ICYMI: Web of Support

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

Web of Support

A program called Thread is getting results that defy expectations. Thread connects struggling high school students in Baltimore with a team of up to five volunteers who commit to support them in any way necessary – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for 10 years. The results are impressive: 92% of students in Thread for five years graduated from high school (the city average is 72%); 90% were accepted into college; and of those who attended college, 80% completed a two- or four-year college certification program. Editor’s note: It would be really exciting to have a program like this in NOLA. Any volunteers?

Louisiana Headlines

Gov. John Bel Edwards issued his legislative agenda for the Regular Legislative Session. It includes proposals to stem the growth of charter schools in A and B-rated districts and reduce the value-added component in teacher evaluations.

State Supt. John White is worried about future funding for Louisiana’s public schools. Although state aid to public schools wasn’t cut during the Special Session, it could still be on the chopping block for next year. The Legislature did cut close to $4 million from the Department of Education’s 2015-16 budget (ending June 30, 2016), and White says he’s concerned additional cuts to the department’s 2016-17 budget could result in significant layoffs and affect essential services.

Lawmakers have filed 16 proposals for containing the cost of TOPS next year. Changes include: capping scholarship amounts so they don’t automatically go up as tuition increases; requiring a higher ACT score and/or GPA to qualify; and requiring students to pay back the money if they lose TOPS for not meeting academic requirements.

Louisiana public schools saw a 31% increase in the number of invalidated standardized tests last year. Thirty-four schools in Jefferson Parish and forty in Orleans had tests that were voided for reasons that included administrative errors, plagiarism, and excessive erasures. When an exam is thrown out, the school receives a zero for that student toward its school performance score.

More Local Stories

A lot has changed in the 12 years since the failing Pierre Capdau Middle School was transferred to the RSD. Now Capdau, along with four other RSD charters, are poised to return to local OPSB control. A few sticking points remain, including the student funding formula, which is still uncertain, and property insurance rates, which are higher under OPSB than RSD. Andre Perry says these five schools have taken an important step toward finding solutions by asking, “How should schools return?” instead of “Why should schools return?”