ICYMI: Catching Up After Catching Beads

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

State Budget Deficit

There is now a projected budget deficit of $870 million for this fiscal year (which ends June 30). Gov. John Bel Edwards is proposing more taxes, and he has vowed to protect school funding; Republicans want to use cuts to cover as much of the deficit as possible. Louisiana’s constitution would allow the MFP to be cut 1% this fiscal year. Stay tuned.

Local Headlines

After Landry-Walker’s amazing increase in its 2013-14 test scores, the Algiers Charter School Association (ACSA) conducted a 16-month internal investigation of Landry-Walker and found substantial evidence that staff violated testing procedures. In 2015, after implementing extremely strict testing protocols, Landry-Walker’s test scores fell significantly. The Department of Education also flagged the results in November of 2014, asking the state inspector general’s office to conduct an official investigation.

In June, ReNEW Schools notified the state of potential violations at SciTech Academy. The state recentlycompleted its investigation of SciTech and found staff inflated the level of special education services required by some students to secure more MFP funding, while at the same time failing to provide the required services that many students did need. Teachers were also instructed to look at the PARCC questions after administering the exams, which is in violation of state polices. The board has begun implementing a corrective action plan that includes providing the required the special education services, hiring an external special education monitor, and requiring test monitoring. The two school leaders resigned last spring.

Twelve of the 33 RSD schools eligible to return to OPSB have voted on the issue, and so far none have voted to return.

Several state officials joined members of OPSB in support of an additional school in the Lower 9th Ward. Currently the only school in the area is Dr. Martin Luther King Charter, which has a waiting list of over 500 students.

Louisiana News

The next phase in Louisiana’s Common Core Compromise has begun. BESE is reviewing recommended changes to the math and English standards and will vote on them in March. The public will be able to comment on the revisions again before they go to the House and Senate Education Committees.

RSD Superintendent Patrick Dobard wrote an op-ed on behalf of 14 black Louisiana schools superintendents who educate 40% of Louisiana’s black students. Supt. Dobard calls on Gov. John Bel Edwards, BESE, and legislators to focus intently on improving educational outcomes for black students.

The recent contentious LHSAA debate over different classes for select and nonselect (including private) schools has led some schools to consider forming a new organization.

BASIS charter schools, a national network of academically challenging, open-admissions schools, is looking to open five new charters in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

National Stories

Students who took the 2014-15 PARCC exams on computer tended to score lower than those who took the tests on paper.

The Walton Family Foundation is rethinking its support of online learning after three studies funded by the foundation (CREDO, Mathematica and CRPE) found most online charters have a negative impact on academic achievement.

Mike Petrilli of the Fordham Institute describes the three tribes of the school choice debate: Choice Purists, Choice Nannies, and Choice Realists.

A report from Complete College America finds students who need remediation in college achieve better outcomes if they are enrolled in introductory English and math courses that are paired with additional resources.


The Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) is accepting nominations for its 2016 Excellence in Government Awards. If you know a creative, dedicated public employee who deserves recognition or a citizen who has worked to significantly improve local government, you can nominate them using this form. The deadline for nominations is March 2, 2016.