ICYMI: Election Results and Education Reform

Election Results and Education Reform
John Bel Edwards will be Louisiana’s next governor. Despite his assurances, many education advocates are worried charter schools will be in jeopardy.
Two BESE elections were also decided Saturday. Kathy Edmonston won District 6 (Baton Rouge area), replacing Chas Roemer, and Tony Davis won District 4 (Shreveport area). While John Bel Edwards stated again today his intention to replace Superintendent John White, it is unlikely he can do so. With the election of Tony Davis, John White has the support of 7 BESE members, and it would take 8 of the 11 members to replace him.

John Bel Edwards has been a vocal critic of Common Core, but uprooting the academic standards from classrooms will be a huge challenge with the recent compromise bill passed by the Legislature.
John Brown Sr. won the runoff election for OPSB’s 1st District seat. Unlike his predecessor Ira Thomas, who resigned after being indicted for taking a bribe, Brown brings a calm, measured demeanor to the table.

National Stories

House and Senate negotiators have reached a preliminary agreement on the long-stalled rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind). Education Week lists some highlights of the new bill, including a requirement that states intervene in their lowest-performing 5% of schools, in any school where one or more student subgroups are underperforming, and in any high school where fewer than two-thirds of students graduate.

The Obama administration says it will extend Pell Grants to low-income high school students who want to take college courses through a dual enrollment program.

PARCC is unbundling its assessments, which means states have more freedom to customize the tests and choose their own vendor for administering them.
Results in California show that dual language programs are what works best for English language learners.

Hillary Clinton criticized charter schools, saying most charters don’t keep the hardest to teach kids, but an analysis by FactCheck.org concluded her claim isn’t supported by the evidence.

A Colorado tip line for kids to anonymously report threats, violence and other potentially dangerous situations is used a lot, and it works.

Virtual charter schools perform significantly worse than traditional schools according to a recent CREDO study.

A math problem went viral when a teacher marked 5 x 3 = 5 + 5 + 5 as wrong, but it turns out the student was learning the difference between Equals and Equivalency.  
Closer to Home

The three panels reviewing Louisiana’s Common Core benchmarks released their initial recommendations, which include fewer standards for math and simplified writing guidelines.

The Hechinger Report profiles Sharon Clark, the veteran principal of Sophie B. Wright Charter School.

OPSB voted to keep the property tax rate steady at 45.31 mills for next year. They will dedicate an estimated 1.4 mills to the city’s first-ever school building maintenance fund.

In a new report, the Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) commends OPSB for improving its financial stewardship by taking steps to preserve the bulk of its $45 million operating reserve for the benefit of the system as a whole.

Public school enrollment for 2016-17 is now open. Parents looking for a new school for their children can fill out the OneApp through the EnrollNola website. Six schools with admissions criteria have an early application deadline of December 18. All other applications are due February 26.

McDonogh 35’s middle school (also know as McDonogh 35 Academy) will close at the end of 2017.

Preliminary numbers show student enrollment in New Orleans remained flat for the first time since Katrina. More students are entering high school but fewer students are entering elementary school. OPSB’s share of enrollment increased to 39% with several new OPSB schools, the return of Martin Luther King Charter to OPSB control, and RSD’s selection of Inspire NOLA, an OPSB charter, to operate Andrew Wilson.

Danielle Dreilinger looks at the state of the RSD ten years after it was authorized to takeover all but 13 of 126 public schools in New Orleans.


Middle school teachers: Propeller and IDIYA, in partnership with Capital One Bank, are offering a no-cost 16-week makerspace training program. Sessions will take place on Saturday mornings from 10:00 am – 12:30 pm January 9-May 7, 2016. Apply Online to reserve your spot. The deadline to apply is November 23, 2015 at 5:00 pm (CST).