Louisiana overhauling teaching goals, standardized tests in effort to raise the bar for students — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | This article surveys the profound changes in the state’s education landscape over the past 15 years and the massive challenges that remain.
“We raised [our] standards, but relative to the nation and relative now to the rest of the world, they’re low,” [former state school board member Leslie] Jacobs said. “Relative to where we were in 1998 and 1999, they’re high.”
Standardized test scores will likely drop in the near-term as students transition from state tests to national Common Core curricula measurements. Don’t miss the examples of these changes in a graphic at the end of the article.
Louisiana wants to link student funding to test scores — The Answer Sheet— The Washington Post | There’s no valid argument in favor of “money for test scores” incentives, contends education blogger Kimberly Strauss. She writes about state superintendent John White’s plan to link school funding for gifted students to their performance on standardized tests, such as Advanced Placement exams.
Can I tell you about an amazing teacher? A tribute to H. Perry Jones — Something Like the Truth | Robert Mann reminds us to thank the inspiring educators who changed our lives.
Reading the Leaves in the White Teapot — NOLAFugees Press|Productions | Christine Horn presents a critical analysis of Tulane professor Richard Campanella’s recent article “Gentrification and its Discontents: Notes from New Orleans.”
Seawall project begins on New Orleans’ Lakeshore Drive —The Advocate | “A new seawall stabilization and erosion control project along Lakeshore Drive … will both add flood protection and beautify the lakefront for enhanced recreation. Adding elevation, a concrete cap and vinyl sheet piles to the existing seawall will break the energy of the waves and reduce erosion both on the other side of the wall and beneath the wall, according to officials at Thursday’s event. “
Broadway Back at Restored Saenger Theatre — NOLA DEFENDER | “Renovations are shaping up for their upcoming reopening and New Orleanians of all ages will soon be able to experience the joy of Broadway Theatre inside a state of the art facility.”
Government & Politics
Federal grand jury looks at Jindal administration contract — The Advocate | After news of a grand jury investigation into a state contract with Client Network Services Inc., the Jindal administration quickly canceled the $185 million agreement. CNSI is the former employer of state Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein. The Jindal administration says it will tolerate no wrongdoing and that it has confidence in Greenstein. Speculation among political observers is in overdrive.
If everyone wins, as Jindal claims, his tax plan math is bogus — The Lens | Math is interfering with Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed tax swap. Tyler Bridges explores how it’s impossible for everyone to win in a revenue-neutral plan, as Jindal claims. It’s similar to administration claims that the tax overhaul will simultaneously attract new business to the state, even while businesses could bear a greater tax burden. And that’s assuming that it’s truly revenue-neutral, and not $650 million short of the mark, as some nonpartisan watchdog groups contend.
House approves budget bill that can lead to forgiveness of Katrina disaster loans — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | “The House gave final congressional approval Thursday to a spending bill that could lead to forgiveness of outstanding federal disaster loans from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita for Metro New Orleans school districts, government offices and law enforcement agencies. Nearly $500 million in loans are outstanding in Louisiana communities.”
Danziger Bridge defendant Gerard Dugue’s retrial delayed indefinitely | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | It would be a huge development if the online comment scandal in the U.S. Attorney’s Office led to the delay. Judge for yourself:
While the grounds for Dugue’s motion to dismiss the indictment against him have not been disclosed to the public, his case was among several that former First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jan Mann ranted about in posts on NOLA.com.
2nd high-ranking Orleans sheriff’s deputy pleads guilty in kickback scheme — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | “Former Col. Gerard Hoffman Jr., the director of maintenance in the sheriff’s office before he retired last summer, admitted taking $7,500 worth of kickbacks, including free electrical work and a trailer and storage container from a contractor identified in court documents only as ‘Businessman B.'” The Lens has covered alleged corruption in the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Corporate Prison Leaders Tell the Truth About Themselves — In the Public Interest | An inspection of financial and securities disclosures reveals a lot about the for-profit prison business.
Local officials losing sleep over weakest link in our post-Katrina flood defense — The Lens | A maintenance gate in the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier is “an incredibly complicated design that will take nine hours to close effectively — and that the corps still can’t operate successfully after repeated tries. I keep seeing us trying to close that hole in the wall with a storm coming — and having nothing but problems.”
Alabama attorney general blasts BP for Gulf oil spill claims challenge — Fuel Fix | BP wants to renege on its agreement to pay certain claims, according to Alabama officials.
Gulf Coast wildlife restoration effort shows progress — Fuel Fix | Sec. Ken Salazar calls a wetlands project in Louisiana the “Best restoration project in the entire world.”