term of Ira Thomas. The three candidates for OPSB’s First District seat are all current or former educators: Keith Barney is a teacher at Arthur Ashe Charter and chair of the board of Mary Coghill Charter; Shawon Bernard is a lawyer and mathematics teacher at Helen Cox High in Harvey; and John Brown Sr. led Phillips Junior High, Harriet Tubman Elementary and Alcee Fortier High and is now serving on OPSB as the interim board member for Thomas’ seat.

With the Katrina 10 anniversary behind us, discussions are moving to what’s next for NOLA public schools. One conversation that will be gaining traction: Diversity by Design. NOLA.com asks “Has gentrification begun in New Orleans public schools?” and Ben Kleban, founder/CEO of New Orleans College Prep Charter Schools says all schools should be diverse by design, so more middle class and white parents will chose to send their child to public school. Kleban points out that nine schools enroll 50% of the school system’s higher-income students and 74% of the white students, even though there are seventeen other A and B open-enrollment schools.

OPSB has approved Superintendent Lewis’ plan for restructuring OPSB’s central office, which creates a portfolio unit to monitor the performance of all OPSB schools, not just charters, and provides for operating the five OPSB direct-run schools in a semi-charter fashion, giving their principals significant autonomy.

Thank A Teacher!

Monday, August 31, 2015, 8:36 pm


It’s true! New Orleans has seen dramatic improvements in student performance over the last ten years. These gains wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and tireless dedication of our teachers.
Show your support for New Orleans teachers by sharing this email with your friends or uploading this Thank You message to Facebook or Twitter.
You can also order a free Thank A Teacher bumper sticker from Educate Now! Just reply to this email, and be sure to include your mailing address so we know where to send it.*
Public schools in New Orleans are #1 for academic improvement in the state. Thank a teacher today!

National Coverage of New Orleans K-12 Education Ten Years After Katrina

Sunday, August 30, 2015, 12:36 pm

The 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina generated extensive national coverage of New Orleans K-12 education reforms.

Excerpt from President Obama’s speech

“Working together, we’ve transformed education in this city. Before the storm, New Orleans public schools were largely broken, leaving generations of low-income kids without a decent education. Today, thanks to parents and educators, school leaders, nonprofits, we’re seeing real gains in achievement, with new schools, more resources to retain and develop and support great teachers and principals. We have data that shows before the storm, the high school graduation rate was 54 percent. Today, it’s up to 73 percent. Before the storm, college enrollment was 37 percent. Today, it’s almost 60 percent. We still have a long way to go, but that is real progress. New Orleans is coming back better and stronger.”

Broadcast Media

Superintendent John White on MSNBC

NBC on the state of schools post Katrina

Roland Martin on Troy Simon, who could not read until age 14 and is now at senior at Bard College

The 74: Videos of Past, Present and Future of New Orleans schools

NBC highlights New Orleans education and includes the YouthRise rally

Read More »

NY Magazine counters NY Times

Monday, August 24, 2015, 8:39 pm

Supt. John White is not the only one to take exception to the New York Times op-ed.

Jonathan Chait wrote a great piece for New York Magazine‘s NYMag.com called How New Orleans Proved Urban Education Reform Can Work.


Peter Cook provides a detailed fact check on the op-ed.

An open letter from State Supt. John White

Monday, August 24, 2015, 9:43 am

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!


By the Numbers: Student and School Performance

Saturday, August 22, 2015, 9:18 pm

This fall, Louisiana’s Department of Education will release new baseline scores for schools and for student performance. As we move to the new academic standards, Educate Now! will no longer use 2005 as a comparison point. Instead, our new baseline will be the 2014-15 school year.

It’s time to focus on what’s next for New Orleans public schools, but before we move on, Educate Now! wants to thank the educators, administrators and volunteers who have worked tirelessly over the past decade to help our students succeed.

Ten years after Katrina, here’s how New Orleans public schools have changed.


The percentage of students enrolled in failing schools fell from 62% to 6%. The percentage enrolled in A or B schools increased from 13% to 37%.1
The percentage of students proficient on state tests increased from 25% to 62%.
aen-performance-all-students-072715 no header
The percentage of Black students proficient on state tests increased from 21% to 59%, and we now outperform the state by 5 percentage points.


Read More »

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 »