ICYMI: Edwards names his 3 BESE appointees

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.”

Louisiana voucher school performance improved in 2015, although if the voucher schools were their own school system, they would be ranked fifth worst in the state. In New Orleans, four voucher schools (St. Katharine Drexel Preparatory School, St. Augustine Junior High, St. Paul Lutheran, and Light City Christian Academy) were sanctioned for poor performance and cannot take new students.

National Stories

In this Forbes opinion piece, Nicholas Wyman provides an excellent overview on why the “four-year college for everyone” mantra is failing many of our students and why schools need to bring back vocational education.

Teaching social and emotional skills to elementary students could help keep at-risk kids out of criminal trouble in the future, according to a Duke University study.

Local News

Stan Smith is retiring from New Orleans Public Schools later this year. He is the system’s chief financial officer and served for almost three years as its interim superintendent. OPSB is looking for a new CFO. The deadline to apply is January 15, 2016.

Louisiana’s attorney general says Lusher charter must disclose the name of its admissions test, although the contents of the exam may be kept private.

Children in New Orleans are generally in worse shape than their peers across Louisiana, according to the Data Center’s new Youth Index. Far more live in poverty, more die in infancy, and fewer have parents with jobs.

A new OPSB policy prohibits changing the name of any more public school buildings.

A Brown University report on state turnaround districts says the RSD “has not kept its promise to some of the country’s most disadvantaged students.” Neerav Kingsland says the university’s statement isn’t supported by the science, based on student performance, equity, accountability, and public opinion.

Thirty-three RSD charter schools are eligible to return to OPSB control, based on their 2015 School Performance Scores.

New Orleans Magazine looks at the struggle to desegregate New Orleans public schools, and Sybil Haydel Morial shares her memories from that time.