Education

What's happening with Louisiana's schools, colleges, universities, and ongoing education reform.

For the past several years, the group Coexister has been going into secular French schools to break down religious stereotypes in the classroom.

Since January's attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, the demand for their interventions has skyrocketed.

Common Core: Rebranding and Review

Jun 19, 2015
Anna Davis of Picayune and her daughter Isabel doing everyday school work.
Paul Boger / MPB

The phrase “Common Core” has become toxic.

Some states have tried changing the name of the education standards. Others have dropped the standards altogether.

In this region, the Southern Education Desk finds another approach: asking the public to review the benchmarks for learning in reading and math.


Warren Drake had success running the Zachary School District, and then went over to the state Department of Education for a seemingly good gig working on curriculum.

Now he’s the acting and incoming superintendent of the East Baton Rouge Parish District. Why would he want to do that?

Because this is where he started, in 1974, as a teacher and then administrator, before  becoming Zachary’s superintendent for its first 10 years after it broke away from the parish district.

Common Core: Opposition in Southern Statehouses

Jun 18, 2015
State Actions on Common Core in 2015
National Conference of State Legislatures

According to the National Conference of State Legislators, this year more than 730 Common Core bills were introduced across the country — including 21 state proposals for repeal.

Legislative sessions have just ended in many states, but mention the phrase “Common Core” in some circles and you’ll still strike up debate.

The Southern Education Desk is examining why Common Core is so controversial in this region, starting with a look at the roots of the opposition.


In his State of the Union address in January, President Obama had some sure-fire applause lines: "More of our kids are graduating than ever before" and "Our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high."

Which raised some interesting questions: "Is that really true?" and "Why?" and "How do we know?" and "So what?"

A seed was planted that grew into our project this week examining that number. Our reporting shows many of the individual stories behind a single statistic: 81 percent, the current U.S. graduation rate.

The national high school graduation rate is an impressive 81 percent. So impressive, President Obama highlighted it in his State of the Union address this year: "Our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high."

Sound the trumpets. This is a really big deal. There's just one problem: The president didn't explain how we got here. For the past few months, the NPR Ed Team and reporters from member stations in more than a dozen states have been digging into these numbers to find out.

It's high school graduation season, when many students are celebrating the end of their high school career. But some schools are deciding that their job doesn't end with the granting of a diploma — or even a send-off to college.

Top charter schools can often boast of sending virtually all of their graduates to college, even when the majority of their students are low-income or are the first members of their families to pursue post-high school educations.

As it turns out, many of those students don't earn a degree.

As a teacher of teachers at LSU, Steve Bickmore is focused on getting teachers to expand reading lists to include more books like that reflect their students’ lives, like Jaqueline Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming, Coe Booth's Tyrell, and Kwame Alexander's Crossover. And he’ll be highlighting that at LSU’s upcoming conference on the theme of African-American cultures in young adult literature, May 31-June 5. 

 


We are checking back in with a series of conversations about what to do with East Baton Rouge Parish schools.

Anna Fogle is the parent of two kids in the schools and helped organize the Beyond Bricks listening sessions and Rev. Gerard Robinson of McKowen Baptist has been a host for some of them.

They’ll be presenting the results of those conversations at community assemblies over the next several weeks. The schedule is at beyondbricksebr.org.

On weekend afternoons, Craig Adams Jr. plays for tourists on the streets of the French Quarter.

He gigs with different bands, bringing whatever's needed: trumpet, trombone, saxophone — he plays six or seven instruments in all. There's a white plastic bucket on the sidewalk so people can drop in cash as they browse the T-shirts and Mardi Gras masks.

Craig is 18, and there's music in his blood: "I had my uncle, my grandfather, and my dad to teach me." His father, Craig Adams Sr., leads a group called the Higher Dimensions of Praise Gospel Band.

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