In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) … Your mini news clippings
Will the State Freeze the MFP Again?
The MFP advisory committee has recommended the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) request a 1.375 percent increase in MFP funding ($35 million) for the 2017-18 school year, but Gov. John Bel Edwards is going to recommend legislators freeze basic aid to public schools for another year. Edwards might include an $18 million increase in his proposed budget for high-needs students and high school programs, but this targeted funding won’t give districts the income needed to offset the projected $38 million increase in payments to the Teacher Retirement System of Louisiana (TRSL).
Teachers Retirement Systems Penalize New Teachers
A new study on teacher retirement systems finds that for the majority of new teachers, what they will receive in retirement benefits will be worth less than what they contributed, even if they stay in the school system for decades. The study looks at the largest school district in each state. In 27 districts, teachers have to work 21-30 years in the system before they reach the “crossover point” where their benefits are worth more than their contributions. In 35 districts, three-fourths of teachers will leave the system before they reach the crossover point, and in 3 districts the wait is infinite – benefits will never be more than contributions. In Jefferson Parish, the crossover point is 29 years. The Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana (TRSL) requires a 12.3% contribution for current employees (employee + employer contribution). A large portion of this goes to fund benefits for retired teachers (the unfunded accrued liability). As mentioned above, TRSL costs are expected to go up by $38 million next year.
Other National Stories
Both Democrats and Republicans agree on the importance of career and technical education (CTE), opening the door for bipartisan cooperation on Capitol Hill. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) recently introduced the Jumpstart Our Businesses By Supporting Students (JOBS) Act, a bill that would help students access training for jobs that are unfilled due to a shortage of qualified workers.
A recent report finds that teachers are being rated effective even when student gains are low. The study looks at why adding student growth measures hasn’t had the expected impact on teacher evaluations, and it also offers suggestions for improving evaluations in the future.
Last 5 Traditional Schools Apply to Become Charters
The new ExCEED network filed a notice of intent to charter for Ben Franklin Elementary, Mary Bethune Elementary, Mahalia Jackson Elementary, McDonogh 35 College Prep, and Eleanor McMain Secondary under their current principals. Another charter network, InspireNOLA, also expressed an interest in chartering McDonogh 35 or McMain. The Superintendent will present his recommendations to OPSB in May, along with recommendations on the applications from eleven other nonprofits that want to open new charters in New Orleans.
More Local News
WWNO and the Hechinger Report highlight five New Orleans schools that are working to become “trauma-informed” so they can help troubled students instead of punishing them when they act out in the classroom. New Orleans children are dealing with a level of trauma many times greater than the national average, which has resulted in PTSD rates in the city’s youth that are nearly four times the national average. In one middle school, over half the students surveyed had someone close to them who had been murdered; almost 20 percent had personally witnessed a murder; and 40 percent had been exposed to domestic violence.
Employers in New Orleans can now offer K-12 school guidance to employees as a job benefit, like dental care or an IRA, thanks to a New Orleans startup called EdNavigator. EdNavigator is a nonprofit that provides low-income parents with advisers to help them navigate New Orleans’ system of schools and deal with school-related problems and decisions. EdNavigator currently works with 11 hotels in the city and just signed a contract with Tulane University.
The Urban League of Louisiana is hosting Schools Expo 2017, Saturday, February 4 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Mercedes Benz Superdome Field. The annual Schools Expo is a one-stop shop where parents can learn about all of their school options in New Orleans. This year’s Expo will include over 95 direct run, charter and private schools, over 40 childcare centers, and over 80 community organizations. This event is free and open to the public, but you can pre-register for easier venue access.