ICYMI – New Orleans Schools Have Dramatically Improved

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) … Your mini news clippings

The academic performance of New Orleans public schools and students has improved dramatically in the decade since Hurricane Katrina, according to the Cowen Institute’s 2015 State of Public Education in New Orleans (SPENO).

These gains were also highlighted at a recent three-day conference sponsored by Tulane University’s Education Research Alliance for New Orleans. Alliance Director Doug Harris presented his team’s research, which showed test score gains of eight to 13 percentile points among elementary and middle school students through 2012. Harris said it is “very rare to see movement like that.” Tulane researchers controlled for various factors that might affect scores, including the trauma of loss and displacement, the change in the city’s population, and the schools children attended while they were gone. Editor’s note: Gains of 8-13 points are dramatic and exceed the effect of pre-Kindergarten or smaller class sizes. Congratulations and thank you to all of the educators who made these gains possible.

After attending the Alliance’s conference, Rick Hess of Education Week says he believes New Orleans’ success is the product of many factors – circumstances, strengths, ingenuity, and persistence – a combination that won’t be easy to replicate.

RSD-New Orleans ranks second in the annual snapshot of portfolio school districts, receiving high marks for school choice, autonomy, funding, talent, support, and accountability, but lower marks for community engagement.

A comprehensive analysis of turnaround school districts includes a profile of Louisiana’s RSD as well as recommendations for any state considering an RSD of its own.

For more on turnaround school districts, you can watch a live webcast of Fordham Institute’sTurnaround Districts: Lessons from Louisiana, Tennessee, and Michigan, a panel discussion with the heads of the three recovery school districts. The discussion will be held Monday, June 29 at 3:00 pm CT, and you can access the live webcast that day by visiting the event page of Fordham’s website.

Charter Schools

Nina Rees, the president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools,answers questions about the charter school sector, including what lessons can be learned from New Orleans.

With the steady growth in charter schools across the country, Andrew Rotherham of Bellwether Education Partners says it’s time to shift the charter debate from simple pros and cons to focus on how to make charter growth successful with effective public oversight and policies that promote quality and equity.

The American Federation of Teachers and In the Public Interest issued a report criticizing The Walton Family Foundation’s support of the “unregulated” growth of charter schools. The report includes specific steps the charter school sector should take to improve transparency, accountability, equal opportunity, and stewardship of public funds.

In Other News

The Times-Picayune says it’s clear, Gov. Bobby Jindal abused his power on Common Core, especially after an appeals court determined his attempts to use state procurement laws to stop the purchase of Common Core test materials “were a mere pretext to cloak their true intent to influence education policy in Louisiana.”

Federal prosecutors have charged former BESE member Louella Givens, who represented the New Orleans area for two terms, with submitting millions of dollars in fraudulent Medicare claims through her home health care companies.