Report puts light on school suspension — The Advocate | Analysis by the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana shows a correlation between higher suspension rates in New Orleans public schools and academic performance. “No one is looking at discipline as a measure of a school’s success,” said Jolon McNeil, director of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana’s Schools First Project.” For more, see The Lens’ first report on this issue in 2011.
New School Policies Face Uncertain Future — The Advocate | “The future of sweeping changes in Louisiana public schools faces more uncertainty after a state district court judge tossed out a law that makes it harder for teachers to earn job security. ‘It really puts school board policies that were recently revised due to the new laws in a total state of disarray,’ said Scott Richard, executive director of the Louisiana School Boards Association.”
SGA’s proposed constitution cuts the number of elected representatives by more than half – The Maroon | In an executive session that ran counter to the Student Government Association’s bylaws, the SGA drafted a revision to its constitution that would reduce the number of elected senators and increase the number of appointed positions. Supporters of the revision believe the changes will increase SGA efficiency, and that students— who will vote to approve the changes this week— don’t care about their constitution.
‘I have had enough’ – veteran teacher tells school board — Washington Post | A resignation letter a veteran teacher read to the Lafayette Parish School Board is receiving national exposure. “I was hoping to teach for at least 30 years, but because of all these new evaluation policies, fear of retirement issues, and feeling constantly threatened that if I don’t do ‘this or that’ I will lose my job, I and many others have had enough and feel the need to leave.”
Brockovich takes on sinkhole case — The Advocate |
Environmental activist Erin Brockovich told a group of Bayou Corne residents on Saturday that standing up and taking legal action against the company that owns a failed salt dome cavern believed to have caused the Assumption Parish sinkhole is the only way they will find relief from the emergency. … [Los Angeles lawyers Thomas V.] Girardi, with whom Brockovich has worked for years, has been retained by at least 50 homeowners in the Bayou Corne community. … Girardi accused Texas Brine of knowing that there was a possibility a sinkhole might develop well before it actually happened. “These people knew what the hell was going on for a long time,” he said, referring to Texas Brine. “Absolutely, positively, without a doubt, and we’ve got the proof of it.”
Concerns raised about second salt dome cavern in Assumption — The Advocate | “New seismic surveys suggest a second Texas Brine Co. LLC cavern is closer to the Napoleonville Dome’s outer face than previously thought, leading the Assumption Parish sheriff to call Friday for the need to plan for emergence of a second sinkhole in the Bayou Corne area, however unlikely the possibility may be.”
Neighbors across metro say Buku Music Fest was too loud | wwltv.com | Gretna residents were reminded how well sound travels over water on Friday, as bass notes from a concert across the river in Mardi Gras World shook windows, and prevented sleep. Responding to noise complaints, Gretna police reportedly said nothing could be done because it it was a “New Orleans issue.” (And then the next night was the Daylight Savings Time spring forward. Ouch!)
Entergy offers personal streetlights– at a cost — wwltv.com | “Would you pay up to $70 a month for your own personal streetlight? Hundreds of Entergy customers in New Orleans are doing just that.”
Help arrives with hammers, tar paper — The Advocate | A good-news story about LSU’s Sigma Chi fraternity making repairs to a low-income elderly person’s home.
Government & Politics
Hospital privatization could impact thousands of state employees | The Advocate — “Much of the budget savings associated with the Jindal administration’s privatization of LSU public hospitals comes from a $400 million reduction in funding for employee pay and benefits as hospital workers lose their state jobs across south Louisiana.”
Jindal Still Opposing Medicaid Expansion, Awaiting Details of Arkansas-Obamacare Deal — WWNO | Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe hashed out an agreement with the feds to accept Medicaid expansion in his state. The article says Louisiana State Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein is interested in the details of the agreement. Is this a signal that the Jindal administration may move to reconsider its opposition to Medicaid expansion in Louisiana (and the hundreds of millions in federal money that accompany it)?
Our Views: Making laws by the rules | Opinion | The Advocate – Continuing its focus on the importance of the “single object” rule, this Advocate editorial opposes logrolling dissimilar issues into one piece of legislation, which has now tied up some of the Jindal administration’s school and pension reforms in court, and may pose a significant challenge for his tax overhaul plan. For similar commentary read Jim Beam’s column in the American Press, which is titled “Governor’s team thin-skinned.”
4-year probe of River Birch winds up exposing problems in Department of Justice — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | The weekend’s blockbuster story about the Department of Justice’s decision to drop the four year-long River Birch landfill probe. Read the entire article for the details and links to the T-P’s past coverage of the corruption trials related to the landfill business owned by Fred Heebe and Jim Ward, who are no longer under investigation. As a supplement, I’d also recommend a WWL radio story, which is a collection of highlights from a radio interview with Buddy Lemann, lawyer to River Birch CFO Dominick Fazzio (who is now in the clear). Lemann provides new details on the claims of misconduct by the local U.S. Attorney’s office.
Obama to nominate Thomas Perez as labor secretary – The Washington Post | Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez was the point man in the DOJ’s investigation of the NOPD, which led to the consent decree that City Hall is now resisting. (H/T @atuazzolo)
Does Crime Drop When Immigrants Move In? — NPR | “Across the country, cities with high rates of immigration, like Los Angeles, Houston and San Diego, also have much lower crime rates than they did 20 years ago. Some social scientists say that’s not a coincidence.”