In the News: A Clipping Service – November 9, 2011

In this edition of In the News:

  • The Future of RSD Schools
  • New Orleans in the National News
  • Mathematica Study Examines Charter Networks
  • BESE Elections and the Next State Superintendent
  • National Education Stories
  • Local News

The Future of RSD Schools

Some RSD Schools Now Eligible to Return to OPSB
The Cowen Institute – October 24, 2011
Eight RSD schools have School Performance Scores high enough that they are now eligible to return to the Orleans Parish School Board. These schools must decide by December whether or not they want to return to OPSB.

Recovery School District Announces Which Schools It Will Charter Next Year
The Times-Picayune – November 1, 2011
State officials announced that they will convert the few remaining direct-run high schools in New Orleans to charter schools next year along with three more elementary schools. Exactly which charter operators will take over which schools won’t be settled until January.

RSD Schedules Public Meetings to Get Input on Schools Slated to Close or Become Charters
The Times-Picayune – November 1, 2011
The RSD has scheduled public meetings to get input from parents and community members on plans for RSD schools. Meetings will be held on the campuses of each school affected by the next round of closures and charter conversions. The RSD has prepared a Transformation Fact Sheet for each school.

Hot Seat: Superintendent John White Discusses RSD Improvements
WDSU TV – October 31, 2011
In this two part interview, RSD Superintendent John White discusses the improvements that have come to the school system in New Orleans, the challenges the RSD is facing, and his desire to create a portfolio of schools that will meet the many different needs of New Orleans students. View part 1View part 2.

Reform 2.0 School Transformation — Building Meaningful Connections Between the Community and Its Schools
The New Orleans Agenda – November 3, 2011
The RSD promised to engage the community in critical decisions about schools. A group of local organizations, including the Black Alliance for Educational Options, the Neighborhood Partnership Network, the Orleans Public Education Network, and the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, wants to hold the RSD to its promise. They have developed what they believe is a credible process for true community engagement.

New Orleans in the National News

Big Results in Big Easy Schools
Take Part – November 7, 2011
Post-Katrina New Orleans has a lot to teach the rest of America about school reform, including the importance of school autonomy and accountability and the challenges faced by an urban school district that serves a high-risk, high-poverty population.

New Orleans Is No Education ‘Miracle’
Education Week – November 1, 2011
A survey of 450 students from six different high schools in New Orleans shows how students really feel about their schools. Students at five of the six high schools expressed serious concerns about safety, academic rigor, counselor accessibility, classroom management, physical environment, and affordability. The survey included students from OPSB and RSD direct-run and charter schools.

Mathematica Study Examines Charter Networks

A new national study of charter management organizations found results that varied greatly between charter networks. Students in some charter networks achieved three years of growth in two years; in others, students tested a year behind grade level after a year or two in the program. The study underscores both the challenges of creating quality charter schools as well as how such schools can be game-changers for students.

Academic Gains Vary Widely for Charter Networks
Education Week – November 4, 2011

New Grades on Charter Schools
Time Magazine – November 3, 2011

BESE Elections and the Next State Superintendent

3 BESE Runoffs Will Loom Large in Louisiana School Reform Debate
The Times-Picayune – October 24, 2011
The future of education reform in Louisiana will be determined by three critical runoff elections on November 19. These second-round BESE elections will take place in the New Orleans area as well as in districts that cover portions of Baton Rouge and nearby parishes.

New Orleans Schools Chief is on the Cusp of Grasping State Superintendent’s Reins
The Times-Picayune – October 24, 2011
The runoff elections on November 19 will determine who will fill the last three seats on the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and this new Board will determine who will become the next State Superintendent of Education. John White, head of the Recovery School District, is just one vote shy of winning the post.

RSD Chief Stays Mum on Education Superintendent Job
Associated Press – November 7, 2011
RSD Superintendent John White says that while he is honored by all the attention he has received, right now he is focused on his current position, and it would be inappropriate to talk to BESE members about the State Superintendent’s post until after the November 19 election.

National Education Stories

NCAA Raises Minimum GPA for Incoming Student-Athletes
Education Week – October 27, 2011
Starting in August 2015, high school student-athletes who hope to play sports in college will need a 2.3 GPA, instead of the 2.0 GPA required for competition today.

Broad Foundation Announces New Prize for Urban Charters
Education Week – October 31, 2011
The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is starting a new award program for the nation’s charter schools. The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools will provide $250,000 to the charter management organization that demonstrates the best academic outcomes for traditionally disadvantaged students, including closing achievement gaps.

Five Myths About the Common Core State Standards
Harvard Education Letter – September/October 2011
Louisiana is one of 48 states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards for learning, but many people still aren’t sure what they are and what they mean for our schools. This article addresses five common myths that have emerged about the standards.

Local News

Orleans Parish School Board Decides to Keep Tax Revenue-Neutral
The Times-Picayune – October 18, 2011
The Orleans Parish School Board did not “roll forward” its millage, forgoing close to $5 million of new revenue for schools. This choice of whether or not to increase school revenue was possible because of an increase in the city’s overall property tax assessments.

Louisiana Schools are Better, but the Work is Far from Done: An Editorial
The Times-Picayune – November 6, 2011
Louisiana’s latest scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) showed some improvement, but our scores still rank near the bottom in the nation. The Times-Picayune says that in New Orleans, gains in student performance show recent reforms are working, so Louisiana needs to expand these reforms to other mediocre systems in the state.

New Orleans High Schools Say Performance Scores Don’t Tell the Whole Story
The Times-Picayune – October 20, 2011
Not every high school in New Orleans was judged with the same measuring stick this year. For the first time, School Performance Scores for some New Orleans high schools were based on a combination of test scores and graduation rates. Many of these schools saw a significant jump in their SPS. But schools that are too new to have a four-year cohort graduation rate are still graded primarily on test scores. These schools want the state to do a better job of explaining to parents and the community why their SPS numbers are so different.