Testing 3- and 4-year-olds is newest front in Louisiana school accountability | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune — A pilot program will test pre-schoolers in daycare and early childhood centers, with the aim of eventually creating a uniform grading system statewide. Orleans Parish is one of 15 taking part. State schools Superintendent John White contends that too many children are unprepared when they enter kindergarten. “Only 54 percent of kids are able to count to 20 and recognize all letters when they enter kindergarten. … There’s an inequity in how children are prepared for kindergarten, and this is about saying, ‘How do we ensure there is a basic minimum standard of quality?'””
Change Agent in Education Collects Critics in Connecticut Town | The New York Times — Paul Vallas, the former superintendent of the Recovery School District, has encountered stiff resistance as superintendent in Bridgeport, Conn. Many parents and educators do not like the testing and teacher evaluations that Vallas has implemented, and they want him out. The article portrays the controversy as a microcosm of the national debate about education reform:
The battle in Bridgeport highlights the divisiveness of change in American education. Critics of the existing system are pushing centralized control, weaker teacher tenure protections and expanded charter schools, and some have made installing superintendents with backgrounds outside of education a priority, causing rifts in many districts.
New gun law sets stage for conflict | The Advocate — Gun laws are being challenged after voters in 2012 approved a state law that made the right to bear arms a “fundamental” right in Louisiana. “The most vulnerable state gun law, some think, is the one that requires a permit to carry a concealed weapon.”
Teaching nonviolence on New Orleans mean streets | CNN — After a brush with street violence in New Orleans, Lisa Fitzpatrick created the APEX Youth Center, which provides recreation and mentorship to young people. Fitzpatrick says, “We offer a space out of the path of the bullet.” CNN has named Fitzpatrick one of its national Heroes.
Government & Politics
Appeals court refuses to hear LSU’s plea to keep university president finalists secret | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
LSU lost its bid to keep secret the names of 35 people it reviewed for the post of the university president after the state First Circuit Court of Appeal in Baton Rouge declined Friday to hear the university’s appeal of a lower court ruling.
Richmond on facing prejudice: ‘That’s me’ | POLITICO — Rep. Cedric Richmond identifies with personal comments President Barack Obama shared over the weekend in the wake of the Trayvon Martin verdict. Richmond said:
As a black man, it is very, very frustrating and you build up an internal anger about it that you can’t act on. I don’t think people outside of African American males can really sense the anger and frustration when it happens, especially when you’re doing what you should be doing.
MANHATTAN MOMENT: Dodd-Frank, meet Warren and Vitter | Washington Examiner — The article speculates that if Sen. David Vitter (R-La) joins forces with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma) on a compromise financial reform bill, “it could pose a real threat to Big Finance.”
Planners, inspired by Dutch, now hope to build | The Advocate — While local leaders have mostly focused on restoring Louisiana’s battered coast and improving the city’s faulty levees, there’s a third, equally important leg to the strategy — managing rainfall better.
Setback for BP as judge rejects call to halt oil spill payments | Financial Times — BP will appeal a decision by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier that prevents the company from stopping compensation payments for the oil spill settlement. “The result was discouraging for BP’s overall hopes of limiting the cost of the settlement, which is on course to be more than double its original estimate of $7.8bn.”
Portion of Crescent Park could open by the fall | The Advocate
A $30 million park on a strip of riverfront land spanning the Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods could open as soon as this fall, although it is still unclear who will manage and operate the so-called Crescent Park.
NEW ORLEANS: River levee bike path back on track | Associated Press — “After a nine-week work stoppage caused by high Mississippi River levels, construction has resumed on a 2-mile pedestrian and bicycle path atop the river levee in the city’s Algiers section. “