Who’s Going to College

Monday, May 19, 2014, 9:20 am

Who’s Going to College?

A new report from the Louisiana Department of Education shows how many students from the class of 2012 enrolled in college after high school.

For the Class of 2012 (OPSB & RSD combined):

  • 58% of graduates enrolled in college right after high school.
  • By the fall of 2013, college enrollment went up 10 points to 68% of graduates.
  • This is 2 points higher than the state average of 66%.

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In the News – May 13th

Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 9:09 am

Superintendent Search Struggles

Orleans School Board to continue superintendent search this month
OPSB is planning another round of interviews with new applicants for the school superintendent position. The board interviewed an initial group of four finalists in March but never voted to bring any of them back for a follow up. Stan Smith has served as Interim Superintendent for close to two years.

St. Louis superintendent: New Orleans schools job is not appealing
Kevin Adams, the Superintendent of Schools for St. Louis, says he is not interested in becoming the Superintendent for New Orleans Public Schools. Adams was a chief of staff for the RSD and was one of the most talked-about possibilities for the superintendent’s job, but he says he didn’t apply because the future of OPSB is still unclear. OPSB’s district is small, with only 11,000 students, and it’s uncertain when or if schools in the RSD will return to local control.

Latest on Common Core

Students give Common Core tests high marks
The first phase of Common Core field testing in Louisiana is complete, and according to the Department of Education, nearly 70% of the 25,000 students who took the tests said PARCC was easier or about the same as their current schoolwork. Nearly 85% said none or few questions dealt with materials they hadn’t discussed in class. The second phase of field testing (with another 25,000 students) has already begun.

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In the News – Cause for Celebration

Monday, May 5, 2014, 9:30 am

New Orleans Students Are College Bound

New Orleans public school seniors celebrate acceptances to college
Great news from New Orleans high schools! Ninety-five percent of seniors will graduate this spring (compared to only 79% in 2005), and so far 2,500 seniors have received college acceptances from more than 345 colleges and earned $53 million in merit scholarships. There is no doubt that lives are being changed thanks to the hard work of teachers, administrators, community members and the students themselves.

Congratulations to the class of 2014!

Academic Growth Defies Poverty

Cowen report: Sharp academic growth defies New Orleans’ widespread poverty
The percentage of students eligible for free or reduced lunch has gone up 9% since 2004, and yet the average school performance score in New Orleans has risen by 41%, according to a report from Tulane’s Cowen Institute. The report highlights the success of efforts to improve schools since Katrina.

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In the News – Let Charters Succeed

Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 10:09 pm

Let Public Charters Succeed

Let public charter schools succeed: Column
In this USA Today column, Neerav Kingsland of New Schools for New Orleans argues that attacks against successful charter schools, like those in Illinois, are really an attack on parents who want a different option because their neighborhood school has failed them. Kingsland says that only by handing power back to educators and families will our nation ever achieve academic greatness. “It seems clear that we must reject the ‘our schools should be the only schools’ way of thinking. Let educators create great public charter schools. Give families the power to choose these schools.”

Hope Renewed for Special Needs Students

Hope Renewed
Teach For America’s national publication, One Day, profiled ReNEW schools’ special education programs to demonstrate the innovation and flexibility available to charters to better serve children with special needs. The five-school network has two classrooms for students with severe autism spectrum disorders, one “community skills” classroom for middle school students with moderate cognitive impairments, a high school for students up to 22 years old who are missing credits, and two “therapeutic classrooms” for students with serious psychiatric disabilities. About 14% of the network’s students have IEPs, compared to a citywide average of 10%.

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In the News – New Orleans Named a “Smart City”

Sunday, April 13, 2014, 9:25 pm

Smart New Orleans

Smart Cities: New Orleans
Tom Vander Ark of Getting Smart has named New Orleans one of its “Smart Cities.” Vander Ark says the combination of innovative schools, a focus on talent development and recruitment, investments in individualized learning, EdTech startups, and the entrepreneurial environment is improving student performance and empowering parents. The innovation and success in New Orleans is “one of the best examples of what’s possible in urban education.”

Success in the New Economy

How Prospective College Students Can Gain a Competitive Advantage
If you have 10 minutes, watch this video – It is excellent! It makes a compelling case for students to explore career choices early, make informed decisions when declaring their college goals, and consider acquiring technical skills with real-world applications in tandem with a classic education.

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Court Rules Schools Don’t Have to Return

Thursday, April 3, 2014, 10:48 pm

By refusing to hear further appeal, the Louisiana Supreme Court has put an end to OPSB’s lawsuit against the state, which argued schools should be returned automatically to local control after five years if they are no longer failing.

In 2010, BESE decided each charter board had the right to decide whether it wanted to leave the RSD and return to local control. (So far, none has done so.) OPSB argued that keeping schools indefinitely exceeded the state’s constitutional authority, but the board lost its case in district court and again on appeal.

Read more in this article from the Times-Picayune.


In the News – April 3rd

Thursday, April 3, 2014, 10:41 pm

Breaking News …

Panel rejects Jindal-backed bill to kill Common Core
The House Education Committee has rejected two bills that would have effectively scrapped Common Core in Louisiana, even though both were supported by the governor. House Bill 381 would have required the state to draft new standards to replace Common Core. House Bill 558 would have prohibited the state from using the Common Core assessments known as PARCC. Both were rejected in a 12-7 vote.  Editor’s note: Thank you to the members of the House Education Committee who voted against these two bills.

Brainpower City

America’s New Brainpower Cities
According to Forbes Magazine, New Orleans ties San Antonio for America’s #1 “Brain Hub” – a metropolitan area that is rapidly gaining college graduates. Between 2007 and 2012, New Orleans gained 44,005 college grads – a 20.3% gain. The gain is not just a returning Katrina-displaced population. College educated people are looking for affordable cities with cultural and natural amenities and strong economies, which New Orleans offers.

Charter Schools

The Charter School Performance Breakout
The Wall Street Journal says the claim that charters perform no better than conventional schools is out of date and inaccurate. The Journal points to recent studies that show closing weak charters and replicating strong charters is having powerful effects across the country. In New York City, the average charter school student now absorbs five months of extra learning a year in math and one extra month in reading, compared to conventional schools students. At KIPP schools, the largest national charter group, 86% of all students are low-income, 93% are African-American or Latino, and 83% go to college.

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Do as I said … Not as I say: Common Core and PARCC

Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 10:54 pm

Word on the street is that the Governor is supporting efforts to stop the use of PARCC tests next year, and he might even show up at the House Education Committee to testify.

PARCC, which stands for the Partnership for Assessment Readiness for College and Careers, has worked for 4 years with states, school districts, principals, and teachers to develop tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards. If Louisiana abandons the PARCC tests now, it will cost the state millions of dollars and many years to develop an inferior test that would not allow us to compare the performance of our schools and students to the rest of the nation.

The Facts

– Louisiana adopted the Common Core Standards in 2010, with the Governor’s support.
– The PARCC tests were developed according to the agreement the Governor signed in June 2010, expressly recognizing the states were developing the test and that is was not a federal test.
– PARCC was developed by a consortium of 19 states and the District of Columbia. It is not a federal, one-size-fits-all test. The Governor would never have agreed to a “federal test” in 2010.

Funny … the Governor has a long record of supporting Common Core and PARCC tests.

November 2009: In a press release touting Louisiana’s decision to apply for Race to the Top Funding, which included signing on to the Common Core State Standards, the Governor got it right, saying:

“Our children have only one chance to grow and get the skills they need to succeed. We must take advantage of every opportunity we have to strengthen our education system and provide more opportunities for Louisiana children.”

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In the News – Does Common Core Cometh?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 10:32 pm

Common Core – Does it Cometh?

Field-Testing Set to Begin on Common Core Exams
National field-testing has begun on Common Core assessments. Over the next three weeks, more than 4 million students in 36 states, including Louisiana, will take new math and English language arts assessments from PARCC and Smarter Balanced. Results will be used to determine if there are questions that might confuse or overwhelm students and also whether or not schools have the technological capacity to handle large-scale, computer-based testing.

In honor of the hundreds of Louisiana students field testing PARCC this week, the Times-Picayune is publishing sample questions. Nola.com will post a new question online each day just before noon and post the answer the following day.

There’s a new sheriff in town: Louisiana judges Common Core alignment
Education Gadfly is impressed by Louisiana’s review of Common Core curricula. Gadfly says Louisiana’s detailed analysis of available resources, which rates each resource based on how well it is aligned with Common Core, “shows how state leaders can send powerful signals to the marketplace about what teachers and students in their states need to meet the demands of state standards.”

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In the News – New York Should Look to New Orleans

Sunday, March 16, 2014, 12:18 pm

New York Should Look to New Orleans

The Big Easy
The New York Post believes Mayor Bill de Blasio should look to New Orleans to see how a school system based on choice and charters can boost achievement and reduce inequality. In New Orleans, says the Post, the emphasis is not on who is providing the education but who can deliver results, and multiple performance measures – improved test scores, fewer failing schools, and higher graduation rates – show New Orleans is headed in the right direction.

Top of the News

City’s two public school systems reach landmark agreement
OPSB and RSD have reached a landmark deal aimed at shoring up services for the city’s neediest children and sorting out how to manage the supply of school buildings. This cooperative endeavor agreement (CEA) addresses the needs of high risk students, outlining who will provide the services and how they will be paid for, including operating a truancy center, transitions for court-involved students, expanding therapeutic settings for students with severe mental health needs, and funding for very expensive special needs students. The agreement also addresses facility issues and the need for citywide planning on the number and types of schools. Editor’s note: This agreement was approved in OPSB committee and goes before the board on Tuesday. Educate Now! applauds OPSB and RSD for this effort. By working collaboratively, they have resolved a number of key issues to better serve students citywide.

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