In the News – July 27, 2012

In this edition of In the News:

  • RSD Adopts Expulsion Policy
  • Voucher Accountability Approved
  • Voucher Lawsuit Status
  • Community Colleges – Working to Improve Results
  • A Look at Virtual Schools
  • Other National Education Stories
  • More Local News

RSD Adopts Expulsion Policy

Recovery School District to List Behaviors that Could Get Students Expelled
Times-Picayune – July 16, 2012
To improve consistency and transparency among its schools, including its charter schools, the RSD has developed a new expulsion policy with a list of expellable offences and a uniform procedure for handling complaints and hearings. The RSD has also developed an issue reporting process for parents

A Fairer Approach to Expulsions in New Orleans’ Recovery School District: An Editorial
Times-Picayune – July 18, 2012
The RSD’s decision to develop a uniform policy on expulsions is an important step in helping parents navigate the new K-12 educational landscape, according to the Times-Picayune. 

Voucher Accountability Approved 

Plan for Holding Private Schools Accountable in Voucher Program Wins Board Approval
Times-Picayune – July 24, 2012
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) approved State Superintendent John White’s recommended set of academic standards for private schools participating in the state’s voucher program. The Bureau of Governmental Research criticized White’s plan as not being tough enough, but the Council for a Better Louisiana says it is a much-needed step in the right direction.

View the list of voucher schools by parish, including tuition information and the number of approved slots.

Read more about the new voucher accountability plan:

Private School Choice AND Quality Control – Education Gadfly
Private Schools in State’s Voucher Program Will Be Held to Account in New Plan –Times-Picayune

Voucher Lawsuit Status

State Appeals Court Allows Louisiana Voucher Program to Begin
Times-Picayune – July 26, 2012
A state appeals court denied a bid by teacher unions and school boards to block the start of the state’s voucher program while they challenge the program’s constitutionality. The appeals court upheld a lower ruling that bars injunctions against state programs if they cause a deficit in a department budget. A hearing on the constitutionality of the program is set for October.

Union Threatens Lawsuit Over Voucher Program
WDSU – July 26, 2012
A law firm representing the Louisiana Association of Educators sent a letter to dozens of voucher schools warning of legal action if they participate in the state’s private school voucher program. The letter said if the courts ruled that the voucher program is unconstitutional, voucher schools could be sued for receiving illegal payments of public funds. Supt. John White and BESE President Penny Dastugue issued a joint statement calling the letter a scare tactic and shameful.

Community Colleges – Working to Improve Results

Student Focus Groups Reveal Barriers to Community College Success
Education Week – July 16, 2012
A new study examines the attitudes and experiences of community college students to find out why so many struggle to make it to graduation.

Assembly Line
Inside Higher Education – July 18, 2012
Industries across the country are working with local community colleges to design a curriculum and develop certification programs that help fill the growing demand for qualified workers. 

A Look at Virtual Schools

Study Renews Call to Slow Growth of K12 Inc. Virtual Schools
Education Week – July 18, 2012
A new report from the National Education Policy Center concludes that students in virtual schools run by K12 Inc., the nation’s largest for-profit online learning provider, are performing worse academically and dropping out of courses at much higher rates than their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

Editor’s note: Louisiana has one virtual charter school managed by K12 Inc. – the Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy – which operates out of New Orleans.

Universities Reshaping Education on the Web
New York Times – July 17, 2012
In the fall, Coursera will offer approximately 100 free, open, online college courses that are expected to draw millions of students and adult learners globally. Coursera has partnered with 12 universities in the U.S. and 3 overseas to provide these online courses. So far students haven’t earned college credit for taking the classes, but Coursera says things are moving in that direction.

Other National Education Stories

Broad Center for the Management of School Systems Announces Four New Members of Board of Directors
Wall Street Journal Market Watch – July 25, 2012
Paul Pastorek, former Louisiana State Superintendent of Education, has joined the board of the Broad Center, a national nonprofit that seeks to improve public education systems by preparing future leaders.

Philadelphia Charter Founder Charged with Fraud
Education Week – July 24, 2012
The founder of two charter schools in Philadelphia has been charged with using her private management companies to defraud the charter schools of $6.5 million. Federal officials say the founder fabricated management contracts between her companies and the charter schools, falsifying documents and board minutes to show the contracts had been properly approved by the charter boards.

More Local News

Nearly 200 New Orleans School Bus Drivers Laid Off
American Press – July 17, 2012
Durham School Services says they will not renew their school bus contract with the RSD until they are paid the over $7.2 million they are still owed for last year’s contract. In the meantime, Durham has laid off close to 200 drivers and support staff.

Orleans Parish School Board Approves Layoffs, Disadvantaged Business Program
Times-Picayune – July 17, 2012
The OPSB recently approved layoffs, which will cut 21 positions from the central office. They also approved policy language for its Disadvantaged Business Enterprises program requiring OPSB contractors to set a goal of using economically disadvantaged subcontractors for as much as 35% of the work that they subcontract out.

Algiers Charter Schools Scrap Controversial Principal Moves, Announce Principal Mentorship Plan
Times-Picayune – July 19, 2012
Responding to pressure from family and community members, the Algiers Charter School Association (ACSA) has decided to scrap its plan to move two of its most successful principals over to two of its struggling schools. Instead, ASCA will have the two principals mentor the other school leaders.