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Louisiana Threads the Needle on Ed Reform

Education Next – Robert Pondiscio

“Officials of state education agencies are not known for hyperbole. Maintaining data systems, drafting rules and regulations, and monitoring compliance are not the stuff of breathless raves—especially in Louisiana, whose education system ranks near the bottom nationwide on measures of student achievement and high-school graduation rates. Yet in the last year, education leaders from across the country have beaten a path here to see what they might learn from state education superintendent John White; his assistant superintendent of academics, Rebecca Kockler; and their colleagues. Together, this team has quietly engineered a system of curriculum-driven reforms that have prompted Louisiana’s public school teachers to change the quality of their instruction in measurable and observable ways. These advances are unmatched in other states that, like Louisiana, have adopted Common Core or similar standards.”(more)

ESSA Reviews Are In: New Mexico, Louisiana Rise to the Top; Michigan, Arizona Falter

The 74 Million – Blair Mann

“Most of the noise surrounding the Every Student Succeeds Act this week was focused on the highly anticipated rollout of the independent peer review project from the Collaborative for Student Success and Bellwether Education Partners. While many groups, advocates, and experts have weighed in on specific pieces or trends in the plans, the peer review project is one of the only efforts giving a full analysis of what’s been cooked up in each state plan. More on that below.”(more)

New Research: Louisiana Voucher Results Swing Upward

The 74 Million – David Cantor

“Private school choice has become the one issue in education where the release of an academic paper stops traffic. Advocates for and against vouchers anxiously await — and, because choice is now the most politicized issue in education — intensely debate the latest findings. The most recent research study: a report released Monday by Jonathan N. Mills and Patrick Wolf of the University of Arkansas, who study the voucher-awarding Louisiana Scholarship Program. Mills and Wolf determine that students in the program, after initially falling behind, are on par with their public school counterparts after three years in the program.”(more)

When Schools Meet Trauma With Understanding, Not Discipline

NPR – Mallory Falk and Eve Troeh

“If you know anything about New Orleans public schools, you probably know this: Hurricane Katrina wiped them out and almost all the schools became privately run charters. Many of those schools subscribed to the no excuses discipline model — the idea that if you crack down on slight misbehavior, you can prevent bigger issues from erupting. That was also true of Crocker College Prep, an elementary school in New Orleans. It had strict rules about everything. Students had to sit up straight at their desks, eyes tracking the speaker. They had to walk the halls in silence and even wear the right kind of socks. Students who broke these rules, or acted out in other ways, were punished. The thing is, students across New Orleans face high rates of exposure to trauma, but school discipline policies have rarely accounted for that.”(more)

How to Help Louisiana Educators Seeking Classroom Materials After Severe Weather Damages Schools

Education World – Nicole Gorman

“Back-to-school season can be a stressful time as administrators, teachers, parents and students fall back into the school year routine. For these individuals in Louisiana, this back-to-school season is especially stressful following a bout of severe weather that has left communities throughout the state destroyed by recent floods. Now, not only are the state’s educators in charge of greeting a new crop of students and parents, they are also in charge of finding assistance to help them replace the classroom materials they’ve lost to flooding before school resumes. In order to help educators pick up of the pieces of what was lost to disaster, the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana has established a relief fund that is counting on the donations of the national community to make it happen.”(more)

‘Why are people mad at each other?’ Explaining another shocking week of violence to your kids

The Los Angeles Times – Sonali Kohli

“A 13-year-old in California shook her head at the TV. A 5-year-old in Pittsburgh asked her father why people are so angry. As America coped with one tragic moment after another this week, with the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile followed by the shooting of a dozen police officers in Dallas, the country’s parents had an added task: explaining each act of violence to their children. “If [children] see a bunch of this on television, they can become the indirect victims of trauma,” said Suzanne Silverstein, director of the Cedars-Sinai Psychological Trauma Center. African American children might be afraid for their own lives or for their friends and families when they see black men being shot. Children of law enforcement officers might be even more afraid for their parents after learning what happened in Dallas.”(more)