Parents have few options when moving kids from failing public schools — The Lens | The No Child Left Behind Act mandates that children at failing schools are afforded the option of attending a better school. However, the transfer options for such students in New Orleans are little better — or in some cases, just as bad— as the failing schools they are already attending. What’s a parent to do?
jewel bush: Sarah T. Reed senior scores high marks for organizing efforts to save his school — Uptown Messenger | A profile of student Myron Miller’s work to prevent closure of his school, and the lessons he has learned as an up-and-coming young organizer.
Batiste Cultural Arts Academy — Turnaround Arts Initiative | Batiste Academy is featured as a success story on the President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities “Turnaround Arts” site. “Building on the inspirational teaching of the Batiste family and vibrant cultural history of New Orleans, the school will hire four additional full time visual arts teachers in the first year of Turnaround Arts.”
Drilling Deeper: The Wealth of Business Connections for Obama’s Energy Pick – ProPublica | President Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Energy, MIT professor Ernest Moniz, has “spent the last decade serving on a range of boards and advisory councils for energy industry heavyweights, including some that do business with the Department of Energy.” While it’s commonplace for Energy Secretaries to have such ties, this part is worth a highlight: Moniz’s experience “includes a six-year paid stint on BP’s Technology Advisory Council.”
Five Katrinas A Decade? Warming Projected To Boost Extreme Storm Surges Ten-Fold — ThinkProgress | It stands to reason that rising temperatures will mean warmer Gulf waters, and correspondingly nastier hurricanes. But the image of Katrina-strength storms forming on a regular basis is frightening.
Draft bill to speed Corps of Engineers work offered by Vitter and Boxer — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | “Given the growing influences of fiscal conservatives in the Republican Party, and new congressional rules that make it impossible to draw support for legislation by earmarking projects in members’ states and districts, passage [of the bill] won’t be easy.”
Accused killer had history of second chances — The Advocate | “‘This is a sad case because it shows how a very bad person can fall through the criminal justice cracks and get chance after chance after chance,” said Joe Long, an attorney for [a previous victim’s] family. ‘There are a lot of people that deserve second chances, but this man is not one of them.'”
PSC may flip-flop on prison phone rates at Wednesday meeting, ex-chairman fears — The Lens | Criminal Justice reporter Tom Gogola continues to follow this story about the high cost of phone calls to and from inmates in state and parish prisons — typically 15 times the national average. Update: The commission decided to suspend a portion of its prior order for six months.
Government & Politics
Zurik Investigation: Coroner CFO’s numbers don’t add up – FOX 8 WVUE | Lee Zurik continues to unearth evidence of stunning mismanagement at the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s office. Last year the Chief Financial Officer there “accrued about 36 days of vacation and sick leave. But when she cashed out, she paid herself for a total of 48 days.” Calls for a “serious law enforcement investigation” are intensifying.
Film industry leaders say Jindal tax plan would cripple production; administration disagrees — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | People in the local movie production industry claim that if subsidies from the state are cut, the big-budget productions will leave for more attractive locations. State officials claim the proposed tax credit changes will not impact most film projects. (As an aside, the other day a reliable source told me that progress has been made on a big-budget movie chronicling local Katrina hero John Keller’s amazing story. That film project has been in development since 2007.)
Lawmakers get specifics on taxable services and elimination of exemptions in Jindal’s tax plan — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | The article lists the three dozen new services that will be taxed under Gov. Bobby Jindal’s tax overhaul plan. An initial draft document of the legislation is also included.
Louisiana’s infrastructure ranks C- for poor roads, dams, drinking water systems — NOLA.com/The Times Picayune | Cruddy roads, obsolete bridges, ancient sewerage and water systems … we already knew about these things. But the billion-dollar bills for deferred maintenance of our infrastructure will soon be due. Perhaps most surprising: engineers rate Louisiana’s infrastructure higher than the national average.
Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space: The long term shake out of local retailers and independent commercial districts – A blogger looks at the various over-arching trends that have “impacted traditional shopping districts, downtowns/central business districts and regional and neighborhood shopping districts in cities and towns.”