ICYMI: All-Charter District on Hold (for now)

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

Update on District-Run Schools

The New Orleans public school system is not going all-charter – at least not this year. Eleanor McMain will be chartered by InspireNOLA, but Ben Franklin Elementary, Mary Bethune, McDonogh 35, and Mahlia Jackson will continue to be run by the district through the 2017-18 school year.

Last week, Exceed charter group withdrew its charter application after outside consultants said its application fell short. OPSB approved InspireNOLA’s application to charter Eleanor McMain.  

The Superintendent recommended and an OPSB committee approved closing Mahalia Jackson Elementary at the end of the 2017-18 school year, but the full board deferred action on the final decision at its meeting last week.   

In the meantime, Rameisha Johnson of EdNavigator says school closures will always be disruptive, but they don’t have to be so traumatic. Johnson is encouraged that OPSB is already working to better inform and support families at Mahalia Jackson by providing information and guidance to families as they figure out what to do next. 
National Stories
New research from Tennessee and North Carolina finds Black students see major benefits from having a single Black teacher in elementary school. They are less likely to drop out of high school and more likely to aspire to college and take college entrance exams.

One charter leader says we need to change our approach to dual credit. His school in Gary, Indiana limits their high school offerings and redirects funding so students can take electives and career/certification classes at local colleges.

New York is the first state to offer free tuition at public four-year colleges and universities. Students will have to live and work in New York state for as many years as they received free tuition, or they’ll have to pay back their tuition as a loan.

Pro-charter Democrats are feeling pushed to distance themselves from President Trump and his Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos. In California, New York and New Jersey, teachers unions and others are attacking charter supporters for doing the administration’s ‘dirty work.’

Greg Richmond, president and CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, is worried about the future of charter schools. He says charter supporters are being divided by the increasingly angry debate over autonomy vs. accountability, but Richmond believes they are both important. “Charter schools without autonomy have no ability to innovate and excel,” he says, and “charter schools without accountability will simply become a parallel system of failing schools.”

Graduates from California’s community colleges more than doubled their pre-degree earnings after two years in the workforce and nearly triple those earnings after five years.

Data from several studies confirm it’s harder to move up the economic ladder in the South, even in cities where the economy is booming. The chance of a child moving from the bottom to top quartile in Atlanta is 4.5% and New Orleans is 5.1%, compared to 12.9% in San Jose and 10.8% in Salt Lake City. 
Louisiana Headlines
Two bills to be debated this session would make it harder to earn a TOPS scholarship. Both would increase the minimum GPA required for the basic TOPS Opportunity award from a 2.5 to a 3.0, but they would keep the criteria for other TOPS scholarships the same.
Local News
New Orleans schools are still segregated by race and income, according to a new study from Tulane’s Education Research Alliance. Flozell Daniels, Jr., who serves on the board of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, acknowledges that the report is an important reminder that segregation still exists, but he says improving student outcomes should be the priority right now.

Tulane’s Cowen Institute has released a comprehensive summary of school performance and accountability practices from across the U.S. and Europe. This report offers insight into some innovative and effective alternatives that might help improve public education in New Orleans and statewide.

Eighty percent of families who applied through EnrollNOLA, the city’s centralized enrollment system, were matched to a school they wanted for 2017-18. Once again, there was significant demand for a small number of schools. The most popular K-8 schools were Ben Franklin Elementary, Alice Harte Charter, and Mary Bethune Elementary. The most popular 9-12 schools were Warren Easton Charter, Edna Karr Charter, and Eleanor McMain. 

The New Orleans Data Center released The New Orleans Youth Index 2016 – a statistical snapshot of the well-being of New Orleans children and youth age 0 to 24. The index covers multiple topics, including demographics, economic stability, learning, and safety and justice. You can view the full report, download data, and request PowerPoint slides on the Data Center website.
The Orleans Parish School Board wants to know what you think about public schools. How satisfied are you with current schools? What should OPSB’s priorities be right now, and how you see OPSB’s role in our system? You can fill out the community survey online, access it by texting “NOLAEDSURVEY” to 41411, or pick up a copy at OPSB’s central office, RSD’s office, or Family Resource Centers. The survey will be available through April 28.