- Who should authorize charter schools?
- Who should manage school facilities?
- Who should handle the money?
- What should happen to the Orleans Parish School Board?
- What about giving the mayor authority over schools?
- What about an appointed school board?
While these are all important questions, Educate Now! urges everyone to hit the pause button and take time to fully understand the “what” of school governance (what roles, functions, services must be in place) before looking at the “who” (what individuals, group, organization, or political entity or entities should be responsible for these functions).
Education was an issue in the recent Mayoral and City Council elections, especially school governance and school performance. These issues were debated, discussed, and polled. Finally, the candidates were asked their positions. So, now that we have a new mayor and five of the seven city council seats have been decided, where are we?
The majority of voters:
- Believe the state made the right decision in taking over the schools (Cowen);
- Strongly support choice (CABL, Cowen);
- Strongly support charters (CABL, Cowen, Democracy Corps);
- Do not want schools returned to the Orleans Parish School Board (CABL, Cowen);
- Do not want mayoral control of schools (Cowen); and
- Would like return of local control eventually (Democracy Corps). Continue reading
The Big Picture: Good News Overall
The state has just released the 2009 School Performance Scores, and the news is good overall. Students in New Orleans are doing better than they were pre-Katrina, and New Orleans is one of the 5 most-improved areas in the state.
In 2005, just before Katrina, only 37% of Orleans Parish schools were considered Academically Acceptable with one star or higher. Today that number is 58% – an increase of 21 percentage points.
New Orleans is one of the most improved areas in the state, and our rate of progress is significantly higher than the state average. The District Performance Score for New Orleans Schools went from 56.9 in 2005 to 70.6 in 2009, an increase of 13.7 points. The state average only went up 3.6 points during this time.
Great News: Performance Soars!
The recently released 2009 Test Scores are great news for New Orleans. Across the city, student achievement improved dramatically.
These gains are truly significant and show the reforms underway are working.
- New Orleans improved more than the state across all grades and subjects.
- New Orleans showed real growth in the percentage of students passing the promotional high-stakes LEAP and GEE tests.
- Significantly more students met the state proficiency goal of Basic or Above.
This edition of Leslie’s Notebook will focus on the high stakes tests – 4th and 8th grade English and Math LEAP tests, along with the Graduation Exit Exam – to highlight the tremendous improvement both this year and since the state took over the schools in 2006.
These results include all schools under the Orleans Parish School Board and the Recovery School District, both traditional and charter.