In the News: A Clipping Service – August 30, 2010

In this edition of In the News:

  • New Orleans Schools in the National Spotlight
  • Vigil for Peace at N.O. College Prep on August 31st

New Orleans Schools in the National Spotlight
National coverage of the 5th anniversary of Katrina has included many stories about New Orleans public schools. We know we didn’t catch them all, but here is a sampling of the national news stories from the past week.

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Bold Gamble Transforming Schools

After Hurricane Katrina, state officials faced a choice: Take control of the schools in New Orleans or leave them in the care of the city’s notoriously troubled School Board.  A takeover was risky.  New Orleans Public Schools were among the worst in the nation. Most New Orleans legislators opposed state action. More daunting, any reasonable analysis would have put the state’s chance of success extremely low and of political embarrassment correspondingly high.  Nowhere else in the nation had a state department of education ever assumed direct responsibility for operating local schools.

Yet state leaders, led by Gov. Kathleen Blanco and then-Superintendent Cecil Picard, had the courage to take the gamble. With legislative blessing, they moved decisively to expand the state-run Recovery School District – initially created to handle just a handful of failing schools – to include all but 16 schools in the city.

Five years later, it’s clear that gamble has paid off in ways unimaginable even to the most ardent supporters of the takeover. Continue reading

New Orleans is an i3 Winner!

Yesterday, the Department of Education announced the winners of the highly competitive Investing in Innovation, or i3, grants. There were 49 winners from a pool of 1698 applicants nationwide. New Orleans own New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO) is a winner! And they will receive over $28 million to support school turnarounds in New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville.

The selection of NSNO out of thousands of applicants is a validation of New Orleans education reforms since Katrina. The federal government looked closely at the success we are having and the improvement in student achievement, and decided to invest significant funds to expand our work in other parts of the country.

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Returning Schools to the Orleans Parish School Board: It’s BESE’s Decision

Before the end of 2010, the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) will have to determine if New Orleans schools will stay in the Recovery School District (RSD) or be returned to the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB). Here is a brief review of the law governing BESE’s decision-making process and an outline of the steps involved.

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