Monday, January 23, 2012

Legislative Update 1-23| New State and RSD Superintendents

The Cowen Institute is pleased to share the latest in K-12 education policy at the local, state and federal levels. Don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Help us continue our work. Click here to give to the Cowen Institute.

New State and RSD Superintendents

At a special called meeting on January 11th, the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) appointed John White to be the State Superintendent of Education. White's salary of $275,000 was approved by the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget on Friday. Previously, White served as the Superintendent of the Recovery School District (RSD), a position he began in May 2011. The press release from the Louisiana Department of Education includes more information.

After White's appointment as State Superintendent of Education, he announced his recommendation that Patrick Dobard succeed him as Superintendent of the RSD. BESE approved White's recommendation on January 18th. Previously, Dobard served as Deputy Superintendent of Community and Policy of the RSD under White. Dobard has expressed his commitment to continuing White's agenda. Dobard is a native of New Orleans and has worked at the Louisiana Department of Education (LDE) since 2001. The press release from the LDE includes more information.

Click here for coverage of the appointments in the Times-Picayune.

back to top

Jindal’s Education Reform Plans

On Tuesday, Govenor Jindal provided more details about his education reform plans in a speech given at a conference for the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. The Govenor provides the reform plans from his speech here. Of his many reform ideas, his plans to expand vouchers and to overhaul teacher tenure have received much attention. Details as to how Jindal's reform policies would work are yet to be made available.

Click here for coverage in the Times-Picayune.

back to top

Changes to BESE Policy

On Wednesday, the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted to provisionally approve two Type 2 charter applications. The Louisiana Department of Education previously recommended that the Tangipahoa Charter School Association and the Delta Charter Group applications be denied based on the National Association of Charter School Authorizer's (NACSA) recommendations. This is the first time BESE has provisionally approved a charter school and the first time the Board has approved a charter school that did not receive a NACSA recommendation. State Superintendent John White recommended that the Board approve the applications contingent upon each school finding a highly qualified school leader. Superintendent White stated that a highly qualified school leader would resolve the deficiencies in the applications and that parents and students deserve more options in the Ferriday area where most schools recieved a "D" grade . This was item 2.5 of the January 17th School Innovation and Turnaround Committee meeting, found here.

BESE also voted to change the way students qualify for at-risk status for purposes of the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP), which is the formula used to determine the amount of state education funding distributed to school districts. The MFP distributes money based on student counts and applies multipliers to students who cost more to serve. Previously, only students who received free or reduced priced lunch under the free or reduced priced lunch program (FRL) were given at-risk status under the MFP and were counted as 1.2 students. Now, all students who qualify for FRL will be counted as 1.2 students. The change was made to accommodate virtual schools that do not serve lunch, but have full-time students that qualify for FRL. This was item 10.1 of the January 17th Administration and Finance Committee meeting, found here.

back to top

BESE Notices of Intent

At Tuesday's Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) committee meetings two items were on the agenda as notices of intent.

The first, item 5.1 of the School Innovation and Turnaround Committee agenda, was a consideration of changes to BESE Bulletin 111 and 129 (found here) to ensure no student attending a failing school that is being closed or transformed is assigned to another failing school, unless the district enters into a memorandum of understanding with the Louisiana Department of Education (LDE). The item reflects issues raised by a Cowen Institute blog on school closures and transformations . More information on the agenda item can be found here.

The second, item 5.2 of the same committee agenda, was a consideration of changes to BESE Bulletin 111 and 129 (found here) to clarify the process and procedures for schools eligible to return from the Recovery School District to their previous governing authority. One of the many proposed changes allows schools to elect to return any year that they are eligible. The clarifications reflect issues discussed in the Cowen Institute's analysis of the return policy. Consideration of this item and others related to the return policy are expected at the BESE meeting in March. Click here for a Times-Picayune article on the return of schools from the RSD to the Orleans Parish School Board.

back to top

i3 Money Awarded to Three Charter Operators

Three charter school operators were awarded grants from the Investing in Innovation fund (i3). The three grantees are Friends of King, Future is Now and Rite of Passage. In December, each grantee was approved to open a Type 5 charter school in the Recovery School District (RSD). The i3 money is intended to help the operators start their new schools. The grants were awarded jointly by New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO) and the RSD, who were awarded the money from the U.S. Department of Education and private donors.

Click here for coverage in the Times-Picayune, including more information about the schools the i3 money will go to.

back to top

Louisiana Gets a “C+” in Education

Education Week recently released its Quality Counts report, which grades state education systems based on a variety of indicators. The report ranks Louisiana 23rd in the nation with a “C+” overall. Louisiana received an “A” in accountability and an “F” in achievement. Last year’s Quality Counts report gave Louisiana the same grade overall and the same grades in accountability and achievement. The report uses National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) data to assign achievement grades to states.

Click here for coverage in New Orleans City Business.

back to top

You're receiving this newsletter because you subscribed to the Cowen Institute's e-Newsletter.

Having trouble reading this email? View it in your browser. Not interested anymore? Unsubscribe.

college readiness programs university-based initiatives public policy applied research