Number of Failing Schools Plummets

Every August, as part of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the state releases a preliminary list of failing schools because most will be required to offer parents the option to transfer their children to another school.

This year, only 9 New Orleans schools are failing. This low number is truly a cause for celebration and reflects the past 7 years of stellar growth.

To determine which schools must provide choice, the state calculates a preliminary School Performance Score (SPS). This year marks a new SPS system with changes in how the scores are calculated.

With a new system, it’s best to compare New Orleans performance to the state, since the system has changed for all schools across the state.

  • In 2013, New Orleans has 9 of 112 failing schools in Louisiana (8%).
  • In 2005, New Orleans had 66 out of 151 failing schools in Louisiana (44%).

See below for the list of failing schools.

We just need to repeat it: There were only 9 New Orleans schools on the list (and 4 of them are alternative schools).

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Good News About Cheating

The Lens recently reported on the number of test administration mistakes and instances of cheating found by the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) from 2010 to 2012 for public schools in New Orleans. This information was provided to The Lens by the LDOE.

Educate Now! is very encouraged by the results.

The fact that only 130 tests out of hundreds of thousands given in New Orleans over three years were voided – due to student cheating, adult cheating, or administrative errors – is very good news.
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2013 EOC Results – High School Gains Continue

The state has released the End-of-Course (EOC) exam results for 2012-2013.

The percent of students proficient (scoring Excellent or Good) increased – and at a faster rate than the state. 

From 2011-12 to 2012-13, looking at all tests combined:

  • RSD-New Orleans and OPSB each gained 7 percentage points.
  • The state gained 4 points.

Percent of Students Proficient
(Scoring Excellent or Good)

District 2011-2012  2012-2013  Gain
RSD-New Orleans 31% 38% 7
OPSB 61% 68% 7
Louisiana 55% 59% 4

View a comparison of gains by district.

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2013 Test Scores Are In, and We Rock! … Again!!

Student performance showed robust improvement for the 6th consecutive year.

  • New Orleans (OPSB & RSD) is #1 in growth, gaining 5 points in the percentage of students meeting the state proficiency goal of Basic or above.
  • This growth was fueled by RSD-New Orleans, with its 6 point gain.
  • OPSB grew 1 point, equal to the state average.
  • Students improved across all grades and subjects.

Close to 80% of Students Graduating on Time!

The state has released the four-year cohort graduation rates for 2012, and the news is good for New Orleans.

The combined graduation rate for all New Orleans public schools rose to 77.8%.

Four-Year Cohort Graduation Rate by District
New Orleans = OPSB, RSD, charter and traditional schools

  • The New Orleans graduation rate of 77.8% compares well to the rest of the country. According to the U.S. Department of Education report released in November, in 2011 the national average graduation rate for African American students was 60%, and the national average for white students was 76%.
    • In New Orleans, public school enrollment is 88% African American, 6% white and 6% other.
  • New Orleans outperformed the state of Louisiana (72.3%).
  • New Orleans also outperformed Shreveport (63.4%) Baton Rouge (66%) and Jefferson Parish (70.4%).
  • RSD-New Orleans is among the most-improved districts, going from a graduation rate of 58.8% in 2011 to 67.7% in 2012.
  • RSD-New Orleans ranks #49, outperforming Baton Rouge and Shreveport. The RSD took over the worst performing high schools in the state. This progress in just a few years is remarkable.
  • OPSB has the highest graduation rate in the state, although it dropped from 93.8% in 2011 to 89.3% in 2012.

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In the News: April 8, 2013

In this edition of In the News:

Common Core is Coming  

Louisiana overhauling teaching goals, standardized tests in effort to raise the bar for students
Times-Picayune – March 22, 2013
This article gives a good overview of the major changes coming as Louisiana raises the education bar again, implementing the new, national set of education standards called the Common Core. To help students meet the new goals, textbooks must be ordered, computers upgraded, lesson plans updated, and new tests developed. Louisiana has joined 22 states in using the PARCC tests for English and math, which will be much more rigorous than the current LEAP tests. The tests won’t go into effect until late 2014, but teachers will start teaching to the new standards this fall. Educators are encouraged to look at the PARCC sample items and prototypes to help them prepare.

Editor’s note: New York and Georgia are ahead of Louisiana in developing their new curricula, and both states are offering all of their materials for free online. Visit or for more information.
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Game Changer! N.O. High School Grad Rate Outperforms US

With the recent release by the U.S. Department of Education of national high school completion rates, New Orleans has cause to celebrate.  In terms of graduating students on time, we have closed the performance gap.

New Orleans outperformed the state and outperformed the nation. 

States are now required to use a common measurement for high school completion:  the percent of first time 9th graders who graduate within 4 years with a regular diploma (the 4-year cohort graduation rate1). The data on the graduating class of 2011 shows that nationally 76% of white students and 60% of black students graduated on time.

In New Orleans, 76.5% of our students graduated on time2

  • Outperforming the national average for white students
  • Outperforming the national average for black students by 16.5 percentage points
  • Outperforming the state of Louisiana (70.9%)
  • Outperforming Jefferson Parish (67%), Baton Rouge (62.3%) and Shreveport (61.5%)

New Orleans had 2,051 high school graduates in 2011, 443 more than if we were at the national average for black students, and 657 more than if we were still at New Orleans’ 2005 graduation rate.

This improvement is a game changer for our students and our city. 

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2012 School Performance Scores Released

Major improvement in New Orleans’ Ranking
#1 in growth since 2005

  • Since 2005, the District Performance Score (DPS) for New Orleans has grown an astonishing 36.8 points, more than any other district in the state.
  • For the first time, New Orleans has a higher DPS than both East Baton Rouge and Caddo (Shreveport) Parishes.
  • New Orleans has closed the gap with the state average by 70%. In 2005, New Orleans was over 30 points behind the state. In 2012, New Orleans is only 9.1 points behind the state.

District Performance Scores for the
Four Largest Districts in Louisiana

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Gap Closing Continues

TOPS Scholarships and ACT Scores on the Rise

Educate Now! has reviewed the 2012 TOPS data, and the percent of public school graduates eligible for TOPS scholarships in Orleans Parish is now higher than in Jefferson and East Baton Rouge parishes.

  • In 2012, 38.8% of Orleans Parish public school graduates were eligible for TOPS scholarships (two- or four-year).
  • 36.6% of East Baton Rouge graduates and 38.4% of Jefferson graduates were eligible.

New Orleans continues to close the gap with the state average.

  • Since 2005, the percent of Orleans Parish graduates eligible for TOPS has grown 13.9 percentage points, from 24.9% in 2005 to 38.8% in 2012.
  • During this same time, the state average grew only 5.3 percentage points, from 37.3% in 2005 to 42.6% in 2012.

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