This spring, families who applied to New Orleans public schools got some bad news. School placements were announced a week late. Why was that such a big deal? Many private school deposits were due. Families had to decide: pay up to reserve a seat or take a chance with the public charter school lottery, OneApp. More New Orleans families - those with enough resources - find themselves choosing between public and private education.

Jeneane Watson always assumed she’d send her kids to public school. That was the norm where she grew up, outside Baltimore.

Volunteers help a group of children on a field trip make prints of local fish at the Northlake Nature Center.
Tegan Wendland / WWNO

With thousands of acres of wildlife refuges along Lake Pontchartrain and the Bogue Chitto River, the Northshore is known for its natural beauty.

The volunteers at one small park near Mandeville are working to provide opportunities for people to get involved and develop a deeper understanding of the local ecosystem. At the Northlake Nature Center, that appreciation begins with children.

Laurence Copel founded the Lower 9th Ward’s free library and currently operates the city’s only functional book mobile. According to a 2015 report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 77 percent of fourth graders in Louisiana are not proficient in reading. Tyler Gillespie has this profile of Copel, whose work is focused on child literacy. She says some children in New Orleans face extreme disadvantages because of limited access to books.

The House Education Committee approved a bill that would return all Recovery School District charters to the Orleans Parish School Board.

Under current law, charter schools can decide whether or not to move back once they've met certain benchmarks. The new legislation would require all schools to return, by 2019 at the latest. It would reunify the city's public school system, bringing 52 RSD charters back under local control.

The bill passed the House Education Committee 11 to 2 on Wednesday. Now it goes before the full House.

This weekend the Lusher Charter School board rejected a petition to recognize a teachers union and start a collective bargaining process.

The vote came after hours of public comment from over 50 people, mostly teachers but also parents and community members. Many spoke in support of the union.

Families have received public school assignments for the coming school year. The OneApp team sent out school placements late Thursday afternoon. That's a week later than they were supposed to come out - a delay that caused families stress.

Chantal Reinlieb applied to all kinds of schools for her five-year-old son. Public schools that are part of OneApp, public schools that use their own application, even a private school, as a backup - though she anguished over the $1000 deposit and decided not to move forward with that.

Governor John Bel Edwards released a new budget proposal on Wednesday, and it includes major cuts to Louisiana's college scholarship program.

The proposed budget - which would go into effect July 1 - slashes TOPS scholarship funding by over 60 percent. It provides only about a third of the nearly $300 million needed to fund the program.

Mallory Falk / WWNO

Hundreds of New Orleans students got a hands-on civics lesson this week. They rallied at the state capitol to support a bill that would keep 17-year-olds out of adult court and prison.

It’s a time-honored tradition. Civics teachers cart out a TV or flick on a projector and play the Schoolhouse Rock! video “I’m Just a Bill.” It follows a cartoon bill - a so-called “sad little scrap of paper” - on its journey to becoming a law.

The Honoré Center for Undergraduate Achievement hosts an open house tonight. The program gives black male students full scholarships to Southern University at New Orleans — if they agree to work as teachers for two years after college.

In a sixth grade class at Langston Hughes Academy, students quietly fill out a worksheet on renewable energy. Donovan Woods approaches the ones that seem stumped or distracted, and helps them with their work.

The college admissions process can be confounding and nerve-wracking. What if an admissions counselor could take you behind the scenes, reviewing mock applications right in front of you? Next Monday, twelve schools are doing just that at the New Orleans College Case Study.