High School Performance

The state has released data on high school performance.

The Really Good News

New Orleans showed robust growth on the End of Course Tests (EOCs).

  • New Orleans1 (OPSB & RSD) is 8th in improvement in the state, with 59% of students proficient (scoring Excellent or Good) compared to 52% in 2013.
  • This is a jump of 7 percentage points; the state improved 3 points, from 59% to 62% proficient.
  • Compared to the other 69 districts, New Orleans is now #37, up from #47 last year (up 11 spots).
  • When we look at all New Orleans2, including Type 2 charters and NOCCA, 61% of students are proficient, just 1 point below the state average.

The state has been phasing in the EOCs by testing more subjects each year. This year, for the first time, all six subjects were tested: Algebra, Biology, English II, English III, Geometry and U.S. History. Since 2011, New Orleans has improved 14 points, while the state has improved 7 points.

Percent of Students (OPSB & RSD) Proficient

See below for EOC performance by school.

The Really Good News (part 2)

New Orleans students improved on the ACT

All students are now required to take the ACT. Many take it multiple times, and ACT uses their highest score.

  • Looking at all New Orleans high schools, 50% of students scored an 18 or higher, up 6 points from 44% in 2013.
  • Statewide, 59% of Louisiana students scored an 18 or higher, a 1 point gain from 2013.
  • 18 is the score that ACT says is aligned with college success.

Continue reading

Court Rules Schools Don’t Have to Return

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.


Positive Results from New Expulsion Policies

The Recovery School District (RSD) and the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) announced the results of the first year of the new expulsion policy for public schools in Orleans Parish.

  • There were 272 expulsions in the 2012-13 school year, for an expulsion rate of .57%
  • In comparison, the state had an expulsion rate of .7%
  • New Orleans’ expulsion rate is 20% below the state

Not only is New Orleans leading the state in academic gains, we are doing so while expelling fewer students than the state average.

What did New Orleans do differently in the 2012-13 school year?

  • Common expulsion process and definition: Charter and traditional school leaders across the RSD, OPSB, and Type 2 charter schools worked together to establish a joint policy and coordinate a centralized process for student expulsions.

The 2012-13 school year was the inaugural year, with 90 of the 91 public schools in New Orleans participating. These schools agreed that all expulsion hearings would be administered by the RSD’s Student Hearing Office and agreed to limit the reasons a student could be expelled. Continue reading

Special Education – OPSB Not Serving Its Share

Schools under the OPSB serve a disproportionately low number of students with disabilities. The city average is 9.9% special education students, but OPSB schools (charter and traditional combined) serve 6.6%. OPSB charters serve only 5.49% while RSD charters serve 11.1%.

Even OPSB’s open-admission charter schools are significantly under-serving special education students.

OPSB receives a lump sum based on the total number of students with disabilities in the city. It then distributes the money among its schools as if each individual school had the average 9.9% special education enrollment. That means some OPSB schools are getting much more than their fair share of special education dollars, while other schools aren’t getting enough.

Read more in this article in the Times-Picayune:

Special education enrollment numbers show Orleans Parish School Board charters lagging

View the list of schools and special education enrollment:

What Does N.O. Think About Education Reforms

There has been much discussion about how folks really view education reforms in New Orleans. Last week, Tulane’s Cowen Institute released a 2013 public opinion poll providing data that replaces pure speculation with poll results on how voters feel about key issues.

Key Findings

Voters agreed more than they disagreed, reflecting consensus on some key points:

  • Support for school choice for families, with only 21% wanting a return to neighborhood schools;
  • Replacing operators of low-performing schools with charter operators who have demonstrated success (65%);
  • The need for the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) to make structural and operational changes before schools are returned (65%), with a strong preference (41%) for a local school board with a mix of elected and appointed members; only 16% of voters believe OPSB as currently structured should have oversight of all charter schools.
  • While black and white voters disagreed on when to return schools, the majority (55%) feel return should be in the more distant future (3-5 years) or never.

Continue reading

Close to 80% of Students Graduating on Time!

The state has released the four-year cohort graduation rates for 2012, and the news is good for New Orleans.

The combined graduation rate for all New Orleans public schools rose to 77.8%.

Four-Year Cohort Graduation Rate by District
New Orleans = OPSB, RSD, charter and traditional schools

  • The New Orleans graduation rate of 77.8% compares well to the rest of the country. According to the U.S. Department of Education report released in November, in 2011 the national average graduation rate for African American students was 60%, and the national average for white students was 76%.
    • In New Orleans, public school enrollment is 88% African American, 6% white and 6% other.
  • New Orleans outperformed the state of Louisiana (72.3%).
  • New Orleans also outperformed Shreveport (63.4%) Baton Rouge (66%) and Jefferson Parish (70.4%).
  • RSD-New Orleans is among the most-improved districts, going from a graduation rate of 58.8% in 2011 to 67.7% in 2012.
  • RSD-New Orleans ranks #49, outperforming Baton Rouge and Shreveport. The RSD took over the worst performing high schools in the state. This progress in just a few years is remarkable.
  • OPSB has the highest graduation rate in the state, although it dropped from 93.8% in 2011 to 89.3% in 2012.

Continue reading

News Alert: Is Ira Thomas Breaking State Law?

OPSB President Ira Thomas could be violating state law by holding a seat on the Orleans Parish School Board while also working for the state.

Thomas has served on the Orleans Parish School Board for the past four years. He has been Police Chief for Southern University at New Orleans for three and a half years. By holding both positions, he may be violating Louisiana’s Dual Office Holding and Dual Employment Law.

The law states: “No person holding an elective office in a political subdivision of this state shall at the same time hold another elective office or full-time appointive office in the government of this state or in the government of a political subdivision thereof. No such person shall hold at the same time employment in the government of this state, or in the same political subdivision in which he holds an elective office.”

Read more about Thomas and what might happen next in The Lens.

Update 3-19-13:  Board President Ira Thomas said he will seek the opinion of the state Attorney General on whether it is legal for him to be both the board President and an employee of Southern University at New Orleans, where he directs security. 

Game Changer! N.O. High School Grad Rate Outperforms US

With the recent release by the U.S. Department of Education of national high school completion rates, New Orleans has cause to celebrate.  In terms of graduating students on time, we have closed the performance gap.

New Orleans outperformed the state and outperformed the nation. 

States are now required to use a common measurement for high school completion:  the percent of first time 9th graders who graduate within 4 years with a regular diploma (the 4-year cohort graduation rate1). The data on the graduating class of 2011 shows that nationally 76% of white students and 60% of black students graduated on time.

In New Orleans, 76.5% of our students graduated on time2

  • Outperforming the national average for white students
  • Outperforming the national average for black students by 16.5 percentage points
  • Outperforming the state of Louisiana (70.9%)
  • Outperforming Jefferson Parish (67%), Baton Rouge (62.3%) and Shreveport (61.5%)

New Orleans had 2,051 high school graduates in 2011, 443 more than if we were at the national average for black students, and 657 more than if we were still at New Orleans’ 2005 graduation rate.

This improvement is a game changer for our students and our city. 

Continue reading

And the OPSB Candidates Are….

This fall, all seven seats on the Orleans Parish School Board will be up for election. This election is important because:

  • This board will choose the new School Superintendent.
  • This board will play an important role in the return of RSD schools to local control over the next few years. 
The primary will be held November 6, 2012, and runoff elections will be held December 8, 2012. 

Here is a list of candidates by district. Continue reading

End of Course Test Results Are In

Earlier this month, the state released the results of the End of Course tests (EOCs).

Background Info on End of Course Tests

Louisiana has phased out the Graduation Exit Exam (GEE) and replaced it with EOCs.

  • The graduating class of 2014 must pass at least three EOCs to graduate: English II or English III, Algebra I or Geometry, and Biology or American History. *
  • EOCs count for at least 15% of a student’s grade in the course.
  • School Performance Scores will now be calculated using EOC results instead of the GEE.

Results by School

Some schools outperformed the state average in the percent of students considered proficient (scoring Excellent or Good). Ben Franklin and Lusher – both selective admission schools – outperformed the state in all 4 subjects – Algebra I, English II, Geometry and Biology. Warren Easton and Sci Academy out performed in 3 of the 4 subjects. Continue reading