In the News – October 10, 2012

In this edition of In the News:

Race for OPSB

The Orleans Parish School Board elections are heating up. At stake is a vote for the district’s next superintendent and a role in governing a system of schools whose eventual shape is still uncertain. Read more about the candidates from Districts 1, 2 and 3 in the Times-Picayune articles below.

Race for Orleans Parish School Board’s 3rd District Showcases Widely Divergent Views of Candidates: Incumbent Brett Bonin, Sarah Usdin, and Karan Harper Royal

Cynthia Cade Faces 2 Challengers, Durrell Laurent and Dwight McKenna, in Re-Election Bid for Orleans Parish School Board, 2nd District Seat

Orleans Parish School Board Race Pits Heidi Lovett Daniels against Incumbent Ira Thomas for 1st District

Future of School Governance

What Should Local Control of New Orleans’ Schools Look Like?: Jarvis DeBerry
Times-Picayune – September 28, 2012
Jarvis DeBerry believes that if Orleans Parish residents are going to be taxed for public education, they should have some say in how schools are managed. DeBerry is encouraging residents to attend the governance conversations hosted by Orleans Public Education Network (OPEN) each Saturday in October. For more on the OPEN discussions, click here.

Money, Control and Perception Are Keys as Charters Consider Switch to Orleans Parish School Board
The Lens – October 4, 2012
Charter schools that have improved their performance enough to be eligible to leave the Recovery School District are debating whether or not they should move back to OPSB control. If they return to the OPSB, charters will have to give up some degree of autonomy and some amount of money for administrative costs. 

National Education News 

More Cheating Scandals Inevitable, as States Can’t Ensure Test Integrity
Atlanta Journal Constitution – September 30, 2012
The Atlanta Journal Constitution found that many states do not use basic test security measures, and most states make almost no attempt to screen test results for irregularities. Poor oversight of testing means there will be more cheating scandals, which will undermine a national education policy that is built on test scores. View test security measures implemented by each state.

Traditional or Charter Schools? Actually, They Help Each Other, Study Says
Christian Science Monitor – September 27, 2012
A new report from the Brookings Institution, Learning from the Successes and Failures of Charter Schools, says that applying best practices from charter schools to low-performing public schools may increase student achievement. The study could help improve cooperation between charter and traditional schools, which often view each other as competitors.

Using Incentives to Change How Teenagers Spend Their Time
MDRC – September 2012
A three-year program in New York City offered cash incentives to families to help improve children’s education, preventive health care, and parents’ employment. MDRC examined how the program affected teenagers and found it increased the proportion of teenagers who engaged primarily in academic, as opposed to social, activities; increased parent spending on school-related expenses; and increased the proportion of parents who saved for future education.  

Update on LA Reforms 

State to Overhaul Pre-K
The Advocate – October 2, 2012
The Louisiana Department of Education says not enough children are entering kindergarten with the skills they need succeed in elementary school. Superintendent John White is expected to present his plan for overhauling Louisiana’s pre-K programs to BESE later this month. 

Local Stories

Arnold Foundation Backs Effort to Strengthen New Orleans Teaching
Education Week – September 28, 2012
The Laura and John Arnold Foundation is awarding $15 million in grants to ten local organizations to strengthen teacher recruitment and increase the flow of information to parents on how to choose the best school for their children.

Recovery School District Faces Anger over Firings at Cohen, L.B. Landry High Schools
Times-Picayune – October 9, 2012
Parents and students at Walter L. Cohen and L.B. Landry high schools are angry at the RSD over a series of mid-semester firings. In response to poor performance at Cohen, the RSD fired Cohen’s principal and hired the Future is Now charter to manage the school for the rest of the year. A series of budget cuts at L.B. Landry led to the firing of their head football coach. 

New Orleans Schools Need One Application for All: Editorial
Times-Picayune – September 29, 2012
The Times-Picayune says all of the charter schools under the OPSB should participate in the OneApp centralized enrollment system because having a single entry point to the city’s decentralized system of schools is vital for families.

Op Ed: Why Delay the Student Count?
Times-Picayune – October 4, 2012
Erika McConduit of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans says adjusting the student count only twice a year results in schools trying to manage or manipulate their enrollment to increase revenue. She believes advances in technology and a centralized enrollment system should allow the Department of Education to monitor enrollment in real time and make more regular adjustments to school funding.

14,000: A Commentary by Dr. Andre M. Perry
New Orleans Agenda – October 8, 2012
Andre Perry shares a story of how a young, African American boy that Perry might of helped slipped through the cracks and recently died of gun violence. Perry has now committed himself to engaging the youth of New Orleans through programs like New Orleans Kids Partnership mentoring and tutoring, and he is encouraging all of us to do the same.