In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) … Your mini news clippings
Looking for Everyday Heroes
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune is profiling everyday heroes who fill the New Orleans area with hope. If you know someone who is trying to create a better future for metro New Orleans – one school, one church, one neighborhood, one cause at a time – nominate them using this online form, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by sending a letter to Future of New Orleans, c/o NOLA Media Group, One Canal Place, 365 Canal Street, Suite 3100, New Orleans LA 70130.
Time to Talk about Career-Tech
Shane Haggerty of the Tolles Career & Technical Center says it’s time we talk about career-tech. The emphasis on a traditional four-year college pathway has led to a disconnect between education and opportunity, and too many college graduates are struggling financially because they were never given all the educational pathway options in high school.
In Louisiana, four students who are pursuing the state’s revamped career education path say the courses are making a difference and changing lives.
Three New BESE Members Appointed
Governor-elect John Bel Edwards has chosen his three appointees to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education: Doris Voitier, superintendent of St. Bernard Parish schools; Thomas Roque, superintendent of the Diocese of Alexandria; and Lurie Thomason, assistant professor in the Criminal Justice Department at Grambling State University. While Governor-elect Edwards may have wanted a new state superintendent, he does not have the votes to replace John White, and his three BESE appointees said in an interview they would be “open” to working with White.
Many people are wondering if Edwards plans to rollback public school reforms, with others noting that New Orleans is both the biggest democratic stronghold in the state and a strong supporter of charter schools.
Other Louisiana Headlines
A new report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shows Black students both nationally and in Louisianacontinue to rank behind their peers on education tests and notes that “African-American students are disproportionately impacted by the shortcomings in our education system.”
Looking Back: 2015
2015 was a pivotal year for public education in New Orleans. In retrospect, it will mark a turning point in creating a more united system of public schools and blurring the difference between OPSB and RSD schools in New Orleans.
Unifying our system of schools
In 2015, OPSB and the state addressed some core issues that had created schisms. Resolving these issues will create a more stable, equitable, and shared foundation for the city’s system of schools going forward.
OPSB turns a new page
In January 2015, Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) finally selected a superintendent, Dr. Henderson Lewis. In March, Ira Thomas resigned from OPSB and subsequently pled guilty to taking bribes. With Thomas’ departure and a new superintendent, the OPSB quit fighting and supported Dr. Lewis’ efforts to reorganize its central office to better oversee a system of autonomous charter schools.
OPSB adopts key policies
- OneApp and Transportation: OPSB passed policy HA, which created clear and consistent policies for all OPSB charters, including the requirement that all OPSB charters participate in OneApp (as their charters renew) and provide transportation.
- Fund balance (reserves): OPSB made another, equally important policy change that received a lot less attention. It limited how it can spend its fund balance going forward, restricting more than 90% of the current fund balance ($45 million+) to emergencies and other “unforeseen, exceptional circumstances” and for the needs of the system as a whole (all public schools in Orleans Parish).