education

The Orleans Parish School Board came one step closer to choosing a new superintendent last night. The board voted unanimously to bring back two of three possible candidates for another round of interviews.

Henderson Lewis Jr. is superintendent of East Feliciania Parish and a member of the St. Bernard Parish School Board. Debbra Lindo served as a superintendent in northern California.

The search for a new superintendent has lasted nearly two and a half years. Board member Ira Thomas says that search may be coming to a close.

Back in September, we told you about the Piano Lab at Winbourne Elementary. It was an experiment. O’Neill’s Music House arranged to get a bunch of cutting edge electronic keyboards to the high poverty school in North Baton Rouge. Tuesday, the pianos were rolled out of the lab and into the auditorium for the students’ first recital.


Mallory Falk / WWNO

Early childhood education got a boost last week. The federal government pledged $32 million to fund Louisiana pre-schools. 

In this month's Voices of Educators series, we look at an early childhood teacher. 

Kwanza Wells teaches at Catholic Charities St. John the Baptist Head Start, one of more than 30 Head Start centers in New Orleans. She helps students develop critical skills to succeed in kindergarten and the world.

Almost half of Louisiana students are missing out on millions of dollars of federal financial aid that could help them get skills training or college degrees after high school.

Education Superintendent John White said yesterday that only 44 percent of Louisiana's public high school seniors fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

That application is used to determine if students are eligible for Pell grants, work study programs and other types of aid.

Business-backed candidates secured a new 5-to-4 majority on the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board last Saturday.

FuturePAC, which is affiliated with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, put up about $50,000 for candidates in these school board elections. BRAC CEO Adam Knapp discusses what business interests are investing in.


US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan addressed the annual lunch for the nonprofit Bureau of Governmental Research on Thursday.

He called New Orleans an example for the nation in school innovation, and cited a long list of statistics in achievement improvements since 2005. Then, 60 percent of students attended a failing school, while that number has dropped to 5 percent today.

Duncan noted that New Orleanians, more than most, know the pain that comes with drastic school change. In the battle for better public education, he said, "you are absolutely winning."

A tentative agreement has been reached in a 2010 federal lawsuit that claimed New Orleans schools failed to fulfill obligations to students with a variety of disabilities — including autism, hyperactivity and bipolar disorder.

U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey said in an order made public yesterday that an "agreement in principle" had been reached in the lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of 10 students.

Settlement efforts had been going on for months.

Attorneys involved declined comment because the agreement is not yet final.

Today, for the first time, a charter school board voted to transfer from the Recovery School District back to the Orleans Parish School Board.

When the Recovery School District was created in 2003, the directive was clear: take over failing schools, turn them around, then transfer them back to the Orleans Parish School Board.

But now charter school boards decide whether to transfer to local control or stay in the state-run RSD. Until now, no eligible schools have returned to OPSB.

Eve Abrams

Chateau Poulet is the latest in the musical architecture series of New Orleans Airlift. Co-founder and artistic director Delaney Martin says, yes, that name would translate to: Chicken House.

"I don’t know where they got that," Martin says.  "It does have a creature-like visage, I think."

Airlift started making musical houses in 2010 with the Music Box, a Shanty Town Sound Laboratory. It was a small village of structures that were also instruments. Over 100 musicians played concerts in the Music Box and 15,000 people visited it.

Mallory Falk / WWNO

This weekend New Orleans voters decide whether to extend and redirect a property tax to fund school maintenance. The measure seems simple: set aside money so schools don't fall into disrepair. But the millage vote reflects a power struggle in New Orleans schools.

Last month, a banner started appearing outside schools. It features a racially diverse group of kids, with crisp jeans and wide smiles. Each gives a big thumbs up. The accompanying text: Our children, our schools. Not a tax increase. Vote December 6.

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