In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) … Your mini news clippings
Budget Impacts Education
The state budget proposal approved by the House has a $72 million shortfall in TOPS Scholarship funding. The Senate is now considering the proposed budget and discussing two possible ways to handle the shortfall. One is to increase the minimum ACT score for TOPS, reducing the number of awards by about 13,000, and the second is to keep the minimum ACT score the same but reduce all scholarship amounts by about 25 percent.
The money in the proposed state budget for vouchers may not be enough to fund the program. Editor’s note: Returning voucher students will likely have the first priority. If there isn’t enough funding for new students, it could increase kindergarten enrollment in New Orleans public schools.
School Choice Updates
Slightly more than half of New Orleans students got their first choice of public school in the main round of the city’s common enrollment process, and 77 percent received one of their top three choices. TheEnrollNOLA report shows 91 percent of applicants who listed three or more schools in their neighborhood were matched with a school in their zone. More than half of the applicants listed a school outside of their neighborhood zone as their first choice. The top OneApp schools were Warren Easton High School and Ben Franklin Elementary.
New Orleans students switched schools less often after Katrina than they did before the storm, according to a new report from Tulane’s Education Research Alliance, dispelling the concern that school choice would lead to higher rates of student mobility.
Lusher Teachers Vote Against Union
Teachers at Lusher Charter voted 77-54 against the teachers union, which wanted to represent them for collective bargaining. Only time will tell if Lusher’s union vote will prove to be the exception or the rule for New Orleans charters. International High School’s faculty and staff will vote Friday on whether to be represented by a union in collectively bargaining a contract.
Return of Schools Becomes a Reality
New Orleans is poised for another first: to become the first almost-all-charter district governed by a traditional, locally elected school board. Gov. John Bel Edwards approved legislation that will return all RSD schools to OBSB by 7/1/2018 at the earliest or 7/1/2019 at the latest. For more, read these articles in the New York Times, Education Week, Education Next, and the Times-Picayune.
YouthForce NOLA Launches Career Readiness Initiative
YouthForce NOLA (YFN) is launching a new career readiness initiative to connect students to high-wage, high-skill, high-demand fields. With $9 million in funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, JPMorgan Chase, and other partners, YFN aims to help students earn credentials qualifying them for good jobs and to place students in paid internships to provide work experience. The Times-Picayune says New Orleans has good jobs if graduates can get the right training. For more, read this article on Bloomberg.com or visit YouthForce NOLA on Educate Now!’s website. Editor’s note: Educate Now! also thanks Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the city, which committed $1.5 million to help fund student internships over the next 5 years.
The U.S. Education Department, teachers unions, and Teach For America agree teacher diversity is critical not only for schools but for the country. Almost 50 percent of public school students are non-white, compared to only 18 percent of public school teachers.
A new study found it’a tough job market for the young without post-secondary education. Thirty-three percent of young high school graduates are unemployed or underemployed.
UnboundEd will host a website of free Common Core materials and provide paid in-person educator trainings.
A study at West Point found students who used laptops in class performed worse on exams than students who didn’t, and the smartest students were harmed the most. The authors suspect multi-tasking may be the culprit.
In Other News
Students, educators, elected leaders, and families celebrated the class of 2016 at the third annual New Orleans Senior Shout Out. Over 2200 graduating seniors have been accepted to over 315 colleges and universities throughout the world and have earned nearly $80 million in scholarship funding.
OPSB responded to the Lusher and Lake Forest lawsuit over the new school funding formula by filing a motion to dismiss, arguing state court, not federal, is the proper venue for the case.
Jefferson Parish public schools are now one quarter Hispanic.
Liz Marcell and her colleagues have developed the Therapeutic Day Program, a small school in the Faubourg Marigny serving students with the most severe behavioral health disabilities.
NSNO announced the winners of the 2016 New Orleans Excellence in Teaching Awards. Congratulations to Tamara Durant of KIPP Renaissance, Brittany Smith of Edward Hynes, Sylvia Crier of McDonogh 35, Hanna Bunis of Akili Academy, Lytana Wilbon of James Singleton, Charles Harrison of Warren Easton, Kristi Walton of Langston Hughes, Nicole Mayeux of Cohen College Prep, and Gregory Sextion of Samuel Green.