In the News: A Clipping Service – May 16, 2012

In this Edition of In the News:

  • OPSB Updates
  • RSD Headlines
  • Others Have Their Say
  • Louisiana Headlines
  • National Education Stories
  • Local News 

OPSB Updates

Orleans Parish School Board Approves Property Tax Increase
Times-Picayune – May 15, 2012
After a long and sometimes heated meeting, the OPSB voted to:

  • Roll forward the millage for 2013. The increase in property tax rates will bring in an estimated $5.1 million for all Orleans Parish public schools (OPSB and RSD). The move received significant community support, including a personal appeal from RSD Superintendent Patrick Dobard.
  • Install Stan Smith, the district’s chief financial officer, as Interim Superintendent. Mr. Smith will take over for Darryl Kilbert, who is leaving the position at the end of June.
  • Promote Kathleen Padian, the district’s Executive Director of Charter Schools, to the level of Deputy Superintendent.

RSD Headlines

Recovery School District Says New Pupil Enrollment System is Getting the Job Done
Times-Picayune – May 9, 2012
The RSD has finished matching more than 25,000 students to seats at one of 67 campuses using its new centralized enrollment system. The RSD matched 84% of kindergarten and 9th grade applicants to their top school choices. Among the most popular primary schools were Dr. Martin Luther King Charter, Lafayette Academy, Martin Behrman, and the KIPP charter schools. The top secondary schools were Lake Area, Sophie B. Wright, Sci Academy, and KIPP Renaissance.

Recovery School District Grapples with Discipline Policies
Times-Picayune – May 14, 2012
The RSD plans to centralize parts of the discipline process for its charter schools. The district will review all expulsion cases to ensure its charters followed their own policies. The RSD also plans to offer support to its charters through working groups and sharing best practices.

Others Have Their Say

The Test-Based Evidence On New Orleans Charter Schools
Shanker Blog – April 27, 2012
This blog from the Albert Shanker Institute questions whether student performance in New Orleans really has improved since Katrina, and also, if improvement does exist, is it actually due to the expansion of charter schools or is it just different students and more money.

Educate Now! wants to know what you think. How would you respond to his arguments, information, and sometimes misinformation? Email your responses to

Bobby Jindal’s Education Bills ‘Obliterate Public Education,’ Former Reformer Says
Times-Picayune – May 10, 2012
Diane Ravitch is not pleased with Governor Jindal’s new education bills. In her blog at Education Week she calls it “the most far-reaching attempt in the nation to de-fund, dismantle, and obliterate public education.”

Sen. Mary Landrieu Touts New Orleans Charter Schools on ‘Morning Joe’
Times-Picayune – May 8, 2012
In an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Senator Mary Landrieu spoke about the success of New Orleans charter schools and the extraordinary gains in academics. In a report for Research on Reforms, Charles Hatfield used this year’s tougher school grading system to argue RSD schools haven’t improved and also compared RSD and OPSB charters to show RSD charters are still struggling.

Louisiana Headlines

Louisiana is 3rd in Nation in Private School Enrollment
Times-Picayune – May 6, 2012
Louisiana is third in the nation in private school enrollment with 19.1% of all school-aged children in private schools. Jefferson Parish outpaced all other parishes in Louisiana with 36.6% private school enrollment, and nationally Jefferson ranked number 2 of all counties.

Louisiana’s School Accountability Plans Get Federal Feedback
Times-Picayune – May 7, 2012
The federal government has reviewed Louisiana’s application for a waiver to No Child Left Behind requirements and has both praise – for proposed college-ready standards and for the RSD intervention in failing schools – and some criticism – for Louisiana’s assessments of special needs students and for steps to close achievement gaps.

Louisiana 8th Grade Science Scores Edge Up Slightly
Associated Press – May 10, 2012
Louisiana continues to lag behind the national average for NAEP science test scores, but the state’s average score did improve slightly between 2009 and 2011. NAEP assessments are administered nationally to students at grades 4 and 8 in reading, math, writing, and science. National results show fewer than one-third of 8th graders are proficient in science, but students are improving, and achievement gaps are closing.

Connect with the Department of Education
In March, the Louisiana Department of Education launched Ed Connect, a bi-weekly newsletter published specifically for principals and teachers. To view the latest issue of Ed Connect, click here. To subscribe to Ed Connect, click here.

National Education Stories

Charter Sector Starts to Grow Its Own Leaders
Education Week – May 8, 2012
The charter sector is developing its own training programs to meet the growing need for skilled charter school leaders who are able to run a nonprofit business while also serving as the instructional leader of a school. Will the number of programs grow quickly enough to meet the demand for charter school leaders, and can these new programs turn out successful leaders?

Education and the Income Gap
Washington Post – April 27, 2012
Linda Darling-Hammond says the reason U.S. students rank so low on international assessments is because our child poverty rate is much higher, and our supports to counter poverty much weaker, than in other developed nations. In high-achieving countries like Finland and Singapore, strong social safety nets ensure that virtually all schools have fewer than 10% of their students living in poverty.

Local News

Bill Clinton Addresses ‘College Track’ Students
Associated Press – May 10, 2012
Former President Bill Clinton spoke at the first New Orleans graduation ceremony of the Urban League’s College Track program, a national after-school program that helps low-income students make it to college. Many of the students who graduated from the program this year will be the first in their families to go to college, as was President Clinton.

Algiers Charter Schools CEO Stepping Down
Times-Picayune – May 15, 2012
Andrea Thomas-Reynolds, the Chief Executive Officer of the Algiers Charter Schools Association since 2009, announced that she will not be seeking a renewal of her contract when it ends in June.

The Great Cafeteria Takeover: “Rethinking” the Approach to School Food Reform
Huffington Post – May 11, 2012
Part one of HBO’s The Weight of the Nation, a three-part documentary on America’s obesity epidemic, focuses on a group of New Orleans 5th to 8th graders called The Rethinkers, who are working to transform their school food and cafeterias. The film highlights Rethink’s success in getting fresh, locally grown produce at least twice a week in all 37 Recovery School District cafeterias.

Peter Jennings Award Honors Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise, Kira Orange Jones, and Sarah Usdin for Education Efforts in New Orleans
Teach for America – May 8, 2012
Three New Orleans education leaders received Teach For America’s prestigious Peter Jennings Award for Civic Leadership: Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise, the Executive Director of KIPP New Orleans Schools, recently elected BESE member Kira Orange Jones, the Executive Director of TFA of Greater New Orleans, and Sarah Usdin, founder of New Schools for New Orleans. Educate Now! congratulates these extraordinary women for this well-deserved award.