In the News: November 19, 2012

In this edition of In the News:

Fiscal Cliff: An Education Cheat Sheet

Fiscal Cliff Cheat Sheet: 10 Frequently Asked Questions
Education Week – November 13, 2012
This handy cheat sheet from Education Week answers key questions about the upcoming fiscal cliff and how education spending will be affected if Congress can’t come to an agreement by January 2, 2013.

New Orleans #1 for Travel & Leisure

America’s Best Cities
Travel & Leisure – November 2012
New Orleans was named #1 in the Travel & Leisure survey of “America’s Best Cities.” New Orleans scored in the top five in more than half of the survey’s categories, including fine dining, architecture, antiques, music scene and people-watching.

Update on Centralized Enrollment

New Orleans School Officials Edge City Closer to a Single Enrollment System
Times-Picayune – November 15, 2012
The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) gave preliminary approval to folding all state-approved charter schools in New Orleans into the OneApp by the 2014-15 school year. This includes all RSD-New Orleans Schools as well as all BESE Type 2 charters. Meanwhile, the Orleans Parish School Board is considering policy language that would make any newly approved charter schools, any charter schools returning from the RSD, and any future charter renewals contingent on participating in a central enrollment system. Read more about enrollment changes in these articles from The Advocate and Times-Picayune.

National Education Stories

Charter Schools Grow Rapidly, Adding 200,000 Students: Report
Huffington Post – November 14, 2012
A new report shows that enrollment in public charter schools rose by more than 200,000 students in the 2011-2012 school year compared to the previous year. More than 2 million students – about 5% – are enrolled in charter schools nationwide. In New Orleans, Educate Now! estimates that 85% of New Orleans public school students attend charter schools this year, up from 78% in 2011.

One Man, One Computer, 10 Million Students: How Khan Academy Is Reinventing Education
Forbes – November 2, 2012
Metairie native Salman Khan is on the cover of Forbes Magazine for the creation of the world’s largest school, the Khan Academy. The Khan Academy is a nonprofit, online school that features 3,400 short instructional videos along with interactive quizzes and tools for teachers to chart student progress. The site is used by 6 million unique students each month, and the material (provided at no cost) is part of the curriculum in 20,000 classrooms around the world.

Research Traces Impacts of Childhood Adversity
Education Week – November 6, 2012
New research from several sources confirms that the stress of a dysfunctional or unstable home life can poison a child’s cognitive ability for a lifetime. Cognitive and neuroscientific evidence shows that “toxic stress” (severe, sustained stress not buffered by supportive relationships) weakens neural connections in areas like language development and self-control.

Teacher Absence as a Leading Indicator of Student Achievement
Center for American Progress – November 5, 2012
This report from the Center for American Progress uses recent, school-level data to examine issues of teacher absence. On average, 36% of teachers nationally were absent more than 10 days during 2009-10, and teachers in traditional schools were absent at a rate 15.2 percentage points higher than those in charter schools. Research shows that every 10 absences lowers average mathematics achievement the same as having a novice teacher instead of one with more experience.

Louisiana Headlines

FAQ About The ACT
EdConnect – November 15, 2012
This year, Louisiana is requiring all high school students to take the ACT, and 25% of a high school’s performance score will be based on student ACT scores. For more on the ACT, read this Frequently Asked Questions document from the Louisiana Department of Education.

Transitioning to Assessments Aligned with the Common Core State Standards
EdConnect – November 15, 2012
Louisiana has adopted the Common Core State Standards, which are more rigorous and require a higher level of work than Louisiana’s current state standards. In this document, the Louisiana Department of Education provides information on how the Common Core will change student assessments and how educators can begin to prepare.

Louisiana’s Educators Enter a New World with Evaluations and Their Consequences
Times-Picayune – November 17, 2012
Beginning this year, Louisiana’s teachers will be evaluated and ranked on an annual basis. Half of a teacher’s ranking will be based student test scores, and the other half will be based on classroom observations by principals and other administrators. Layoffs and pay increases in local districts must be based on these evaluations, not on seniority, and after the next academic year, teachers ranked “ineffective” for two years in a row will lose their jobs.

More Local News

Meeting on Extending Deadline for Governance Switch
The Lens – November 14, 2012
Thirteen RSD charter schools have improved enough that they are now eligible to return to the OPSB if they choose. Originally, the deadline for making this decision was December 1, but BESE has extended the deadline to January 7, since the School Performance Scores were only recently released.

Orleans Parish School Board Committee Approves One New Charter, Denies Another
Times-Picayune – November 15, 2012
The accountability committee of the Orleans Parish School Board recommended approval of Bricolage Academy charter school, which will focus on engineering and innovation. The committee recommended denying a charter to the Four Peas Group, saying its leadership team lacked experience and they failed to spell out how this arts school would actually teach the arts. Finally, the committee recommended changing Alice Harte Elementary and Edna Karr High School from Type 4 charters to Type 1 charters and transferring control from the Algiers School Charter Association to InspireNOLA. The full board is scheduled to approve the committee’s recommendations at its next meeting on November 20.

Educate Now! wishes you a very happy Thanksgiving.