In the News – October 29, 2012

In this edition of In the News:

New Orleans in the Global Spotlight

Romney and Obama hail New Orleans’ charter schools as a model for America
The Guardian – October 26, 2012
Both President Obama and Governor Romney support the charter school movement. England’s The Guardian newspaper examines the impact of charters in New Orleans and the use of vouchers in Louisiana.

Critical School Board Elections Coming Up

Important elections
Gambit – October 16, 2012
Clancy DuBos says the Orleans Parish School Board elections are among the most important on the November 6 ballot. At stake are the future of charter schools and the return of our once-failing schools to local school board control. Read more about the OPSB candidates in the articles below.

Incumbent Lourdes Moran faces newcomer Leslie Ellison in race for Orleans Parish School Board District 4 seat

Incumbent Woody Koppel faces challenger Jason Coleman in 6th District Orleans Parish School Board race

The Lens talks with candidates from School Board districts 4 & 7

Gambit Weekly’s School Board endorsements

Times-Picayune’s City Council and School Board recommendations

Mayor Mitch Landrieu endorses Usdin, Koppel and Marshall for School Board

Citywide Gains in School Performance

Educate Now! reported on the release of School Performance scores last week. See the articles below for further coverage of the results.

Overall, New Orleans public schools see gains in performance scores
Times-Picayune – October 22, 2012

Recovery School District students make incredible gains in New Orleans
Louisiana Department of Education – October 23, 2012

Local school reforms working – Clancy DuBos
Gambit – October 26, 2012

Louisiana high schools, having boosted grades, are in for a tougher climb
Times-Picayune – October 25, 2012

Harder final exams planned
The Advocate – October 25, 2012 

Returning Schools to OPSB

In all, 13 New Orleans public schools clear bar for return to local control
Times-Picayune – October 26, 2012
Thirteen public charter schools in New Orleans now get to decide whether they want to stay in the Recovery School District or return to the Orleans Parish School Board. School Board elections on November 6 could impact these decisions.

Charter school association lays out terms of returning to OPSB
The Lens – October 19, 2012
The Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools has drafted a petition to the Orleans Parish School Board asking that certain conditions be met before charter schools return to OPSB control. Their terms include a focus on school choice for parents, continued autonomy for charters, increased accountability and transparency for all schools, and equity in enrollment, funding and facilities for all students.

Louisiana Headlines

School Board term limits on Nov. 6 ballot
The Advocate – October 15, 2012
On November 6, voters (including Orleans Parish residents) will decide whether to limit local school board members to 12 consecutive years of service (three consecutive, four-year terms). In districts where the measure is approved, the new rules will go into effect in 2014. Note: Jefferson Parish already has 12-year term limits and will not vote on the measure.

What will the education market produce in Louisiana?
Education Week – October 25, 2012
The writer of this EdWeek blog is opposed to the free-market approach to education and believes the philosophy of school choice has been bad for Louisiana and will be bad for the country. Editor’s note: The writer alleges that charters have led to the re-segregation of public schools; however, New Orleans public schools are more diverse now than they were before Katrina.

BESE OKs new rules for aid
The Advocate – October 18, 2012
BESE has agreed on new rules for nonpublic school approval. Nonpublic schools can qualify for five-year approval if they are accredited annually by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools or the National Association of Independent Schools. Schools accredited by other groups can qualify for one-year approval if they submit their accreditation to BESE for review and approval. Schools that choose not to qualify through outside accreditation can go through BESE’s new, more rigorous online approval process.

Colleges withstand stricter admission standards
The Advocate – October 19, 2012
A new state policy prevents public colleges and universities from offering remedial courses to incoming freshmen. So far, the tougher admission standards have not led to the dramatic decline in enrollment that some expected.

Louisiana IDs 72 potential providers of school courses
Town Talk – October 25, 2012
The Louisiana Department of Education released a list of 72 potential Course Choice providers, ranging from state colleges and universities, to business and industry groups, to online educators. Louisiana’s Course Choice allows high school students to shop around for publicly funded courses beyond their school. The providers will have to go through an additional review process before they are allowed to enroll students.

National Stories

2 Americans, including visiting professor at Stanford, win Nobel economics prize
San Jose Mercury News – October 15, 2012
The Nobel Prize in economics this year was given to two researchers who use complex mathematical algorithms to better organize and process people’s preferences. Their research was used in New Orleans by the organization that helped develop our OneApp centralized enrollment system.

“No Excuses” charter schools: Heed your critics
Education Gadfly – October 11, 2012
“No excuses” charter schools have made important strides, but they haven’t reached their goal of making every student college and career ready. This author believes charters can’t be afraid to listen to their critics. They could learn a lot from critics like Carol Burris about how to prepare for the more rigorous Common Core Standards and how to bring all students to college and career readiness.

College persistence linked to rigorous courses and academic advising
Education Week – October 12, 2012
New research suggests that, regardless of socioeconomic background, three factors impact a student’s ability to succeed in college: high-level mathematics in high school (above Algebra II), more AP and IB courses in high school, and a good academic advisor in college.

Coalition advances definition of career readiness
Education Week – October 18, 2012
The Career Readiness Partner Council, which is made up of business and education groups, has published What it Means to be Career Ready. This four-page statement attempts to define what skills are necessary for young people to be ready for good jobs: proficiency in core academic subjects; technical skills associated with specific career fields or pathways; and access to internships or service learning programs to apply these skills alongside experienced professionals.

Common core drives interest in open education resources
Education Week – October 15, 2012
The adoption of common-core standards by nearly every state has increased demand for open educational resources – free, openly-licensed materials that include courses, course materials, and content modules.

Local News

Expulsions “fair and productive”
The Advocate – October 23, 2012
Almost every public school in New Orleans (charter and direct-run) started using a centralized expulsion process this year. The process appears to be working smoothly, and at least one school leader called it “fair and productive.”

Teach For America sparks emotional debate at state school board
Times-Picayune – October 16, 2012
Debate at a recent BESE meeting grew heated over renewing the state’s $1 million contract with Teach For America to recruit and train teachers statewide. Teachers’ unions say that TFA’s 5 weeks of training is insufficient, but TFA points to statistics showing its corps members move test scores among their students more quickly than other first-year teachers and sometimes as quickly as veteran educators.

School music programs, marching bands staging post-Katrina comeback
The Lens – October 24, 2012
The number of school music programs and marching bands is on the rise in New Orleans. The road hasn’t been easy, but many schools are committed to their music programs, and nonprofits such as Young Audiences and the Jazz and Heritage Foundation are providing local support.


The Summer Principals Academy (SPA) at Teachers College, Columbia University is offering its program here in New Orleans. SPA is a graduate program for K-12 educators interested in becoming school leaders. Participants attend courses at Tulane University over two consecutive summers and undertake site-based research projects and internships at their schools of employment during the intervening year. SPA is now accepting applications for June 2013. For more information or to apply, visit SPA’s website.