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Court puts brakes on NOPD consent decree; school closures disrupt students, teachers


The state government gives Exxon permission to pump out millions of pounds of air pollution each year from its Baton Rouge [refinery] complex. But because of accidents and leaks, from 2008 to 2011 the Exxon Mobil Baton Rouge complex put out nearly 4 million pounds of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, without the government’s approval, according to data obtained from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality through a public records request and analyzed by NPR.

This year American sugar prices are down on account of a surplus. But such are the joys of dirigisme that sugar farmers still have it made. When they can’t get top dollar on the open market, they can sell at a profit to the government, which will pass it on at a heavy discount to ethanol producers. So either the government makes us pay grossly inflated prices on a wide variety of food products, or our taxes go to subsidize overreaching agribusiness.

Greg Nichols, who supervises Tulane’s legal assistance program, said, “If you’re a landlord you figure nine times out of 10 (the tenants) won’t bother to file suit against you if you keep their deposit, and the one time they do the horrible draconian penalty that must haunt every landlord’s dream is a fine of $200. Big deal. There are people who have gotten very wealthy keeping people’s deposits.”

[Benjamin Mays Preparatory School] is one of four New Orleans public schools closing this year, along with Abramson Elementary, James Weldon Johnson Elementary School and Murray Henderson Elementary School. A wrenching process for both families and faculties, closing down failed and unneeded schools is the anvil on which a market-driven school system is trying to forge a stronger set of survivors.

Mays is the only charter school that’s closing. The others are run by the Recovery School District; they’re being closed, district officials say, because of demographic shifts and there are seats in higher-performing schools.

Louisiana’s top education official on Thursday denied an accusation that his department intentionally inflated school letter grades and then covered up that inflation, after a high school teacher lobbed accusations during a Senate committee meeting earlier this month.

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About Mark Moseley

Mark Moseley blogs at Your Right Hand Thief. Until mid 2014, Mark Moseley was The Lens' opinion writer, engagement specialist and coordinator for the Charter Schools Reporting Corps. After Katrina and the Federal Flood he helped create the Rising Tide conference, which grew into an annual social media event dedicated to the future of New Orleans.