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Equity, transparency undercut by holdouts against OneApp school admissions process

For the past nine years I’ve worked diligently to ensure that all kids have access to a high-quality education, first as a classroom teacher, then as head of the charter schools office at the Louisiana Department of Education and as Chief Strategy Officer at Jefferson Parish Public Schools.

Jacob Landry

Jacob Landry

This year, my vantage expanded from that of educator and advocate to parent. It was time for my five-year-old to apply to kindergarten. My wife and I carefully navigated the public school application process in Orleans Parish. We learned a lot in the process, and also gained some dismaying insights into the lack of equity and transparency in some of our schools — particularly charter schools with selective admissions policies and sometimes quirky application requirements.

The application engine for the vast majority of public schools in Orleans Parish is Enroll Nola (sometimes called OneApp). This system was designed by the Recovery School District to make school enrollment easier and more transparent in a system of schools that are not all under one central office and are not zoned by neighborhood. Today all schools in the Recovery School District (RSD), Type 2 charter schools and the traditional schools plus some charters run by the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) participate in Enroll Nola. The holdouts are the OPSB charters with selective admissions policies.

Enroll Nola is not perfect, but the problem isn’t the paperwork. We found the forms online, and they proved to be notably straightforward and simple. Middle-class parents like my wife and me are planners, however, and accustomed to being in greater control of our lives.

We had to wait later in the year than we would have liked to submit the application, and then we had to put our faith in the algorithm that is used to match students with their ranked school choices. Waiting for the results was another time of tension. With a deep sigh of relief, we found out on April 10 that our child was assigned to the school that had been our first choice: Bricolage.

Whatever its flaws, Enroll Nola turns a blind eye to parental means, education and privilege. This is the most transparent and equitable way officials have come up with for allocating school seats.

The alternative experience, the selective admissions policies still in place at Lusher and eight other OPSB charter schools, is deeply disturbing and patently unfair to less well-informed parents. What with admissions tests, multiple mandatory meetings and in-person delivery of applications, it is small wonder why fewer than 50 percent of students at Lusher are minorities, and why only 21 percent of its students are economically disadvantaged. By contrast, 98 percent of RSD students in New Orleans are minorities, and 92 percent are economically disadvantaged.

After my application experience, and armed with the aforementioned statistics, I decided to look a little deeper into the disparities separating Enroll Nola schools from OPSB charters that refuse to use the uniform admissions process.

For starters, I contacted Kathy Riedlinger, Lusher’s chief executive officer, to ask which test they use for admissions. Intelligence assessments — “IQ tests” — are expressly prohibited in state law, and some assessment manufacturers make clear that one-time results on knowledge-assessment tests also are a faulty basis for high-stakes decisions.

Knowledge assessments simply test what a kid has been explicitly taught up to that point. And as a parent of a five-year-old, I know that performance on any task can be highly contingent on what he ate for breakfast or whether he got to use his favorite spoon.

Riedlinger met my first question with a question of her own — which is an illegal response to a public records request. Her question: Why did I want to know what test was administered? In a follow-up phone call, Riedlinger angrily told me I could take her to court if I wanted to pursue my line of inquiry, again breaking the law by not releasing public information.

In connection with this column, I followed up with Riedlinger a third time. Now she claimed to be exempt from the public records law, citing a statute that shields the Louisiana Department of Education and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from releasing assessment data such as test questions, scoring keys and the like.

But all I wanted was the name of the test. Ironically, she stated that refusing to reveal the name was about “equity and fairness” so that certain students do not have an advantage in the admissions process. She said she is currently seeking an opinion from the state Attorney General on whether Lusher must release it.

If knowing the name of an assessment gives you an advantage in an admissions process, it’s a terrible admissions process.

Taking someone to court does not foster the transparency and equity that have become watchwords of the school reform movement. What are needed are proper school oversight and a commitment to these ideals. And yet, if you browse the government contracts authorizing OPSB selective charter schools, you won’t see detailed descriptions of admissions processes. You’ll see vague references to an unnamed assessment and a “matrix” that will be used for admissions. If you look at the students attending these schools, you’ll often see a demographic mix that doesn’t reflect the population of our city.

Lusher is not alone in adding hoops that parents must jump through if their children are to be considered for admissions. Audubon, for example, requires attendance at a curriculum meeting, in-person application submission and an admissions test for grades 3-8. Lake Forest requires attendance at an in-person meeting, a student handwriting sample (which assumes the student has been taught how to write), an admissions assessment, and achieving a certain score on a matrix.

I asked OPSB Superintendent Henderson Lewis about Enroll Nola. “As the Superintendent of Schools in Orleans Parish, I am committed to supporting all of our schools’ participation in Enroll Nola,” he said. “The common application system in New Orleans schools is a vital part of our plan to transition OPSB into a premier portfolio school district.”

An argument has been made that nothing should be done about schools with overly complex admissions requirements until the end of their current charter term (in 2021 in most cases), and this is the stance taken by the previous board. That means OPSB and the schools will be negligent for another six years in providing adequate detail about their admissions procedures.

If the only way to rectify that negligence is to amend the charters, I say go for it — even if the changes require judicial intervention. If Lewis is sincere about Enroll Nola being a vital part of his plan for OPSB, I call on him to push all schools under his supervision to start using it well before 2021.

If someone is going to go to court, let it be over something more germane to the education of New Orleans kids than a principal resisting a public records request.

Jacob Landry is a parent, an entrepreneur and a consultant with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.

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  • stephanie anders

    How ironic that the “head of charter schools office” is blaming the OPSB for selective admissions policies of charter schools, when the charterization of these former public schools was the very thing that allowed for this. Is he a charter school proponent or not? Maybe he should have been thinking more about equity before it affected him personally. Let me guess, I bet he’s a TFA alumni, which makes his assertions even more laughable. Just be one of the privileged ones building the charter movement, so you can criticize it, even as you continue to benefit from it. Also noted that he doesn’t plan on sending his kids to the schools he’s managing. Hmmmm…….

  • Actually, you’re wrong – Lusher was selective admissions back when it was a district magnet school before the storm and he doesn’t manage any charter schools.

  • stephanie anders

    Oh, sorry, the article does not make that clear, as he opens with the self-identifiers “a diligent supporter of education,” “classroom teacher,” “LADOE head of charter schools” and “chief strategy officer at JPPS”, but does not mention that he is now out of field. After doing some research on Landry, I see that, yes, Landry quit education last year to open a brewery….Anywho, Lusher was Fortier back in the day, a public school, and then it became “magnet” Lusher, which was selective enrollment, just as NOCCA is today. All just details. Making kids compete to get into school is competing to get into school–live by the sword, die by the sword. It’s wrong. So is… judging schools who take all kids against those who selectively enroll, judging students by test scores in the first place (read the Bell Curve), but it was ok when it was for other people’s children. The principals admit to cheating to get better students in these charter schools, and at least these selective enrollment schools are saying up front that they are choosing their students. Who do you think created these “selective enrollment” schools? Parents just like him, who wanted the “best” schools for their children. All these reform babies were for competition, right? So which is it? Is competition good or not? Should test scores be used to judge students or not? He got his first CHOICE, didn’t he? So what’s he complaining about?

  • Spoken like a true UTNO member! Your argument amounts to putting words in Jacob’s mouth and going on a tirade against accountability and school choice. Well, welcome to the “new normal” in New Orleans. If you don’t like it, I suggest going back to Alabama.

  • Junk Joint

    Lusher is one of those schools that requires major parental involvement. It is also a weighted process from what I understand. The best way to get in would not be to antagonize administration. Where on earth are you from? Catch more flies with shugggar!!!!

  • stephanie anders

    You are exactly right, Peter I am a proud union member and career educator, and true story–I am also originally from Alabama. Thanks for caring enough to check up on me! Why does that matter exactly, if it doesn’t matter that you are a privileged, arrogant, young, colonizing neoliberal/TFA scab, going back to those same tired arguments that you have used for a decade now, that shoved a system down everyone’s throats that has now been proven NOT to work, and in the meantime caused considerable damage to students caught in this sick little experiment? The DATA shows that, so try to keep up. And if it clearly shows that you have made improvements, then why aren’t all you “choice” advocates also advocating for transparency? Hopefully your corporate masters are paying you appropriately for being their mouthpiece.

  • KCD

    I think we can all read between the lines here. The author was indeed seeking an advantage for his child in the Lusher application process when he asked questions about the test used. That is why he suddenly became so curious about the Lusher admission process at the same time he needed to put his young child in school. (I notice his curiosity did not extend to the tests used by the selective high schools— Ben Franklin and NOCCA.) Ms. Reidlinger knew that—that is why she refused based on equity.

    Given his background in education (which was evidently terminated when he was fired and took up beer-making), he wanted to know more about the test so that he could prepare his child. When he didn’t get what he wanted, he tried to use his education background knowledge as a bludgeon, even waiving around words he knew nothing about like “public records request. ” His education background did not include the knowledge that public record requests are not made in phone calls.

    Look out, administrators at Bricolage. This parent will complain and tell you how to do your job. He has a lot to learn about how to get the best public school education for a child.

  • Jacob Landry

    Actually, KCD, I waited until after Lusher made its admissions decision to pursue this in order to ensure it was done with integrity, and submitted a public records request in writing. To both Junk Joint and KCD – unfortunately there are persistent rumors that if you “know somebody” or use “shuggar” with administrators at some of these schools, you can secure a spot. That’s precisely the point of this piece – the processes are so void of transparency in these holdout schools that we have no way of ensuring they are done in an equitable way.

  • RayNichols

    Hey Jacob!

    As a former consultant, I’m curious about the nature of your work. What issues do you specialize in?

    Noticed we have some local representaion on your client’s board..


  • JCL

    I couldn’t agree more. It may make sense for a school like NOCCA, which is a conservatory, to require auditions. It’s high school and provides a specialized curriculum. One could even make the argument about language immersion; it would be hard for a child who doesn’t know the language to suddenly be immersed in it in 4th or 5th grade when other kids are well past them. However, a school with a traditional curriculum has no legitimate reason to audition its students or use other methods to select only the best students. And I don’t see how OneApp will solve anything along these lines. If it works as he says it does (I have a hard time believing anything in New Orleans is that fair, but ok), then OneApp can solve some of the issues of creaming. It will still be the case that parents with more knowledge and with more resources will be advantaged – they’re less likely to miss OneApp deadlines, for example – but the system will be fairer. However, participation in OneApp does not mean that selective admissions processes will not be used. There are selective admissions schools in the OneApp.

  • Jacob Landry

    Hi Ray – I mostly support and evaluate charter school authorizers.

  • You’re like one of those Japanese soldiers left behind on Pacific islands who never knew WWII was over – i.e., sad, and not worth bothering with.

  • Joanne Hilton

    I don’t really have a “dog in this hunt” anymore but I have had past experiences with these kinds of “admission” tests – in 1998 I was trying to help a little 5 year old hispanic girl get into Lusher Kindergarten – you all remember the “bad old days” when good public schools were almost non-existent – and they refused her because they couldn ‘t adequately test her in Spanish. Subsequently,and luckily. an uptown, verrrry fine ISAS school gave her a chance and a 100% scholarship through 8th grade, where she did very well. They then helped her get another scholarship for a verrrry fine ISAS uptown high school, where she did verrry well and she is now about to graduate from college, doing verrry well in pre medicine sciences. So much for Lusher’s admission tests being indicative of future achievement. I’ll bet she’s done at least as well as the rest of that class she would have been in, probably better than at least 50%!!! By the way, she needed no remediation at any level, even though she was from a home where no english was spoken.

  • nickelndime

    The OPSB should make the Deputy Superintendent of Charter Schools do “the job” she is being paid to do. The lady doesn’t report to Henderson Lewis, Jr. and he has no power over her. The OPSB is the charter authorizer of most of the selective-admission charter schools in New Orleans. Only it (the board) can enforce participation in OneApp for all of its charters. Some of the “holdouts” to OneApp are calling themselves “open admissions” (Hynes, etc.), and most everybody knows they are all cherry picking from among the “goodies.” 06/09/2015 3:56 PM DST USA

  • Jason France

    I love that now that you have a child of your own and have to deal with the system you created you are finally coming to agree with some of my critiques of the system you helped create.

    “and some assessment manufacturers make clear that one-time results on knowledge-assessment tests also are a faulty basis for high-stakes decisions.

    Knowledge assessments simply test what a kid has been explicitly taught up to that point. And as a parent of a five-year-old, I know that performance on any task can be highly contingent on what he ate for breakfast or whether he got to use his favorite spoon.”
    This is what those of us on the other side of the corporate driven reform agenda have been saying for years. It is foolish to grade teachers on the scores of their students based on a single test, like we do with VAM. It is foolish to evaluate schools based on the outcome of a single test, like we do with our SPS scores. These tests don’t measure learning, they measure what has been learned and can be conveyed on paper and can be impacted by home environment, what the child had for breakfast (or didn’t) whether they hear gunshots every night or if they got in a fight with their best friend the day before. They don’t factor in poverty, lack of resources, lack of engagement on the part of parents or the 2 hour bus ride they might have to take to get to school.
    Charter schools were ushered into poor communities based on the false narrative that performance on a single knowledge based test equated to quality of the schools, teachers and education they we receiving. That was of course more than an oversimplification, it was an outright misrepresentation.
    Many children from our poorest communities don’t have the advantages you so eloquently and honestly point out. They are intimidated by the tactics you experienced, but they experience these tactics every day from many different charter schools, not just Luscher. (which was counted as a charter school in CREDO’s study of effectiveness of New Orleans charters despite it’s selective academic admissions policy – as well as Ben Franklin.)
    As for getting getting a response from a Freedom of Information request, I have yet to even get a response from a single one of the dozens I’ve submitted to RSD, not even an acknowledgement of a receipt. I routinely get my requests sent to LDOE pared down to nothing, ignored for months and years, provided with false information or outright denied. This is the system of “Transparency” your folks at RSD and LDOE put in place. Get used to filing lawsuits and waiting years if you ever want a FOIA response, like the rest of us.

  • Debby Head Matassa

    Well said, Jason! Well said!

  • mackakatopeka

    My youngest daughter graduated from Warren Easton in 2013, I had no problem getting any info I needed regarding admissions through graduation from them…why the secrecy at Lusher….this is a public school run with public tax dollars all records and info should be given out with the exception of students educational/personal records….
    Good for you Mr. Landry, somebody needed to expose Lusher/Riedlinger for their shenanigins which stretch back to right after Katrina with their underhanded appropriation of Fortier with the backing of the neighborhood and Tulane, to their partiality to admitting students with ties to Tulane’s staff and now this…keep the pressure on…

  • nickelndime

    The OPSB will not enforce the OneApp on all of its charters, other than making it (OneApp participation) mandatory for its “new” charters. The charter market in New Orleans is already saturated, but the OPSB (being helped by Kathleen Padian) keeps approving new charters, despite the fact that it is doing very poorly in monitoring/regulating the charters that already exist.

    No board member, including but not limited to, Sarah Usdin (founder of New Schools for New Orleans – NSNO), Seth Bloom, Woody Koppel, Nolan Marshall, II, etc. etc. etc.) have any intention of “riling up” the charter boards of Lusher, Audubon, Ben Franklin High, Lake Forest Montessori, Warren Easton, Hynes..or Tulane University, the Eastbank Charter School Collaborative…or Lee Reid, Esq. of Adams and Reese, LLP, etc. etc. etc.

    The CEOs of the OPSB-authorized charters (selective- and open-admissions) are among the highest paid (six-figure salaries) administrators in the city and the state. And that is not counting the CAOs, COOs, CFOs…who have also jumped on the gravy train.

    In 2009, Riedlinger (the female CEO) was the highest paid charter school administrator in the city of New Orleans. In the CityBusiness 2015 article (according to IRS 990 reporting – Tax Year 2012), Mickey Landry of Choice Foundation was #1 ($245,000) with Riedlinger, #2 ($236,113), not including funds and perks from other sources.

    Either most New Orleanians have very short attention spans or they do not care about anything until it becomes personally relevant to their own existence. According to Maslow, they are way too needy and can care only about themselves. Within this perspective, the middle class and the poor in this city share common ground.
    The rich have the money and the resources so they don’t give a damn.

  • midcitysoccer

    as a recent transplant, i don’t know much about the public schools here. except that they supposedly suck with the exception of a handful which I understand actually represent (more or less) the racial diversity of the city such as Lusher and BF. why such outrage over a 50/50% black/white population in a school in a city that’s roughly 50/50% black/white. we should applaud that the racial breakdown of a magnet school’s population represents the racial break down of the city, when the only criteria for admission is test scores and parental involvement. Given how competitive it is to get your kids into Lusher, given the paucity of other good public schools, and given the cost of private schools, its no surprise that sophisticated (black and white) parents fight tooth and nail to give their kids a chance. I think the real problem or source of jealousy or resentment among parents including the author’s is that they’re kids weren’t qualified for admission to an elite magnet school and will either have to suffer through our ailing public school system or spend 4-20k per year on private schools. But that is reflective of the kid’s inherent nature (painful to parents I know) and not some crooked system. We need to make a choice: do we want bright kids with involved parents to excel in a magnet school, or do we (out of resentment) want to bring those kids down and make Luscher another failing school. i attended a mid-tier college and a very high-tiered grad school. i was bored in college. I was challenged in grad school; my world view changed as I exchanged ideas and thoughts with our bright students,. it was the most amazing experience of my life. Question is: is it better to harness a bright kid down to failing school levels or allow him to thrive in a magnet school. I dont trust the OPSB to do anything about public schools except to make sure the “DBE” policy is enforced to benefit their families, friends and supporters. .

  • allison1

    “If knowing the name of an assessment gives you an advantage in an admissions process, it’s a terrible admissions process.”
    What is your opinion about using the SAT as a measure for entrance into public universities as well as the Common App for universities? Students with access to prep courses as well as access to consultants, some of whom actually write essays for students, gain a clear advantage on this entrance exam. Interested to hear thoughts on this.

  • nickelndime

    Ask Sheila Nelson, the underpaid principal of the “lower” (elementary) Lusher school campus what the name of the admissions test is. Then request to see a copy of (your) child’s test protocol and the scoring criteria for the admission matrix. Then, to top it off, ask Sheila (the principal) if she would make a copy of the test (your child’s) for you. Ha! Sheila will need a tranquilizer after this encounter. Ms. Nelson used to work at Franklin Elementary and she was in charge of admissions when she “sold her soul” to the Devil (hired by Riedlinger).

    My ASP (that’s my pet snake ASP) is off the chair and rolling on the floor. If that doesn’t work, see if you can get THE LENS to make a “public records request” to the Custodian of Records/charter board president. Forget the Attorney General being on the public’s side. Buddy was paid off a long time ago. 06/09/2015 8:02 PM DST USA

  • Kathleen Schott Espinoza

    Thank you Jason for your efforts here to reveal blatant hypocrisy. I hope you prevail in the election in the fall to defeat an architect of this failed system, Mr. Roemer, and to win a seat on the state’s school board.

  • Uptown Dad

    Oh My, we have gotten everyone all worked up.

    We definately should bring down the qualilty of the top public schools in the city, lets make them all failing schools! Wake up people, drop the conspiracy therories.

    I have a child at Lusher, we went through the process as well as the process at ISL, Audubon and one other (the name escapes me at the moment). Yes the process at Lusher is complicated, so what, you do not need to be wealthy or white to work through it. You need to be committed to getting your kid in and yes your child will be tested. Again, so what. It is a high performing selective school AND there is also a small district – yeap there is a district for Lusher too. Lusher (the lower school) has been around way longer than the charter movement and even the magnet movement. It has always been a different school – but always a top school. Lusher gets the same amount per child as most school and less money than many school and still turns out top students.

    The Kindergarten “test” ask a kindergartner what the test was. It’s an evaluation – read a bit, talk a bit, do some other tasks. And it is not the SAT or ACT it is a evalation that if you know the details you could prep your child.

    Why all the meetings and parental involvement to get in? One of the reasons schools like Lusher are so successful is because they have parents that are involved. Go to a Lusher parent teacher night and you will see 90+ % of the parents there – If applicable both parents! Other public School are Lucky to get a few parents to show up foy anything!

    Do the Administrators get paid well – yeap. As long as they keep performing, they should be.

    A few have mentioned Tulane and the Fortier site and Lusher’s expansion to that campus and having a High School. I don’t remember the recent Fortier being a steller school, i actually rememeber the problems with crime and a staggering drop out rate. So why is it bad that a top University has paired up with a top elementar school to add a Top notch high school to the New Orleans Market.

    I guess the basic question is should we have selective schools at all. Sorry folks the answer is yes! We need the Harvards just as much as we need the UNOs and Delgados. And before you throw the public money topic at me all Universities get gov’t funding in various souurces.

    I think instead of beinng upset about Lusher and the other high performing selective school your energy would be better spent on tryong to get the rest of the schools and the rest of the schools’ parents to emulate the success of the top schools.

    Now let the bashing beguin!

  • crossdotcurve

    First question on the Lusher admissions test: Does your Mom or Dad’s e-mail address end with “”? Yes? You’re in! Welcome to our “public” school.

  • gwendeleon

    What are the statistical chances that twins, who do not live in the Lusher “district,” are not children of Tulane employees, did not “test in,” and are not siblings of already enrolled students, would both “win the lottery” and make it into a kindergarten class that has about 100 spots with in-district residents, siblings, perfect scorers and children of Tulane employees getting priority?

  • Kathleen Schott Espinoza

    Mr. Landry, Is it possible she was referring to the Kindergarten readiness assessment that all entering Kindergarterners in Louisiana are required by the LDE to take?

  • Lee Barrios

    peter, Peter, Peter…. at it again.

  • Tara Madden

    The process is not transparent. Thank you for drawing attention to this and all the schools outside OneApp. We also need to look into Child Search and screening for gifted at pre4 level.

  • Lee Barrios

    Midcitysoccer. – You are obviously correct, you don’t know much about the public schools here.

    As for Jacob Landry, you sow what you reap. There is an underlying reason why you have written this piece and I have no doubt we’ll soon find out.

  • Jason France

    Perhaps you would care to elaborate on the circumstances that surrounded your firing from LDOE (overseeing charters) in the wake of a bribery scandal under your watch, Jacob? I’m sure many of your readers would find the details about what was going on at Abramson and Kennilworth much more obscene and disturbing.

  • Lee Barrios

    “Lusher gets the same amount per child as most school and less money than many school and still turns out top students.” Incorrect and so is your understanding of public school law. You just don’t even have a basic understanding.

  • Lee Barrios

    Gwendeleon – the chances depend on who you know.

  • disqus_pn1er9XdzT

    Jacob Landry did not create Lusher Charter School, or any of the other selective schools (or non-selective schools who don’t participate in OneApp so they can select their kids). Jacob Landry helped create a system of open-enrollment charter schools that serve 90% of the population in New Orleans. The 10 schools he writes about don’t pretend to serve that population. They are the schools that weren’t failing in 2005 because they select their kids. And many of them claim they are open-enrollment, yet they have required in-person meetings and multiple deadlines for parents. They are claiming they are a public school for all when really they have several methods of selecting out their students. THESE are the schools where principals have come up with strategies for keeping undesirable (read “poor” and “special ed”) kids out. These are the same schools that lobbied not to enter the OneApp because they wanted to select students that would “benefit their school.”

  • Beth

    Only ony one twin needs to win the lottery. If other passes test, he or she gets in.

  • nickelndime

    OneApp won’t solve all of the equity and transparency problems inherent in selective-admissions public schools, but if the OPSB would have done its job properly after Katrina (when given the chance), it would have cited Louisiana Charter School Law and not have allowed Lusher, Franklin High, Audubon, Lake Forest, etc. to become Type 3 conversion charter schools. The OPSB should have adopted a workable timetable and allowed these schools to continue to be direct-run, “magnet” schools, and then this whole conversation would be much more manageable. Instead, CEOs are being paid $300,000 salaries for maintaining the status quo. OPSB public schools are being run like a caste system, and the very children (at-risk, poverty-level), that Louisiana Charter School Law was supposed to help, are still being “shafted” by the OPSB. Fix it, OPSB. Stop opening up more charter schools. Usdin has made enough money, and Padian needs to find a job with the RSD. U.S. Attorney Kenny Polite needs to start indicting the ones who are triple dipping and violating the code of governmental ethics. 06/09/2015 10:48 PM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    The last time there was an open conversation (in an OPSB business meeting), and the agenda item touched on the possibility of all OPSB-authorized charter schools participating in OneApp, Board Counsel Ed Morris stopped it when Lee Reid, Esq. of Adams and Reese, LLP, (who also does work for the Eastbank Charter Collaborative) said, “There will be litigation.” And we haven’t heard about that topic since. 06/09/2015 10:55 PM DST USA

  • liveoak

    IQ tests are not expressly prohibited in state law. They are used every day — in fact their use is mandated — in school district evaluations to assess possible giftedness and intellectual disabilities. The actual full scale IQ score cannot be reported, but other details of the scores can be reported (e.g., percentile rank). Are the they banned in public school admissions testing? I don’t know. I hope so, but I know they are not outright banned.

  • musicman495

    Don’t understand the personal attacks on Jacob Landry. The admissions process and operation of Lusher are either a transparent and proper use of taxpayer money or they aren’t. And judging from the response of the Lusher administrators, I would say they think they have something to hide. Where Mr. Landry works or sends his child to school may or may not indicate bias on his part, but ultimately are irrelevant. “Shooting the messenger” is the oldest dodge in the book for those who do not want to respond to the real issues at hand. I am glad this column has raised these issues.

  • Lynette Jazzyme Johns-Major

    I think Lusher is a Grrrreat school. The problem is bigger than this matter. It is just ridiculous how difficult it is to get your child in school period both public and private in the city of New Orleans, LA. It was never this political and please don’t get me started about the STUPID promotional exams…LEAP & PAARC. All the school systems need re-structuring and not under this Ideal of keeping all schools-Nationally on one accord. I am all for a strong educational system but its not working in New Orleans

  • gwendeleon

    No, there is a special test at Lusher. The child’s grade on the test is given a certain number of points which go towards the matrix score. If the child has a perfect score on the test, they automatically have a seat without having to go into the lottery. The matrix score is comprised of components, half of which is the text score. The other half are things the parents must do — write an essay on why arts are important in education and attend a curriculum meeting. Except when the child aces the test, the child has to have a minimum matrix score in order to make it into the lottery. My child is going into kindergarten at another charter, and did not have to take any test at all. So, as far as I am aware, there is currently no readiness assessment test that all entering kindergarteners are required to take at this time.

  • Susan

    How wonderful to see Cook, a John White wannabe, tumble over his words when criticized. And he really thinks his opinions matter to those other than himself. Brahahaha…thanks for a morning laugh.

  • nickelndime

    Despite the propaganda and PR hype, New Orleans is not a model of educational reform. It is a model for HOW NOT TO BEHAVE. Louisiana Charter School Law has been misapplied and public money has been misappropriated (stolen), and if the Feds had any b#LL$ (instead of tic tacs), it would stop excusing this system to continue as it is. Do your gaddam job, Kenny Polite, and if Polite can’t get it done, get your facts together and give em (all of them) to the FBI. There’s plenty wrong. 06/10/2015 9:33 AM DST USA

  • Uptown Dad

    Ms. Barrios

    Let me clarify my point, Lusher gets the same or less funds from the Orleans Parish Taxes. Lusher and many other schools get various grants from private and government entities. These are grants they apply for and recieve benefit from. These grants, I may add, are also regulated and governed by both state and federal laws. Charter schools due to their non-profit status also must go through independent audits. For confirmation and verification of this you could look to the Cowen Institute report dated September 2011, or the Louisiana department of Education financial reports for ANY year, or the financial Audit from Lusher’s governing organization, or the OPSB financial audit from any year.

    Does Lusher, Hynes, Audubon, Ben Franklin etc. spend more on the student per student? Yeap, Is that mony coming out of the pockets of New Orleans Taxes – NOPE. These School raise money through grants, partnerships etc. If anything the Tax payers of New Orleans are getting a hell of a good deal for their tax dollars with the top performing Charter Schools.

    And, nothing personal, but, I can asure you, I know far more about Public School Law than you

  • nickelndime

    If you give the robber the keys to the store, s/he won’t have to break in. There are a lot of keys floating around this city. It’s amoral, but legal. 06/10/2015 9:41 AM DST USA

  • Uptown Dad

    Musicman. I may not agree with you on your position with Lusher’s process. But I agreed with you on the shot the messanger, when comments turn to personal attacks – any credibility goes right out the window. We need more reporters or investigative reports diving into issues across the board.

    If a process is valid it can withstand critisism and even Court Challenges.

    Stop shooting the messenger

  • Uptown Dad

    Nope – Many “in the Know” and influential people don’t get their kids in Lusher, Ben Franklin, Adubon etc. There have even been Tulane affiliate and siblings that did bot get in. I understand you position but I don’t see anything to support it.

    Again, why should we not have a few schools that are selective, picking the best kids? Why is this bad? We should hold back the brightest kids? I remember pre Katrina when Ben Franklin was moving to the UNO campus the same bashing was taking place. instead of bringing the top schools down, why not bring the bottom schools up?

  • Uptown Dad

    Nope – There have been Tulane affiliate and siblings that did not get in. Look to the Tulane Human Capital website as well as the Lushe application.

    Another misunderstanding about the process

  • Kathleen Schott Espinoza

    I agree. The problem is Louisiana Charter School law. Period. That we would have the OPSB competing with the RSD and children from Lusher competing with children from Bricolage is inhumane, all the while the taxpayers are footing the entire bill for this civil war. This is a points game propped up by standardized tests that give the LDE ammunition for their war while individual schools scramble to respond to the rules of the game. If you’re a parent and you just want to walk out of your front door in the morning and put your child on a school bus that takes her to a neighborhood school or walk your child to her school you’re out of luck. That America (in Louisiana) doesn’t exist anymore. The LDE doesn’t care about community it cares about efficiency. Whether or not that efficiency has to do with actually educating every child is up for debate.

  • RJ

    You’re correct in that J. Landry is a TFA alum and got his start at the LDOE because Pastorek “lurrrvvveed” him some pseudo-educators because they were young, inexperienced, and said “yes” to whatever stupidity he came up with w/o enough sense to know the long-term consequenes of their “rheeforms.” I believe he was involved in developing the 2 failed La. Race to the Bottom applications. He’s definitely not the education reform expert he wants us to think he is.

    Now, on this issue, I have to agree with him – these charter schools are public schools – they take public money, many of their teachers are involved in a public retirement system, they use public facilities. Therefore, the name of their admissions test is a matter of public record. The charter documents need to be amended to provide for a more open admissions process to allow for greater diversity. That was the whole point of charter schools in the 1st place, right? Provide a better, more innovative education for ALL students with less funding and fewer regulations. Ha! That hasn’t exactly been the case, and as Stephanie points out, many of these so-called reforms that were shoved down everyone’s throats have, by now, proven not to work. The “new normal” can certainly be replaced with a “NEW, new normal” that is driven by experienced educators and a common sense approach.

    And, no. I’m not a UTNO member, nor a member of any teacher membership organization. Evoking the bad boogie-man- “unions” – serves absolutely no purpose – other than to conjure up an image of a petulant child who knows he’s been bested and can only throw out a tepid insult.

  • stephanie anders

    TFA is the best union money can buy. No labor union in the country does as much for its members as TFA. That is why these underqualified, inexperienced folks have gotten into these high-paying positions of power in the first place.

  • disqus_pn1er9XdzT

    Every parent can choose their neighborhood school. No, you don’t get a guarantee at that school if you show up the first day of school, but if you apply during the OneApp window you are pretty much going to get a spot. The only exceptions to this are the 10 schools not participating in OneAp and selective schools. You don’t get a spot at Lusher just because you live down the block because it’s a selective school. But the vast majority of schools (50+) in New Orleans are not selective and, if you’re a parent, you can elect to put any of them as your first choice. This is a dumb debate over “neighborhood” vs. “charter” schools. We have both in this city.

  • stephanie anders

    I don’t disagree with his claim that charter schools and their tests should be transparent because they are public. Hey, I am for more transparency for EVERYONE funded by taxpayer money. However, I do find it funny that Jacob feels like he should be the one writing an op-ed to the Lens about it. Oh, the GALL of these folks. So…..TFA of him…..never humble, always swooping in to save the day, unable to critically reflect on his own contributions to this system (no cognitive dissonance happening AT ALL), first touting his own accomplishments to show us that he really was just working so hard “for the children”…but friends, he can redeem himself. He could become a champion for more transparency in ALL charter schools, and put that privilege to good use and convince his TFA and LDOE cronies that ALL schools and nonprofit organizations receiving public money should be more transparent–about data, funding, salaries, the list goes on. He could start with his buddy John White and the RSD.

  • stephanie anders

    You mean that same system of open-enrollment charter schools that have such a hard time being transparent about their test scores, suspensions/expulsions, salaries, etc.? That system?

  • nickelndime

    Last year, when “points” were being input into the admission matrices of a few “select” charter schools, (OPSB selective-admission, BESE-Type 2, and a few “open-admission” (?!) RSD charters), (T)iers were being assembled, subtotals were being calculated, siblings were being counted, and lotteries were being conducted, a lot of readers and bloggers were on “pins and needles” and were commenting on THE LENS almost daily.

    Now you can hear insects trilling – almost complete silence. What’s the difference? Have most of the parents gotten the message that calling attention to themselves and their children’s “school” (their good fortune, right moves, parental participation, luck of the lottery, and/or whatever else they have going for them) AND possibly riling up powerful CEOs/administrators – may be dangerous to their children’s academic futures – in some cases, all the way thru high school?

    Take a look at the total number of children enrolled in the handful of “popular” schools in New Orleans public education (OPSB and RSD) and compare it with the total number of public school students who do not attend these schools.

    The exercise of parental choice is NOT the primary reason why at-risk (poverty level) students are in the minority at these schools. What we have here is an uneven “playing” field – and this is NOT the kind of lesson we should be showing (“don’t do as I do, do…”) to children – all the children. 06/10//2015 7:43 PM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    Maybe OCR might want to consider using “Mystery Parents” who can “test” the fairness of the admissions process in the handful of “popular” charter schools in New Orleans. It may be too late this year, but there is always next year. Oh well, so much public money (billions)…what’s another ten years in the life of a child. Geeze – that doesn’t sound right – does it! 06/10/2015 8:06 PM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    I think that some parents are being “made aware of” what test is being administered to Lusher applicants! Who wants to be a “Mystery Parent”? No, Silly. It can’t be Jacob. That didn’t work. 06/10/2015 8:13 PM DST USA

  • Uptown Dad

    I like all the facts and specifics you site to – oh, my bad – nothing here but the same rhetoric. But you are correct it is not parental choiceis not the primary reason at risk students fail. It is gross lack of parental involvement. Yes, the school system is in bad shape, the top schools are not the problem – maybe focus your attention and effort on helping the low performing school improve and maybe get the parents of the at risk kids start show some interest in their kids.

    Bash away

  • nickelndime

    Hold up! Hold up!, “Uptown…”. I am going to give you yo propers in that you are commenting at all (given that you admittedly have a child enrolled at Lusher).

    Something (maybe it’s my crystal ball – although I am far from being a Gypsy) tells me that you are atypical (“Gee, that’s too bad, Loretta”), which also leads me to believe any one of the following about you: (1) You didn’t get “the message” (Jesus H. Holy Christ – how could you have missed a call from The Devil?!) (2) You are “more” than a message – from anybody, somebody, or anything; (3) You may be a “novice,” but I don’t think so; (4) You got yo “ducks in a row” and don’t give a damn. (You might have money waiting for you – to which you believe you are owed, but you have not been able to claim it yet); (Beware, I am psychic. Please. I do not want to see you on the Crime Channel.)

    I wasn’t quite finished, but my ASP (that’s my pet snake ASP is biting at the bit and I’ve got to keep him muzzled). Please, do not say “LaToya…” Geeze, Louise,” Mitch, “get down on yo knees” – it ain’t like you ain’t been down there before boy, all prayerful like in your altar boy outfit – wink wink.

    Moving on, I am on yo side, “Uptown Dad.” I am not a messenger (surely not the “Uptown Messenger,” cuz we all should know by now that any prophet, who is really worth anything, cannot preach to the people in his hometown).

    06/10/2015 11:33 PM DST USA

  • James Finney

    Does anyone else find it ironic that the former “head of the charter schools office at the Louisiana Department of Education”is getting resistance to a public records request?

  • nickelndime

    Hold up! Hold up!, “Uptown…”. I am going to give you yo propers in that you are commenting at all (given that you admittedly have a child enrolled at Lusher).

    Something (maybe it’s my crystal ball – although I am far from being a Gypsy) tells me that you are atypical (“Gee, that’s too bad, Loretta”), which also leads me to believe any one of the following about you: (1) You didn’t get “the message” (Jesus H. Holy Christ – how could you have missed a call from The Devil?!)..

  • nickelndime

    Well, yeah, I agree with you, “James Finney,” but Jacob needs to put the public records request in the correct format (over the phone won’t work) or it won’t fly. Do you have any idea which law firm represents the Lusher nonprofit charter board? Riedlinger (thanks to all the B$ in this city) is better protected than the president of the United States – and she sure as hell is making more money. This is Louisiana. It doesn’t get more corrupt than this (in this country), but the rest of the nation has to have a place to dump trash. 06/10/2015 11:49 PM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    Jacob cannot go “toe to toe” with a public records request with the law firm that represents the Lusher nonprofit board. That’s why Jacob needs to go to the Lusher (lower school campus) as a concerned parent and ask to see “his child’s” test protocol. And I would suggest that Jacob bring his “minister” and his “attorney” with him. Sheila Nelson will need a tranquilizer, but maybe now is the right time for a wake-up call – for everybody! 06/11/2015 12:13 AM DST USA

  • Lee Barrios

    Uptown – no one is advocating bringing the top schools down. First of all we are talking about public schools funded by taxpayers that are required by law to serve all children equitably. There are limited funds to do that. We should be determining how to improve all schools. St. Tammany has an excellent gifted program and honors, AP etc classes for high performers in all its schools. What do you mean by ” bringing top schools down”? Test scores right? Bogus accountability system manipulated by John White. Brightest kids? There are plenty of “bright kids” that haven’t been identified as such or who simply need the same kind of opportunities that “influential people’s children” have.

  • Lee Barrios How about identifying yourself and letting us know where to find these independent audits without a public infonrequest which would probably result in more vitriole from Ms. Reidlinger.

  • Paul Cheramie

    Pete, I like how your argument devolved into union bashing and sterotyping! Bravo on not addressing the comments! And Stephanie Anders, huzzah to being a union member and a teacher. Your opinion matters in this discussion.

  • You’re right, Paul – let’s all hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Thanks for helping me see the light!

  • “No labor union in the country does as much for its members as TFA.” Well, keep paying your dues. Seems like you’re getting your money’s worth.

  • What can I say? Old habits die hard. Lee – kinda like running for BESE.

  • nickelndime

    Hahaha! Good one, “Susan” to “Lee.” Actually, nobody really “wants” to be John White, not even John White. Wait, I take that back. Paul Pastorek wants to be John White. Paul cries himself to sleep every night for getting himself kicked out of the state superintendency. Not even his friend Sean O’Keefe could help Paul in the end. Don’t ever believe that Pastorek “chose” to resign a “power and money” position in this corrupt state. 06/11/2015 9:29 AM DST USA

  • Paul Cheramie

    Now Pete, I know you don’t mean that.

  • Lee Barrios

    Hahaaaaa! Yeh you right! I am willing to go through this a second time because it is so important for people like us to step up and do more than just complain or bully others. What’s in YOUR WALLET Peter?

  • Lee Barrios

    Ray – And no One in his right mind who knows anything about this reform debacle can look at the top name and on that list and “Believe” anything that comes out of that group – Steve Barr. One of the biggest thieves in reform history. He was brought here to destroy the McDonogh dream and in the process did irreparable damage to the students.

  • A Capital One card, of course!

  • disqus_qtvF4sydqM

    At its last business meeting the OPSB voted that the Deputy Supt. would begin reporting to Dr. Lewis

  • nickelndime

    “disqus_qtv…” has reported today (June 11) that “At its last business meeting the OPSB voted that the Deputy Supt. would begin reporting to Dr. Lewis.”

    How did I miss that? Maybe when my ASP (that’s my pet snake ASP) fell off the chair and I went down to get him!

    Holy Crap! Can you give me the specifics? Did Usdin leave the table or abstain from voting? GUFFAW!

    This might also “explain” (i.e., reporting to Lewis) why Rosalynne Dennis (the “Acting CAO” – because “Stan the Man” lacked the proper professional education credentials) RESIGNED AFTER 42 years…11 months…and 13 days, BECAUSE YOU SEE, Rosalynne hasn’t actually reported to anyone for the last 40 years — and she sure as hell isn’t about to start now!!! (Loud nasal snorting laugh and getting ready to roll on the floor).
    06/11/2015 12:03 PM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    Justice and Beyond NOLA believes that Henderson Lewis, Jr. is “poised” to create a complete charter system for the Orleans Parish School District and effectively dismantle the Central Office.

    On a strict timeline, all direct-run Orleans Parish schools will become charters. 06/11/2015 12:31 PM DST USA

    Here’s a glimpse:

    Pat Bryant, Co-Moderator Justice and Beyond

    Rumors are circulating around the Orleans Parish Schools that Dr. Henderson Lewis ,the newly hired OPSB superintendent, may turn the New Orleans Public Schools into a complete charter system without actually chartering the six remaining traditional, direct-run schools. Eighty-five central office staff and maybe more will be fired to transfer funds to charter schools by June 30.

    This action would create the nation’s first all charter school system and would also

  • nickelndime

    Oh! Oh! Rosalynne Dennis may have resigned, but it looks as though she was going to get “canned” anyway! This is what happens when the Orleans Parish School Board chooses “local.” They all go crazy in the end. It’s in the air. 06/11/2015 2:28 PM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    Surprisingly (or maybe NOT), Henderson Lewis, Jr. ‘s PowerPoint presentation to the OPSB Finance Committee today (June 11) has the same two words, EQUITY and TRANSPARENCY in the title, same as Mr. Landry’s article! I do believe I smell a RAT or TWO.

    Damn, Lee Barrios, you are on the ball, Girl. I knew you were smart, but this is too much (remembered your earlier comment).

    My ASP and I think that Rosalynne Dennis has been reaping a lot of benefits (and then some) over the past 42 years, but now WE don’t blame her ASP (her ASP, not my beloved ASP) for resiging in the wake of this B$ coming from the “new” Academic Superintendent, Henderson Lewis, Jr.

    Now the guy wants to expand the Orleans Parish Charter Office. Holy Batcrap, Batman – we must be back in Gotham – again. As if the Deputy Superintendent of Charter Schools, Karhleen Padian, doesn’t have enough underlings under her doing her job.

    06/11/2015 5:24 PM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    Neither Jacob Landry nor THE LENS have to bother with a public records request – MISSION ACCOMPLISHED – to get to Lusher (the test name, for example). Lee Barrios touched on the real intent of the Landry article two days ago (she is quick). It is much clearer now.

    The RSD is on Riedlinger’s ASP (her ASP, not my ASP) by way of Patrick Dobard’s rockin’ dopsey twin, Henderson Lewis, Jr. “DON’T YOU LOVE IT WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER!?”

    “Holy Batcrap, Batman – that’s not the right plan.” And, in the words of THE TRIBUNE, “What are we going to do now, You All?”

    06/11/2015 5:39 PM DST USA

  • Ailuri

    Just wanted to point out – the actual population is around 67%/33% black/white. The 50/50 ratio is quite noticeably different from the city’s population.

  • Lee Barrios

    Peter Cook – I’ve been told our banter is perceived as offensive and as personal attacks so I will stop and apologize if you also saw it that way. It is imprudent I suppose to have these back and forths not Germaine to the subject. Since I don’t have your email to harass you, you’re off the hook. But keep in mind – I am watching!!

  • I know that was bizarre that we were threatened with “time out” for what I considered was our usual poking fun at each other. No need to apologize – I did not take it as offensive.

  • Kelleytimes3

    “If the child has a perfect score on the test, they automatically have a seat without having to go into the lottery.” This is incorrect. The only students that do not have to pass the test or go into the lottery are those enrolling in kindergarten that live in district. Those students still take the test btw, but their score does not influence their admission. The Lusher district is available to view on Google maps and also in the Lusher lower school office.

  • Kelleytimes3

    If you are an enrolling kindergarten student and you “live down the block,” yes you do get a spot. District students also have priority when enrolling in higher grades, however returning students have first priority, so there is no guarantee at any grade higher than K for in-district residence.

  • nickelndime

    Lusher was administering standardized tests for admissions pre-Katrina and anybody who was interested could walk in a actually see “the test” his/her child took. What’s different – besides ths fact that Riedlinger’s (the female CEO) is now $300,000 and before Katrina she was a “principal” and paid according to the NOPD Administrative Salary Schedule. Now Riedlinger is a Queen and she runs Kingdom Lusher on a mix of a whole lot of public money and money from other sources, some of which come from foundations, etc. etc. etc. 06/12/2015 6:24 PM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    THE LENS is a “cut above” all the other news sources. I find that it is fairly liberal in evaluating comments. Having said that, for the record and FWIW, WE (ASP – that’s my pet snake ASP – and I) do not find the comments and “comebacks” between Lee Barrios and Peter Cook offensive or negative. In fact, it shows us that both of these individuals have finely tuned senses of humor, and every once in a while, don’t mind playing in the mud and getting a little dirt on themselves and each other. (GUFFAW and loud snorting noises coming from “nickelndime” and his ASP). If anybody needs to be kept in line, please let me know and my ASP is willing to help. LMAspO! 06/12/2015 6:40 PM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    PLEASE DO NOT PUT LEE BARRIOS AND PETER COOK IN “TIME OUT.” They were only using “words” (written words even), and isn’t that what we are trying to get across to everyone? Express yourself “in words”? Not once, in all this time, have I (or my ASP) seen one (expletive deleted) expletive in either’s comments. Neither one has written anything about that (expletive deleted) Walt Leger, III (who will soon be THE LENS’ newsmaker guest). Neither one has asked that Walt Leger, III be brought to the 7th Ward in a limo and dropped off by the locked gate of the St. Roch Cemetery and told to “Run for it!” No reader has asked for THE LENS to delete Lee’s and/or Peter’s comments, as others have asked THE LENS to do – i.e., delete “nickelndime’s” comments. GUFFAW! and loud snorting noises in the background – LMAspO! 06/12/2015 6:59 PM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    “WRITE, DON’T BITE!” This is the rationale for a new charter school that my ASP (that’s my pet snake ASP) and I are founding, and WE plan to ask LEE BARRIOS and PETER COOK to be two of the founding board members. And this is why. Look at what “nickelndime” has to say:
    “…both of these individuals (LEE BARRIOS and PETER COOK) have finely-tuned senses of humor, and every once in a while, don’t mind playing in the mud and getting a little dirt on themselves and each other.”

    06/12/2015 7:20 PM DST USA

  • I must have completely misinterpreted your comments, and I apologize.

    I didn’t say the banter was offensive, I said it was devolving and asked you to cool it. As nickelndime can attest, we are pretty liberal in allowing people to stick their elbows out as long as it’s in the context of discussion of the issues raised in the story. This part of the conversation didn’t have anything to do with the post, and it looked like it was going to turn into name-calling.

    As you may have seen with other sites, when people comment, they take their lead from the comments that have already been posted. I think this discussion has been great — passionate and substantial. That’s what we aim for. We care about the comment threads on our stories, and that’s why on occasion we’ll step in. It’s a balancing act because we don’t want to quash discussion. Perhaps in this case I should’ve let it slide — except for the fact that this thread wasn’t germane to Landry’s post.

  • OK, you convinced me. They can go back out on the playground!

  • nickelndime

    Hahahaha! Loud snorting, muffled shrieks, wild laughing, “S-T-E-LL-A—A—A” garbled noises, crazed gypsy music, tamborines, guffawing, and yes, hissing, coming from the rain-soaked, gaslighted (lit) courtyard – Ah! Life IS good. Righteouness prevails, and tonight (for tomorrow is another day!), all is right with the world.
    “O $HIT, $ON!”
    06/12/2015 10:18 PM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    “WRITE, DON’T BITE!” Back out onto to the playground. And please, everybody watch out for my ASP! Thanks…HISS-S–S-S. 06/12/2015 10:44 PM DST USA

  • Stepmaster
  • nickelndime

    Here’s another thing WE (ASP and I) like about THE LENS. A commenter can “flag” “OH SAY CAN YOU SEE…” or “delete” his/her own comments. You’ve got to love L-O-V-E this group of hard-working professionals. Go $tevie !!!
    06/13/2015 12:33 AM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    We are watching an old Film Noir movie. BTW, the title is “Tomorrow Is Another Day,” (which happens to be a verbatim comment that was made earlier this evening). My ASP is also a fortune teller. There are two different lines that have my ASP and I on the floor and rolling: “What do you expect for a DIME?” ‘N, “I only have a NICKEL.”
    This is too good. You can’t make this kind of (expletive deleted) up anymore.
    06/13/2015 12:46 AM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    Here’s another one: “The pawnbroker gave me a good deal. A wedding ring for five bucks.”
    06/13/2015 12:56 AM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    Oh! Oh! My ASP (that’s my pet snake ASP) is looking into his crystal ball. HE sees turbulence in the Lusher Kingdom for the White Queen. A bald man from the east appears to be in the shadows. More later in a quartrain – the movie is still on. 06/13/2015 1:11 AM DST USA

  • qmtalk5

    Mr. Landry, thank you for your courage in putting forth this article. Parents are afraid to speak out against the Lusher admissions charade. I am furious that my tax dollars support an admissions system that made me feel like I’d been time warped back to “voting requirements” back in the days of segregation. It is absurd that a public school gives preference to children based on where their parents work (a private university). This alone is a huge inequity.
    Bringing down the kingdom of Lusher may take years. Fine legal minds support the kingdom. Supporters are not afraid to engage in character assassination and worse. So for the here and now, I ask, why does Lusher allow the farce of thousands of parents applying for the six or so truly open slots in kindergarten for the general public? At the very least allow us poor unconnected people in line behind those who work at Tulane, Loyola, buy or rent in the district, have a sibling at Lusher or be 5 with a 160 IQ, plus other secret categories, allow us to get a lottery number and skip the mandatory meetings, tests and such. If we win the lottery, then put us through the annoying meetings. International School’s admission process is much more open and no where near as humiliating as the Lusher process. International School does accept earlier and ask for a materials fee which can be stressful for parents who haven’t heard back from other schools. And if you get online and make a critical comment about International School there isn’t an instant angry mob. Lycee, maybe. (Joke, things got hot with Lycee for a while, but everyone is trying to make things better, so A for effort.)

    Regarding the Lusher test, pre-K kids must score impossibly high in all categories to make it above the waiting list tiers. In my community, I’ve noticed a trend that children of teachers who stayed at home with a parent tend to score high and I believe it is possible but not guaranteed to coach a bright child to excel on the Lusher test. Lusher’s test and admissions process need to be revamped now. Parents no longer have the time to waste on the Lusher moonshot. Subjecting them to this nonsense is cruel punishment.
    In an ideal world, personally I would like to see Lusher get out of the K-2 grades and become a magnet school for 3-8 grades. Children first get the grades in order to apply and take a qualifying test. Then by lottery, they are accepted. No sibling preference, no more Tulane, Loyola etc. The siblings must also get the grades and follow the same process. Systems like this exist and work in other states.

    The first step to break loose from the tyranny of Lusher admissions, is to stop with the standard responses. “Oh, you are just bitter because your child didn’t get it.” “Oh, its been that way for decades and they are too powerful to challenge.” “We got in and the process was fine. But I do work for Tulane.” It took decades of struggle to end segregation and it will take the finest legal minds to challenge and change Lusher admissions. It is the moral and right thing to do for the future of our city.

  • nickelndime

    “qmtalk5,” WOW! What an excellent analysis, with recommendations that are not only workable and fair, but could be implemented immediately if what ASP sees in his crystal ball is true “…turbulence in the Lusher Kingdom…” Could ASP, the soothsayer, be correct? Are there troubled times ahead for the White Queen? Could the “bald headed guy from the east” actually change the culture of the OPSB Kingdom and right the many wrongs that have been done for so many years?
    Yes, it is true that the White Queen’s reign has been protected for decades, and it may look impossible to unseat the queen from the Lusher throne. It will not be easy – but then, nothing worthwhile ever is.
    The White Queen will use all of her resources, including all of the millions of dollars (probably billions by now) in public money that she has been allowed to amass.
    And yes, the White Queen is protected by some of the most astute (and ruthless) legal minds (what a terrible waste) in this city. As Al Pacino (“just call me dad”/”Satan”) in THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE, says about LAW: “It’s the new priesthood, baby!”

    The bald headed guy could be “the real thing” after all. I have watched my ASP over many years. ASP’s predictions have a way of coming true. If Queen Rosalynne can throw in the towel via email after four decades, can the White Queen be far behind.
    Well!!!! Heads will certainly roll before the White Queen will let go of the scepter and the robe, but by golly, the times, they are a’ changing.

    Now, ASP and I don’t really care about Jacob’s motives or the motives of others who may be just as powerful as the White Queen, but there is one thing about which ASP and I agree. It cannot be “business as usual” in the OPSB Kingdom.

    This is war!

    06/13/2015 3:49 PM DST USA

  • Elizabeth K. Jeffers

    Lee Barrios and nickelndime were precisely correct. According to OPSB’s power point on its new Charter Bulletin “The Orleans Parish School Board is being asked to consider the final portions of a comprehensive overhaul of the district’s charter school policies, as a component of the overall Policy Manual Revision Project.” Read here for more information here:

    The proposed Charter Bulletin states: “Each new, extended, or renewed charter school operating agreement executed on or after January 1, 2012 shall include provisions requiring participation in the common enrollment system adopted by the School Board.” In other words, when Lusher, Ben Franklin High School, Audobon, Hines, Warren Easton, Karr, etc. apply to renew their charter agreement, their students will be subjected to the One App/common enrollment system. When OPSB’s direct run schools entered the OneAPP, it is my understanding, that all students were required to reapply for their seats. In other words, this will be a way for RSD to pull some of OPSB’s top performing students into RSD schools.
    Read more information here:

  • nickelndime

    Thanks, “Elizabeth J. Jeffers.” ASP and I read everything that you write. Your work is very thorough and we like your style.

    This is what we are wondering: Will the renewed operating agreements that were executed since January 2012 (operating agreements are on OPSB website) be amended to put the “old” charters, a/k/a “the OneApp Holdouts,” into the OneApp process for the following school year (after 2015-2016)? Looks like the upcoming school year is a done deal.

    If so (amending operating agreements before renewal time), ASP and I would like to reserve a front seat (my ASP sits with me) and order popcorn because we want to see Lee Reid, Esq. of Adams and Reese, LLP and Brian Riedlinger’s Eastbank Charter Collaborative sue the OPSB (as Lee Reid said they would do).

    ASP and I get impatient, and quite frankly, we don’t want to wait until 2021+ to see if the superintendent was able to persuade this group of charter schools to “cooperate.”

    06/15/2015 8:37 PM DST USA

  • Anne Mahlert Riley

    KCD, Ben Franklin High School does not keep their test a secret. This is straight from the school’s website:

    Franklin uses the IOWA Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)
    and the IOWA Test of Educational Development

  • nickelndime

    If we are looking at equity and transparency in public schools in New Orleans (which should be a priority), are we going to get it from Henderson Lewis, Jr. who appears to be a chip off the old RSD block: (1) $31,000 in office renovations, mahogany furniture, etc. etc. etc. (2) A double parking spot to fit his Mercedes Benz (3) Eliminates central office positions (4) Consultants’ fees…Somebody needs to give the bald knight a reality check, and most of us would agree that the OPSB is not good at that. 06/16/2015 6:53 PM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz. My friends all drive Porche…. I must make amends. Worked hard all my life, Lord. No help from my friends…” Go ahead, Henderson. Everybody’s watching you with your $31,000 office renovation so nobody else can hear what goes on between you and your secretary…LMAspO! You would think that these guys (and gals) on the public payroll would learn. Not so! They are blinded by money. Well, keep it up OPSB. You will answer for this one. 06/17/2015 12:46 AM DST USA

  • Reynaldo Rivas

    I have just recently come across a service which
    allows you to fill out or edit PDF forms online without having to download any
    software. I was able to print out my document and even fax it online. Please
    check this website I’m sure you will definitely find the service
    useful and easy to use

  • nickelndime

    ASP would like to know about the service that allows one to edit PDF files online. It seems that the comment was unrelated to the topic and deleted “disappeared,” BUT, according to Chaos Theory, Freud, Jung and Maslow, everything is related.

    Besides, ASP thinks that this “service” might be very helpful when he needs to show proof of “Liability” coverage, in as much as WE (my ASP and “nickelndime”) live in a trailer park, and this type of coverage is required, AND ASP’s breed (of snake) is considered dangerous. ASP is like a Pit Bull of snakes. And we should all know that Pit Bulls are sweet and it is the humans that make them mean. 06/18/2015 2:26 AM DST USA

  • Uptown Dad

    nick and the other naysayers

    You really do seem to have an ax to grind. I wish you would do a bit of fact checking. I said it before, Lusher gets the same amount of Orleans Parish Tax dollars as other schools; we should be thrilled that Lusher does so much with our tax dollars and gives us a top notch school. Maybe the question should be why are so many other schools performing so poorly? Lusher K-12 is one of the top schools in the city and state, hell pay Reitlinger more! and pay anyother pricinple, CEO, head of school just as much if they can get their school to perform.

    I think everyone is missing the boat completely. New Orleans has some of the worst schools in the state, we need to fix the problems. The problem is NOT the top performing schools. Put your efforts into fixing the multitude of problems in out public school and leave the top performers alone.

  • nickelndime

    “nick and the other naysayers…ax(e) to grind…” WE can’t find the comment. Where is it – hidden? Is that like “gladys knight and da PIPs”?

    Oh look now what you have done! ASP is off da chair and on da floor and he can’t catch his breath.

    For the record, there are a couple of weak links in the LUSHER chain (who believe that the public should know what test is being administered to the public’s children). One is Lower School principal (who actually works for her salary) – Sheila Nelson – but forget that (expletive deleted) AP who thinks she is “entitled” and on the same page as Riedlinger. She is (deleted) and doesn’t know (deleted), but can swing a golf club.

    Another weak link is over at the OPSB, and WE ain’t gonna tell you who that is, but that individual has “conflicting” interests/loyalities. You figure that one out.

    06/23/2015 2:40 AM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    99 comments – and counting. Go ahead wit yo bad self(s), THE LENS and MARTA JEWSON. You are like “gladys knight ‘n da PIPS.” ASP is the PIP on the right. He is wearing a wig.

    ASP is on dat 12-hour back-2-back shift Madrid time (dat Mssy Usdin will not apprecinate), but ASP does not let anything ride OR slide (goes all the way back to The Garden of Edwin – hold up hold up – dat is a past Governor of the State of Louisiana… WE WOULD LIKE TO GIVE OUR CASE A REST, yo honore’).

    Humans – what you gonna do with them!? rhetorical – post a comment – an answer won’t count. WE cant’s seem to find a testing (We mean, a Resting) place.

    Nail the LUSHER CEO.

    06/23/2015 4:58 AM DST USA

  • Shivesh Puri

    Hey Jacob,

    Thanks for this insightful piece. I teach at a KIPP school in the city and am currently working at an ed-policy organization in DC for the summer. I am constantly thinking about how we can build a more equitable system of schools for all kids in New Orleans.

    The idea of incorporating selective admissions schools into the OneApp process is enticing: opening up these high-performing schools to a wider swath of kids, especially minority kids from low-income backgrounds, could improve educational outcomes and begin reversing some generational trends in poverty. This concept underpins school choice and I generally agree with it.

    However, I have lately been wondering how successful one of my kids would be at one of these high performing schools. Are these schools high performing because of their innovative instructional practices, or because of the backgrounds of the kids they admit? And even if they do innovate around instruction, would these innovations serve my kids well? Would one of my kids, who struggles to achieve academically due to their material conditions, flourish in a setting where most people do not look like them or share their background?

    And this gets to a deeper more fundamental question: do kids in poverty learn differently than more affluent kids and require different types of instruction? Research suggests they do. If this is the case, one might reason that we should focus our energies on building high quality schools that can serve kids who live in poverty.

    This tension between choice on one hand and quality on the other has been central to the battle over urban ed reform for decades. Some say, “Open up the school system to choice so that kids’ zip codes don’t determine the quality of their education. Not only will this expand access to high quality schools, it will force other schools to improve through competition!” Others say, “Prioritize improving quality close to home. Families should not be burdened with sending their kids across the city for a shot at a decent education. We need good schools in our neighborhoods!”

    Regardless, I in no way disagree with you that Lusher, as a publicly funded entity, should be transparent and more accessible to the public. I would even love for some of my kids to have the opportunity to attend Lusher. I was just hoping to hear your thoughts regarding the benefits of “air dropping” low-income minority students into high-performing schools that serve mostly affluent white children.

    Thanks again for the thoughtful piece!

  • nickelndime

    Geeze, Jacob. ASP and I hope you respond to “Shivesh Puri.” WE don’t know if Shivesh is related to the Puris in New Orleans, but the Puris are some of the finest individuals WE have had the pleasure of encountering in this gawd4saken city. WOW! 06/25/2015 12:48 AM DST USA

  • Shivesh Puri

    Most likely independent of the Puris you know in New Orleans, but thanks for the upvote!

  • Andree Roques

    When you have finished eating your mushrooms and drinking your Kool-Aid, I suggest you rethink the above commentary on public school policy in NOLA. You have absolutely no knowledge of or experience with how things operate in this fine city where haves-have and have-nots-haven’t. If for one moment you think that only bright kids with able and informed parents should be able to get into places like Lusher, you should go back to Nazi Germany and join the Fuhrer. By the way, when you speak about yourself using the pronoun “I” you should capitalize. Always. Maybe it is a good thing, for you, that whatever college accepted you did not first ask for a grammatically correct essay.

  • Andree Roques

    In case you are not familiar with Benjamin Franklin Elementary Mathematics and Science School, we do in fact have a Pre-K 3/4 gifted class. You can go through Child Search at the OPSB office if you wish to test into the class, if we even have a spot for you. We have not been a magnate school since Katrina, although some would lead you to believe otherwise. We were the first public school to reopen its doors after Katrina. We were accepting children from everywhere, regardless to their test scoring abilities. We have since opted to keep our doors open to children from the Orleans area no matter how they scored on a “test” because we believe all children deserve the best in education. Sure schools like Lusher have a place in New Orleans if for no other reason than to remind you that it does matter who you are and where you come from.

  • Andree Roques

    Please tell me why Lusher is such a “Grrrreat” school. I am dying to hear what you have to say on the matter. Your opinion means a lot to me and could possibly make the difference between me trying to prostitute myself to try to send my child to Lusher or simply apply to the neighborhood school within the district I live. So please, for the love of God, why is it so great? Make me understand, like your life depends on it.

  • Andree Roques

    It is probably a good thing Lusher is not also testing the parent’s mental acuity. Just saying.

  • nickelndime

    Damn! “Andree Roques” is brutal. Andree makes my ASP look like a “pet” snake. Oh, that’s right, ASP is my pet snake. And yes, Franklin “Baby Ben” Elementary was one of the first OPSB public schools to reopen after Katrina, but the OPSB (expletive deleted) that up and when the principal Christine Mitchell called the former employees “back to work,” she aided and abetted the dysfunctional OPSB and didn’t call everybody back. Then Christine became the CEO at McDonogh City Park Academy Charter and (expletive deleted) that up too. Now ReNEW and Gary Robichaux have their chance of (expletive deleted) up yet another “portfolio” charter school.
    BTW, with the new superintendent, how much time do you think Principal Charlotte Matthews has left over at Franklin Elementary? 07/07/2015 6:30 PM DST USA

  • Dee

    I can’t agree that International School’s process is more open and less humiliating. When we were applying kindergarten for my son (he’s 13 now), he supposedly “passed” their exam but they didn’t feel he was “right” for the school. It was all code for “he was really distracted and oh, no he may have ADHD and we certainly don’t want that here.” It was humiliating to “pass” but still be denied. I could have fought it but who wants their child to go somewhere that they aren’t wanted?

  • nickelndime

    Absolutely agree with you, “Dee,” in your response to “qmtalk5.” And these other “selective-admission” charters continue to cherry pick among students, even as they pass themselves off as “open-admission” charter schools. The RSD, BESE and the OPSB “ignore the truth” about what goes on.
    OneApp isn’t going to fix it. The real “hold outs” are the schools that pick and choose behind closed doors – even when the schools participate in OneApp.

    If you look at the list of schools and available seats, you will soon reach the conclusion that there is nothing fair and equitable about public education in New Orleans, and for that matter, perhaps nowhere in this country. Yet billions of dollars in public education money is squandered in the name of providing students with equal education opportunities. It just isn’t so, and it goes all the way to the top at the federal level.
    07/08/2015 5:11 PM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    Kathleen Padian, Deputy Superintendent of Charter Schools for the OPSB, will be off of the public payroll come September. But really, why should yo’ girl get extra time on the district payroll – she has feathered her nest enough. Let the State-RSD put her on their payroll. “Securing buildings”… and please do not tell us what Padian is doing with regard to the latest OPSB-approved charters – Foundation Prep is one of “them.”

    This is the business yo’ girl Padian was in (before she was on the nola180 board that expletive-deleted Langston Hughes and $600,000 was embezzled by the BISness Manager under the leadership of John Alford, Sarah Usdin’s New Schools for New Orleans’ protege’) before she got put into the position she currently enjoys. Thank you, Lourdes Moran. Jimmy was drinking. WE understand. September is way too late. Get rid of the LADY ASAP. 07/12/2015 2:17 AM DST USA

  • NOLA_Darling

    What Mr. Landry has failed to acknowledge is that the charter school admissions process is rigged at the pre-school level. Those top-rated charters that don’t use admissions tests to screen applicants use their pre-school programs to pre-fill their kindergarten seats with children who have either been deemed “gifted” or have parents with the means to pay $350+/month for preschool.