In the News: A Clipping Service – March 19, 2012

In this edition of In the News:

  • A Big Leap Forward
  • Weighing in on the Legislative Agenda
  • A How-To Guide for New Orleans-Style Reform
  • Tougher Expulsion Policies Don’t Equal More Crime
  • Charter Accountability
  • National Education Stories
  • Local News

A Big Leap Forward

The Big Easy’s Business Leap Forward
The Wall Street Journal – March 16, 2012
The Wall Street Journal celebrates New Orleans’ entrepreneurial boom and the new risk-taking spirit in New Orleans exemplified by Idea Village’s fourth annual Entrepreneur Week, which featured 525 start-up companies competing for more than $1 million in capital and consulting services.
Editor’s Note: Jen Medbery, founder of Drop the Chalk/Kickboard, won Entrepreneur Week’s top award – the Coulter Challenge IDEApitch. Congratulations Jen for marrying the education reform movement with the city’s entrepreneurial renaissance.

Weighing in on the Legislative Agenda

Bobby Jindal School Voucher Plan Worries Watchdog Group
The Times-Picayune – March 13, 2012
The Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) is calling for major revisions to the school voucher bill. BGR’s report, Making Choice Right, Can Private School Vouchers Live Up to their Promises, reviews the results of the New Orleans pilot program, outlines concerns with the proposed voucher expansion, and calls for greater academic and financial accountability. BGR says that without the proper safeguards, a voucher program will not live up to its promises and could do damage to public schools.

PAR Says Strengthen Accountability to Strengthen Education Reforms
Public Affairs Research Council – March 13, 2012
PAR also urges legislators to strengthen the accountability measures in the governor’s proposed legislation to ensure that children who benefit from the reforms still receive the quality education they deserve.

Education Reform Proposals Move Forward
Council for a Better Louisiana – March 15, 2012
CABL, a nonpartisan, statewide organization, issued a statement supporting the key elements of the governor’s education package and testified in favor of all the bills in committee. They also suggested strengthening the School Choice Bill by adding more accountability, including consequences for participating schools if academic goals are not met and giving priority to students who would be attending a D or F school.

Department Releases White Paper on Proposals to Change Personnel Policies and Practices for Educators
Louisiana Department of Education – March 12, 2012
This white paper from the Louisiana Department of Education looks at how proposed legislation will affect personnel policies and practices for teachers and school leaders. It provides an overview of the current policies, outlines the proposed legislation, and summarizes the projected impact on educators, educational leaders, and students.

Louisiana Teachers to Flood Capitol for Debate on Jindal Education Bills
The Times-Picayune – March 13, 2012
Teachers from across the state descended on Baton Rouge to protest proposed legislation that will curtail tenure protections for new teachers and make it easier to fire existing ones. At least four public school districts in Louisiana were forced to cancel classes because of a lack of teachers.

Real Jindal Shows Face
Monroe News Star – March 16, 2012
The local Monroe paper is concerned that the governor is so determined to push through his education agenda, he is unwilling to listen to comments or debate. While the paper supports the idea of public education reform, they “do not support the idea that those who are not in lockstep or those who want to learn more or question should be quashed.”

A How-To Guide for New Orleans-Style Reform

School Reform, New Orleans-Style
Education Weekly – March 16, 2012
For some time, other cities have looked to New Orleans as an example of how to turn around a failing school system. New Schools for New Orleans has released a how-to guide for New Orleans-style education reform to help other cities interested in transforming their education system. The release of New Orleans-Style Education Reform: A Guide for Cities was announced at a roundtable discussion hosted by Sen. Mary Landrieu.

Tougher Expulsion Policies Don’t Equal More Crime

Crime and School Discipline Policies in New Orleans
Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools – February 15, 2012
The Louisiana Association of Public Charter School (LAPCS) recently analyzed crime data for New Orleans to find out if the tougher school expulsion policies are leading to a higher crime rate. The answer they found is “No.” The years with the highest violent crime rates in New Orleans were during the 1990s, a time when expulsion policies were far more lenient than they are today.

Charter Accountability

Shuttering Bad Charter Schools
New York Times – February 20, 2012
A new study from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers shows that each year fewer and fewer charter schools are being shut down. According to the New York Times, this raises troubling concerns about the management practices of the charter authorizers who oversee the nation’s approximately 5,600 charters.

National Education Stories

The “Last Word” on Milwaukee Vouchers Should Lead Us to New Debates on Standards
Education Gadfly – February 27, 2012
A five-year, longitudinal study of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP), the country’s first private school voucher program, showed voucher students made larger reading gains than their counterparts in Milwaukee Public Schools, and voucher students continue to show higher graduation rates. The study’s principal investigator says higher standards and accountability in the final year of the study played a role in the achievement gains.

Q&A: Khan Academy Creator Talks About K-12 Innovation
Education Week – March 5, 2012
Education Week interviews Salman Khan, the founder of the Khan Academy, a nonprofit organization that has built a free, online collection of thousands of digital lessons and exercises in subjects ranging from algebra to microeconomics. Mr. Kahn talks about the evolution of the academy and its potential for changing K-12 education.

Survey: Teacher Job Satisfaction Hits a Low Point
Education Week – March 7, 2012
The 28th annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher found that teacher job satisfaction is at the lowest it’s been in more than two decades. According to the survey, 44% of teachers are “very satisfied” with their jobs, down from 59% in 2009. In addition, 29% of teachers say they are likely to leave the teaching profession within the next five years, up from 17% in 2009. On a more positive note, teachers feel parent engagement is on the rise.

Evaluating the NYC Core Knowledge Early Literacy Pilot: Year 3 Report
Education Gadfly – March 15, 2012
The three-year results from New York City’s Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) pilot reading program are very promising. CKLA uses early reading instruction and content-rich “read-alouds” to introduce all students – and low-income students specifically – to the “core” common knowledge needed to navigate society. Students in the program had reading gains five times greater than students taught using other reading strategies. Core Knowledge students also scored higher on science and social studies content-based tests than students using other reading strategies.

Local News

Orleans Parish School Board Considers New Structure for District
The Times-Picayune – March 15, 2012
The Orleans Parish School Board is considering a plan that would change the administrative structure of the district. Under the proposed plan, the current superintendent would focus on the academics and curriculum of the district’s traditional schools. The Board would appoint two new deputy superintendents who would report directly to the board – one who would be in charge of the district’s charter office and one who would oversee finance and operations.

Algiers Schools Network Seeking New Board Members
The Times-Picayune – March 13, 2012
The Algiers Charter Schools Association is seeking new members for its board of trustees. Candidates should be an Algiers resident, hold at least bachelor’s degree, have a record of involvement with the community or schools, and have a background in either business management, education, finance, legal or policymaking. The application deadline is 4 p.m. on March 30.

Orleans Parish School Board Approves New Voting-District Boundaries
The Times-Picayune – February 28, 2012
The Orleans Parish School Board has approved new boundaries for their voting districts. The racially tinged debate was finally settled with a last-minute compromise that included a swap of voting precincts. Elections are this November.

Orleans School Board Will Hold Meeting Tonight to Answer Questions on the Future of Harte and Karr
The Times-Picayune – February 23, 2012
The Orleans Parish School Board is holding community meetings to discuss the future of Alice Harte Elementary and Edna Karr High School. These two successful schools are Orleans Parish School Board charters that have been run by the Algiers Charter Schools Association (ACSA). OPSB and ACSA couldn’t come to a management agreement for next year, and until OPSB finds a new charter manager, the future of the two schools remains uncertain.

Over Union Objections, Jefferson Parish Schools Going Outside for New Teachers
The Times-Picayune – March 12, 2012
Jefferson Parish is signing a contract with The New Teacher Project (TNTP) for teacher training and recruitment. Superintendent James Meza said he chose TNTP because they rank among Louisiana’s top performing teacher preparation programs, and they focus on placing teachers in key content areas, such as math and science.

N.O. Schools Get Multi-Million-Dollar Grant
WWL-TV – March 7, 2012
The Walton Family Foundation gave grants in the New Orleans area that totaled more than $5 million last year. The Morris Jeff Community School, the New Orleans Military Maritime Academy, and KIPP New Orleans schools are just a few of the schools that received grant money from Walton. KIPP plans to use the money to grow its group of schools from nine to 12 in New Orleans by 2015.