In choice system, New Orleans schools face new problems with no-shows — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | This article raises an interesting irony of New Orleans education: Parents have more choices for their kids, but charter schools have greater enrollment uncertainty. For many standalone programs, enrollment shortfalls lead to staff cuts. Larger charter school operators have more flexibility to transfer teachers.
Study: Reducing dropouts could save Louisiana $119 million — The Town Talk
Since high school dropouts have little opportunities for good-paying jobs and often have to rely on publicly funded hospitals for health care, cutting the dropout rate by 50 percent could save the state as much as $119 million a year in Medicaid spending, a recent study shows.
Voucher program is entirely lacking in accountability: Letter — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Blogger Lamar White Jr. criticizes the paper’s reporting on the audits that attempted to evaluate schools participating in the state’s voucher program:
The Times-Picayune failed to note 107 of the 117 schools (or 91.4 percent) could not or would not furnish records related to their expenditure of taxpayer dollars, primarily because these schools did not maintain separate accounts for voucher funds. The independent auditor could not effectively determine whether those voucher schools were in compliance. Despite Superintendent John White’s claims to the contrary, the audit also revealed at least 13 schools were overcharging voucher students, a clear violation of the rules.
Louisiana Seafood: In wake of BP spill and river diversions, oysters show strain — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | The 2010 BP oil spill is one of several factors contributing to lower oyster harvests. Meanwhile, fishers are faring better with shrimp and crab.
Official claims sinkhole depth exceeds estimates — The Advocate
Multimedia Special: German Communities Rebuild after Mass Flood – Der Spiegel | An excellent multimedia story on towns in Germany recovering from the severe flooding that occurred in late May. The description of mixed feelings in the German town of Passau evokes memories of New Orleans after Katrina and the Federal Flood:
Passau needs tourists to refill its empty coffers, but the sight of groups of sightseers strolling through the city’s lanes with a camera in one hand and an ice cream cone in the other, stopping to gawk at the destroyed store windows and the moldering ruins of restaurants, is difficult for many residents of the recently flooded neighborhoods to bear.
Polite to focus on crime — The Advocate | Kenneth Polite Jr., the nominee for U.S. attorney for the New Orleans area, plans to focus on reducing violence on city streets in addition to political corruption. Sen. David Vitter is concerned he won’t be able to pursue both goals effectively; U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond says Polite can do both.
What Does It Take to Stop Crips and Bloods From Killing Each Other? – The New York Times | With more news reports about gangs in New Orleans and the Landrieu administration’s penchant for other cities’ crimefighting initiatives, perhaps this program in Los Angeles is a preview of things to come.
In recent years, the L.A.P.D. has been conducting an unusual experiment in community policing in Watts. Its centerpiece, the Community Safety Partnership, is the department’s collaboration with a group of residents known as the Watts Gang Task Force. Every Monday morning, community leaders meet with top police commanders to discuss what’s happening in the Watts gang world — who’s feuding with whom, where criminal investigations stand, which are the issues residents are worried about. What makes the initiative unusual is that many of the task force’s participants have close ties to street gangs. Some … are former gang leaders. Others are the mothers and grandmothers of notorious gang leaders past and present.
Government & Politics
Bobby Jindal doesn’t have a shot at becoming president: Robert Mann — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Many no doubt agree with Mann. One might ask, though, which GOP contenders are in such a dominant position.
Owen Courreges: The Ladder 5 gamble — Uptown Messenger | Budget constraints will leave wide swaths of Uptown without a fire truck equipped with a ladder. Courreges believes the most troubling aspect is Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s refusal to meet with neighborhood groups concerned about “the mothballing of Ladder 5.”
Transition program targeted — The Advocate | “Citing limited finances and other concerns, the Jindal administration plans to dissolve a state-funded program that helped youths with the transition from foster care to independence.”
Plans mulled for dormant Six Flags — The Advocate | Should a developer that proposed an outlet mall for the blighted amusement park be allowed to pursue another option without going back to the city for approval?
Freret repaving soon to join maze of Uptown road construction — Uptown Messenger | With paving and streetscape projects occurring simultaneously in nearby areas Uptown, will there be the same inconveniences and closures as last time?
Goodbye Buskers’ Bunkhouse — NOLA DEFENDER | “In the Bywater, a large part of Busker’s Bunkhouse, formerly Kamp Katrina, has been torn down.”