New Orleans schools see major gains in 2013 letter grades | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – “The percentage of students in failing versus good schools has flipped. Before Katrina, 65 percent of students were in F schools and 20 percent in A or B schools. Now, there are 67 percent in A or B schools and fewer than 6 percent in failing schools, according to new state data. “
The article includes a searchable database of school rankings, searchable database of scores showing school grades under last year’s 200-point formula as well as the new 150-point formula that debuted this year. Statewide performance scores also improved.
School Performance Scores Released | Educate Now! – Educate Now! founder Leslie Jacobs is “amazed and awed by the continued academic improvement of our schools and students. In 8 years: New Orleans has gone from 62% of students attending failing schools to 5%. We have moved up in the state rankings from 67th to 38th.”
Board retracts cheating allegations against Moton school | The Lens – Last year, the Orleans Parish School Board claimed that students at Robert Russa Moton Charter School got an advance look at LEAP test questions. After reviewing its own investigation, the board now says that’s not the case.
Government & Politics
Obamacare rollout in Louisiana examined by state commission today | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune –
The Louisiana Health Care Commission will hear from local stakeholders and experts about the challenges of implementing the federal Affordable Care Act, frequently called Obamacare, at its quarterly meeting this morning. If the experience of the Louisiana Health Cooperative is any indication, the state, like most other parts of country, is seeing some severe breakdowns in the new, federally run health care marketplace that launched earlier this month.
The final chapter | Gambit – This is an impressively in-depth look at former Mayor Ray Nagin’s trial on twenty-one charges of public corruption, which was recently delayed for three months to give Nagin’s defense team more time to sort through the voluminous amounts of documents that federal prosecutors entered into evidence. This analysis includes a look at the alleged facts, historical context and possible legal strategies which Nagin might pursue.
Raise the house, lower the flood risk | ABC News – In another parallel to post-Katrina New Orleans, homeowners in New Jersey are weighing the insurance benefits of raising their houses above flood levels.
Environmentalists fear streamlining in water resources bills could lead to projects like MRGO | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – Interesting, perennial tension: some lawmakers want to eliminate red tape to get infrastructure projects moving, while environmentalists contend oversight is necessary to avoid big mistakes.
On brining and dining, by Ken Silverstein | Harper’s Magazine – This supplemental piece to Silverstein’s “Dirty South” article (subscription required), looks at how oil firms and political leaders in the state have been joined at the hip for the past 75 years.
N.O. City Council advances plan for higher sales tax at planned mall | The New Orleans Advocate – The City Council is considering adding an extra one percent tax on retail sales at South Claiborne Avenue shopping center that is under development. The additional revenues would fund city infrastructure projects.