In the News: A Clipping Service – February 27, 2012

In this edition of In the News:

  • RSD Headlines
  • Enrollment Begins for 2012-13
  • National Education Stories
  • Louisiana’s Education Leaders in the News
  • Governor’s Reform Agenda

RSD Headlines

Recovery School District Releases ‘Equity Report’
Associated Press – February 15, 2012
The RSD has released a new Equity Report that provides information on schools by categories, such as graduation rates, academic performance, and enrollment of students with disabilities. View Equity Reports for each individual RSD school.

Recovery School District Finds Solution to Expensive Insurance
The Times-Picayune – February 16, 2012
RSD’s school buildings will now be included in an insurance pool with other state-insured properties, eliminating the need for a state subsidy on insurance. RSD schools will now pay between $150-$20 per student for property insurance.

Critics of New Orleans School Charter Approval Process Have Voice on Task Force
The Times-Picayune – February 23, 2012
Responding to criticism that the process used to evaluate and approve charter applications favors national organizations at the expense of local groups, the RSD has formed a task force of more than two dozen people from education-related groups to examine ways to improve the charter review process. The task force consists of some of the state’s most vocal critics, including groups that have tried unsuccessfully to write charters for George Washington Carver, L.B. Landry and Sarah T. Reed high schools.

Keep Children First in Review of Louisiana School Chartering Process: An Editorial
The Times-Picayune – February 26, 2012
The Times-Picayune agrees that it is important to give community groups a voice in the chartering process, but even more important is that the approval of new charter schools remains driven by what is best for children and that any new charters will have a strong likelihood of success.

Enrollment Begins for 2012-13

Recovery School District’s New Application Is Expected to Make School Search Easier
The Times-Picayune – February 6, 2012
Parents can now fill out a single application for enrollment in any RSD school. On the new application, parents rank their top eight choices and turn it in at any school in the RSD. The district will then assign students based on the preference order they indicated on the form. Students living close to a school will get preference at that campus, as well as siblings of current students. The Orleans Parish School Board’s schools are not part of this streamlined process.

Guide for Parents Seeking a Public School in New Orleans
The Times-Picayune – February 24, 2012
The Parent Organizing Network has released its 2012 New Orleans Parents’ Guide to Public Schools. The Guide provides information about every public school in New Orleans as well as tips to help parents find and fight for quality public schools.

For more information on high schools in New Orleans see the Urban League’s New Orleans Guide to High Schools.

National Education Stories

Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say
New York Times – February 9, 2012
While the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed significantly over the past few decades, the gap between rich and poor students has grown substantially. New studies show that family income now appears more determinative of educational success than race.

Study: School Choice Lottery Winners Commit Fewer Crimes
Education Week – February 15, 2012
A new study analyzes the impact of winning a school choice lottery on the criminal activity of students in North Carolina. The study finds that high-risk students admitted to their preferred school commit 50% less crime, are slightly more likely to stay enrolled in school, and are less likely to be absent or suspended than their peers who lose the lottery.

Charters Near Top-and Bottom-of California Rankings
Education Week – February 23, 2012
A study released by the California Charter School Association found that California charters are more likely than non-charters to be among the state’s top performers-and also more likely to be among the state’s lowest performers. It also found that charters run by Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) were more likely to be among the highest performing. In addition, family income had much less of an impact on school performance among charters than it did at non-charters, proving demographics are not destiny.

Lessons from a Great School
The Economist – February 4, 2012
In England, some failing schools are turned into “academies” – state schools that are removed from local council control and given new freedoms over staffing and teaching methods. One such academy, Paddington, has produced fabulous results, showing that greater school autonomy can bring greater success for students.

Louisiana’s Education Leaders in the News

In Katrina’s Wake, New Orleans’ Schools Reinvent Themselves Around Competition
Seattle Times – January 31, 2012
Former State Superintendent Paul Pastorek is still active in education. Before speaking at the Washington Policy Center’s education lunch in Seattle, he wrote this editorial for the Seattle Times. Pastorek says that in New Orleans, decentralization, school-based accountability, and competition for the privilege of teaching kids marked a new, better way of doing things.

Straight Up Conversation: New Louisiana Schools Chief John White
Education Week – February 6, 2012
John White sits down with Education Week to discuss his new role as State Superintendent, his top priorities for reform, his new relationship with the RSD, the successes he will build upon, and the challenges he faces going forward.

School Chiefs’ Group Elbows Into Policy Fight
Education Week – January 31, 2012
“Chiefs for Change” is an invitation-only group of eleven current and former state school chiefs with a shared agenda for education reform. Their causes include teacher evaluations tied to student achievement, more school choices for families, rewards for successful schools and intensive interventions for failing ones, and transparent accountability systems. Louisiana’s state superintendent John White and former superintendent Paul Pastorek are both members.

Homegrown Educator Must Soothe Tensions, Establish Vision for Troubled N.O. Schools
The Republic – February 13, 2012
As the new head of the Recovery School District, native New Orleanian Patrick Dobard must address the tensions of the past while charting a course for the future.

Governor’s Reform Agenda


Governor Jindal has announced a sweeping education reform agenda that addresses many “hot button” issues, including expanding vouchers, creating more charter schools and changing teacher tenure.

Next week, Educate Now! will begin exploring this agenda, beginning with the school voucher program.