Education

Mallory Falk / WWNO

In New Orleans' public school system, schools compete for kids. They receive a certain amount of money per student, so there is incentive to recruit and retain as many as possible. A new study from the Education Research Alliance looks at how school leaders respond to competition.

Huriya Jabbar is a research associate with the Education Research Alliance. She interviewed more than 70 school leaders from 30 different schools — a mix of Recovery School District and Orleans Parish School Board, charter and direct run.

Mallory Falk / WWNO

 

Michael "Quess?" Moore is an instructional coach at Martin Behrman Charter School. He helps teachers from all grade levels – kindergarten through eighth – develop lesson plans. Sometimes he co-leads the lessons, and sometimes he teaches them on his own. In the classroom, Moore draws on his experience as a spoken word artist.

Support for Voices of Educators and education reporting on WWNO comes from Entergy Corporation.

Mallory Falk / WWNO

Last week the state school board voted to close Lagniappe Academies after a report outlined special education violations at the Tremé charter school. On Monday night, families held a rally to fight that decision.

Harold Bailey Sr. was one of three parents and grandparents to speak out against the school closure. He says the state should get rid of the administrators but keep the school open.

"This isn't choice," he said. "We don't want this. And this is not what children need. They need stability."

Parent Anthony Parker expressed similar feelings.

Mallory Falk / WWNO

Applications to most New Orleans public schools are due this Friday. New Orleans is known as a "choice" landscape. Families apply to schools across the city, instead of automatically sending their children to the neighborhood school. But how much actual choice is there?

It's a Saturday morning and school marching bands play for a crowd. But they're not in a Mardi Gras parade. They're in the Superdome, at a schools expo. There's a bouncy house and a climbing wall. Things to keep kids occupied while their families learn about schools.

dhendrix73 / Flickr

Schools are back in session after Mardi Gras break. At one school, many students are adjusting to a change: no more yellow school buses.

When Miller McCoy Academy started back up on Monday, many students who had relied on yellow buses had to find a new way there. That's because the charter school, located in New Orleans East, cut back its bus services. It eliminated several routes and combined others.

The school's board members say the change saves $14,000 a month. They've distributed about 150 bus tokens to students.

February is a big month for public school families. Applications to most of the city's schools are due on Feb. 27.

The New Orleans Parents' Guide is a key resource for families. It offers detailed information about every public school in the city.

Aesha Rasheed and Audrey Stewart produce the guide each year. They recently talked about the guide and application process with WWNO Education Reporter Mallory Falk.

Mallory Falk / WWNO

On Saturday morning, the Urban League held its ninth annual Schools Expo. Hundreds of families came out to the Superdome to learn about school options.

The Superdome is packed, with representatives from over 50 schools and dozens of community organizations. Families stop by tables to learn about each school.

Tye Davis has one priority: finding a school closer to home. She says her nine year old daughter spends almost three hours on the school bus every day.

Jesse Kunerth / Shutterstock

 

Last month the Southern Poverty Law Center, Louisiana Department of Education, State School Board, and Orleans Parish School Board reached a settlement on a four-year-old lawsuit. The suit claimed New Orleans schools weren't effectively serving students with disabilities — something that's harder to monitor and track in the charter school landscape.

It's National School Choice Week — a week aimed at showcasing school options across the country. Here in New Orleans, families are exploring choices as the school application deadline draws near.

With the deadline a month away, families can draw on several resources to learn more about schools.

The Orleans Parish School Board has selected a new superintendent.

East Feliciana Parish Schools Superintendent Henderson Lewis will run the public schools in New Orleans that remain under its jurisdiction.

The post has been vacant for almost three years.

The vote was unanimous and greeted with applause by the public.

The 40-year-old Lewis said he was humbled by the decision.

Lewis got the job also sought by Debbra Lindo. The 62-year-old has spent much of her career in  northern California, most recently as superintendent of the Emery system.

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