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

Statues of the “Clinton 12″ look out over downtown Clinton, TN.
Christine Jessel / Southern Education Desk

Ever since the Supreme Court declared segregated schools unconstitutional in Brown-versus-Board-of-Education in 1954, the racial makeup of our schools has been in flux.

Forced integration made the South’s public schools some of the most integrated in the country. But now, here and across the nation, schools are re-segregating.

Some of the earliest desegregation efforts played out in  Clinton, TN.

Carving Up The Elephant: Resegregation In Louisiana

Feb 22, 2013
Students in a Baton Rouge public school.
Sue Lincoln / Southern Education Desk

It’s been nearly 60 years since the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, and the subsequent flurry of lawsuits forcing the desegregation of schools. Two recent studies—one from Stanford University, the other from UCLA—say that schools, particularly in the South, are becoming re-segregated after the lawsuits are settled. Louisiana’s East Baton Rouge Parish appears to be part of that pattern.

Growing Doubts About For-Profit Public School Management

Feb 21, 2013

For-profit public school management is on the decline across the country. In 2007 about half of charter schools that entered into management contracts did so with a for-profit company. Three years later, that number fell by 25 percent. In New Orleans, all of the for-profits that came in to manage charters after Hurricane Katrina are now gone. Opposition to for-profit public schools in Mississippi is growing fierce.

Belinda Davis, head of One Community, One School District, urges an audience at Baton Rouge's Unitarian Church to sign a petition opposing a breakaway school district.
Amy Jeffries / WRKF

A constitutional amendment allowing for an independent school district in Southeast Baton Rouge fell fewer than 10 votes short of making it out of the legislature and onto the statewide ballot last year. The proponents, fed up with the shortcomings of the C-rated parish district, intend to try again. Opponents of the split are also readying for round two.

Applications for vouchers are available for the upcoming school year. The statewide program is continuing into its second year.

A district court judge ruled in November that the voucher program could not be funded with the same pool of money that supports public education in Louisiana.

Compass -- the evaluation system being rolled out in public schools across the state -- has raised the stakes. Teachers who don’t score highly effective under the new measures face the loss of salary and tenure. Ineffective teachers could lose their jobs.

The state Department of Education says so far attrition has remained steady, but the East Baton Rouge Parish School District is still wary of turnover. Beanka Williams, the coordinator of support programs for EBR, says the district is having job fairs monthly to make sure schools are fully staffed.

Williams has also been fielding questions from anxious teachers since last summer when they were first asked to set goals for what their students would learn this year.

K. K. Murray

A report  in the Chronicle of Higher Education detailed a letter received by LSU’s Board of Supervisors. A national organization that monitors academic freedom at colleges and universities shook their finger at what they called the mistreatment of faculty at LSU.


At the start of the Louisiana Smart Growth Summit in November, keynote speaker Mitchell J. Silver – who works for the Department of City Planning in Raleigh, North Carolina – gave his audience some constructive criticism:

“Baton Rouge, you’re not keeping your young people. They're leaving," said Silver.

The Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana reported earlier this month that the number of its members retiring from jobs in K-12 education jumped by more than 25 percent last year. The spike came after the legislature passed changes to the way teachers are evaluated, compensated and awarded tenure.  

The retirement system’s figures include people retiring from food service, and other non-classroom jobs. And State Superintendent John White says the figures are misleading.

He says the number of teachers leaving the classroom for any reason – including promotion to administrative positions – has in fact remained steady at around 12 percent over the past three years.

Louisiana State University will end its affiliation with the Truancy Assessment and Service Center because of mid-year budget cuts.

Last year after Cecile Guin, the head of TASC, convinced the Legislature to preserve funding for the program.

TASC intervenes in elementary school students’ lives when it’s reported that they’ve missed school.