Education

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

A voucher student considers an editing worksheet in Beverly Ortego's English intervention session.
Amy Jeffries / WRKF

Tuesday, the state Supreme Court will hear arguments in a suit from local school boards and teachers unions wanting Louisiana's school voucher program thrown out.

The legal challenges came almost as soon as the program was passed last year as part of Gov. Bobby Jindal's education overhaul.

Despite that, Hosanna Christian Academy in Baton Rouge went all in.

The school took on almost 300 voucher students, nearly doubling its enrollment. And Hosanna is doing everything it can to make sure all those students can perform at grade level.


School Turnaround Funds Repurposed

Mar 14, 2013

Federal funds dedicated to the turnaround of struggling Louisiana public schools have been repurposed.

The state Department of Education is using $5 million to issue grants to conceive new schools and allow high-performing schools to take on more students.

Almost 200,000 students are attending schools rated D or F. State Supt. John White said traditional public school systems that have been getting turnaround money are not drawing down that number.

“The pace of change has just not been fast enough for us not to consider a new path,” White said.  

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

19th District Court, Baton Rouge, La.
Amy Jeffries / WRKF

A state judge has thrown out rules passed last session tying teacher tenure and pay to classroom performance. Monday's decision is a turnaround from the same judge’s previous ruling.

In December, Judge Michael Caldwell threw out parts of what’s been called the “Teacher Tenure Act,” – parts that didn’t directly address teacher tenure, but made rules for school boards, visiting teachers, superintendents and principals.

That day, the governor touted the ruling as a success because it kept his tenure overhauls. Now the judge is saying the whole thing has to go. 

Nashville Wrestles With Re-Segregation

Mar 1, 2013
Kindergarten students at Jones Paideia Magnet learn about the Civil Rights movement.
Southern Education Desk

In Nashville, public school officials are finding it a challenge to balance school improvement plans with a desire for racial diversity.


The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is slated to approve the school funding formula next week. The new proposal, released Thursday, still pays for the voucher program with dollars that would otherwise go to local districts. But, state Supt. John White is pitching alternative financing that would skirt the formula.


When And Why School Districts Re-segregate

Feb 28, 2013
Micky Zegaye (left) works with a tutor at Fugee Academy in Clarkston, GA.
Maura Walz / Southern Education Desk

Since the 1970s, federal court orders have governed how many Southern communities integrated their public schools. But new research shows, as those orders have been lifted, school districts are gradually re-segregating.


Angela Merritt, with daughters Gabby and Larasha, is working to reintegrate Tate County Schools.
Kristian Weatherspoon

In Coldwater, MS, the student body was divided after the construction of a new school. That has sparked debate over whether separate can be equal.


Hope Against Hope
Bloomsbury Press

Journalist Sarah Carr spent a year chronicling the lives of a skeptical teenager, a fresh-faced teacher, and a veteran principal in three separate charter schools in New Orleans for her new book, “Hope Against Hope.”

Some of the same players who orchestrated the makeover of public education in the Crescent City after Hurricane Katrina are trying to do the same thing in Baton Rouge, without the prompting of a natural disaster.

Supporters of the movement hold up charter schools as the salvation of American education. Critics say the overhaul will lead to its ruination. What Carr found was a lot of gray.


Pickens Academy Class of 2012
Dan Carsen / Southern Education Desk

The history of education in the South is woven to the history of race. When whites saw public-school integration coming, many started private schools, sometimes called "segregation academies" – and they still play a role.


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