ICYMI: Update on Threat to Charter Funding

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

Update on Charter Funding

What a Friday! Earlier this month, the appeals court ruled that Type 2 charter schools are not public schools and cannot receive MFP funding and sent the case back to the district court.  On Friday, the district court complied with the appellate ruling and issued an injunction that immediately barred the impacted Type 2 charters from receiving funding, stopping MFP payments effective 1/25. The defendants went back to the appellate court, which Friday evening agreed to lift the injunction so these schools could keep receiving money, and their 16,000 students would not be forced to change schools mid-year. This ended the immediate threat to Type 2 charter school funding. The case is now being appealed to the state Supreme Court.

The Advocate believes Louisiana’s Supreme Court should agree to hear the charter school case because it’s important to protect charter school funding. They argue that a diversity of educational options is a good thing, and if only school boards can define what a public school is, then “local school boards would be able to reject their competitors without an appeal to BESE’s Type 2 process.”

Latest on Louisiana’s ESSA Plan

The Department of Education and BESE have a revised school accountability system to present to BESE in March. One hot topic has been school growth: How well are students improving? The Accountability Commission has been wrestling with how to measure growth and how much weight to give growth in the formula. At its last meeting, it unanimously recommended growth be measured using a two part process: 1) Are students on track to Mastery by 8th grade? and 2) Are students outperforming similar peers? The Superintendent’s message explains it in more detail. The Commission still needs to recommend how much weight will be given to growth. The department’s initial recommendation is to  increase growth to 25 percent weight in the calculation of a school performance score.  

Meanwhile, the alternative group appointed by Governor Edwards to make recommendations on Louisiana’s plan for ESSA (the Every Student Succeeds Act) continues to meet. They are making more sweeping recommendations, including a push to eliminate public school letter grades, major revisions in annual teacher evaluations, and fewer science tests. they 

National Stories

An analysis of the U.S. Department of Education’s School Improvement Grant program, which spent $7 billion trying to turn around failing schools, found no meaningful improvement in test scores, graduation rates, or college enrollment at failing schools that received grant funding compared those that didn’t. Over half the schools in the program chose “transformation,” the least intrusive option available to them. Three percent became charters. Editor’s note: These results show that turning around failing schools is very difficult. New Orleans’ success is an exception.  

The U.S. Department of Education withdrew a proposed Title I spending rule called “supplement not supplant.” GOP lawmakers had threatened to kill the rule, claiming federal overreach.

Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s nominee for U.S. Secretary of Education, had her confirmation hearing last week. FiveThirtyEight did a round up on what we did (and didn’t) learn about DeVos at her hearing, and the Washington Post highlighted some of her hearing’s more astonishing moments. Erika Sanzi of the Fordham Institute says we shouldn’t pre-judge Betsy DeVos. Given her likely confirmation as Education Secretary, Sanzi says it behooves all of us to get behind DeVos, support her when she’s right, and push back hard when she’s wrong.

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in a case that could alter educational benefits for students with disabilities. Justices will decide what outcome, if any, is guaranteed to students with disabilities under the law.

Students at elite colleges are even richer than experts realized, according to a new study based on millions of anonymous tax filings and tuition records. Thirty-eight colleges have more students from the top 1 percent than the bottom 60 percent. The study also tracked earnings after students left campus and found there are still many great working-class colleges and universities that push poorer students into the middle class and beyond.

In 2015, college graduates earned 56 percent more than high school graduates, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The number of employed college grads rose 21 percent since the recession began in December 2007, while the number of employed high school graduates dropped nearly 8 percent.

Other Louisiana Headlines

A recent study from the RAND Corporation praises the Louisiana Department of Education for leading the way nationally by creating a more coherent and effective system to support teachers and instruction aligned to state standards.  

Local News

According to Neerav Kingsland, New Orleans has seen some of the most dramatic student achievement gains in our country’s recent history while doing a bunch of things that you’re not supposed to do. For example, conventional wisdom says money is best spent in the classroom, but a new study from Tulane’s Education Research Alliance found that since Katrina, New Orleans schools are spending more on administrative costs and less on instructional costs, in comparison to other districts.

The seven members of the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) sworn in last week have been charged with a unique responsibility: to transition OPSB and RSD schools to a unified school district run by a locally-elected board.

PBS NewsHour featured arts-integration at ReNEW Schools and their efforts to use the arts to enhance lesson plans in many other subjects.

The Rex Organization’s charitable foundation awarded $1 million in grants to 63 New Orleans educational organizations. Since it was launched in 2007, Rex’s Pro Bono Publico Foundation has contributed $5.5 million to schools and educational organizations.


The Louisiana A+ Schools (LAA+) program is accepting applications for their arts-integrated school network for the 2017/2018 academic year. Interested schools must attend a Pre-Application Meeting to gain a clear understanding the LAA+ process and faculty commitment. To request a Pre-Application Meeting, schools must submit a Letter of Interest by February 6, 2017. Louisiana A+ Schools is a program of the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts.