RSD’s school closure process has uneven effect on students at failing schools | The Lens – Students who left Murray Henderson Elementary and Benjamin E. Mays Preparatory generally fared better than those who left Abramson Elementary and James Weldon Johnson Elementary. Listen to Lens education reporter Jessica Williams discuss her story on the mixed results of school closures on WWNO.
Tulane scholarship program restraints proposed | The New Orleans Advocate – State Sen. Dan Claitor’s bill would restrict the controversial Tulane scholarship program so that relatives and political donors could not receive scholarship awards from elected officials to whom they are connected. The bill would also require “legislators to publicize the scholarships and Tulane to publish annually who gets them and from whom.”
Last year, Claitor led an effort to bring more transparency to a similar scholarship program at LSU.
The Education Choice and Competition Index Background and Results 2013 | Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings – The Recovery School District of New Orleans ranks highest in an index that measures the “availability and quality of [school] choice.” However, the release notes there is still room for improvement. (Via @petercook.)
Government & Politics
Democratic candidates meet in first forum for New Orleans city elections | Uptown Messenger — Coverage focuses on the City Council races.
Violent crime in neighborhoods, economic development and opportunity, balancing the city budget and even gay marriage and marijuana legalization were all discussed Tuesday night by Democratic candidates in the New Orleans city elections, many appearing on the same stage for the first time a mere three weeks before the Feb. 1 election day.
New Orleans municipal elections forum becomes a blame game | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – School Board President Ira Thomas and former Sheriff Charles Foti blamed current Sheriff Marlin Gusman for the conditions at the city jail, while Gusman returned fire and blamed Foti for the mess.
Of the mayoral candidates, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said that his administration helped the city avert fiscal disaster. Mayoral candidate Michael Bagneris stressed “his apparent City Hall bona fides as a former counsel to Mayor Dutch Morial … .” He also ribbed the mayor “for his apparent tendency to make unilateral decisions without building a consensus first.”
Fannin hopeful state revenue will increase | The News Star
The Revenue Estimating Conference meets Jan. 10, but [state Rep. Jim Fannin, R-Jonesboro,] doesn’t expect the state’s economic forecast will change much from previous estimates, which has the state short $547 million.
National Hurricane Center to use test storm surge maps during 2014 hurricane season | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – Color-coded maps will warn coastal residents of potential flooding levels, not just wind speed.
Audubon and San Diego Zoo begin animal breeding center in Algiers | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – The Freeport McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center in Algiers, an innovative 1,000-acre breeding site, will help repopulate groups of endangered species. It is scheduled to open in 2017.
Cuomo, Joined by Biden, Details Disaster Aid Plans | New York Times – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo cited Super Storm Sandy as evidence that “extreme weather is the new reality.” In response, he announced the debut of “a new weather detection system that he said would be the most sophisticated in the country.” (Story via @Editilla)
The state will spend about $19 million to build 125 interconnected weather stations that would provide real-time data on air, wind, soil and radiation conditions, allowing the state to anticipate storms and flooding better.
Our Views: Make panel’s work public | The New Orleans Advocate –An editorial urges taxpayers to demand transparency from a committee formed by the Louisiana Supreme Court that is reassessing the number of judgeships in the state.
I-Team: City drops charge against taxi driver after surveillance video released | WDSU – “A day after a video showing a Taxi Cab Bureau inspector using pepper spray and detaining a taxi cab driver, the city of New Orleans has dropped the charge against the driver.”
Dixie Brewery loses latest battle to halt demolition | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
The family that ran the Dixie Brewery from the mid-1980s until Hurricane Katrina has lost another court battle as it tries to save the original building from the wrecking ball.
Civil District Judge Paulette Irons on Tuesday dismissed the Bruno family’s latest request for an injunction, possibly paving the way for contractors with the federal Department of Veterans Affairs and LSU to begin to remove asbestos and demolish at least part of the 107-year-old building.