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Tangipahoa School Board says it won’t oppose charter school, as long as it doesn’t affect desegregation goals or take local tax funds

The Tangipahoa Parish School Board said Wednesday it would not stand in the way of a charter school planning to open in Hammond this fall, as long as the school does not affect the district’s desegregation goals or take local tax funds from the district. The Tangipahoa Charter School Association received… Continue reading →

Neutered school suspension bill approved by House panel, school uniform violations only adjustment included

State Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith, D - Baton Rouge, District 67

Despite complaints that it fails to go far enough, a House committee Wednesday approved a bill that would ban public school suspensions or expulsions for uniform violations. The measure, Senate Bill 54 by Senate President Pro Tem Sharon Broome, D-Baton Rouge, cleared the House Education Committee without objection. It has already passed the Senate and next… Continue reading →

Baker School Board names Herman Brister Sr. as its next superintendent

Herman Brister Sr.

Against Bobby Jindal, key Louisiana House panel passes bill to boost public school aid

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Louisiana State Superintendent of Education John White speaks in the cafeteria of the W.D. & Mary Baker Smith Career Center in October 2014. White was visiting schools around Lafayette Parish as part of his Louisiana Believes tour.

Going against Gov. Bobby Jindal, a key Louisiana House panel Tuesday approved legislation that would boost state aid for public schools by nearly $85 million. The measure includes $36 million that would increase spending per student, which Jindal did not include in his proposed operating budget. The plan, House Concurrent Resolution 18, easily cleared… Continue reading →

As voucher growth slows, state shifts focus to tax rebates to boost private school options

Advocate file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Steve Monaghan, president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, is shown in this April 2013 Advocate file photo.

Louisiana spent more than $40 million this year on private school tuition vouchers for low-income children, yet still turned away 4,000 applicants. Despite the demand — and the fact that vouchers are a policy priority for Gov. Bobby Jindal — the program isn’t expected to grow for the next school year. In response, t he… Continue reading →

In unique pact, LSU’s Cain Center to help Lee High develop three specialized academies

The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board on Thursday agreed to hire LSU for $1.5 million over the next five years to help Lee High School create three specialized academies focusing on digital arts, biomedicine, and science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. The agreement, which is with LSU’s Cain Center, also would pay… Continue reading →

Key bill that's part of achieiving Common Core accord clears Louisiana's Senate; here's what's next

Legislation that is part of a three-bill agreement on Common Core won easy approval Wednesday in the Louisiana Senate 36-1. The measure, Senate Bill 43, next faces action in the state House. The proposal requires that any changes in the academic standards be submitted to the House and Senate education committees after the state’s top school… Continue reading →

Sex education bill for New Orleans public school students in grades seven to 12 fails in Louisiana House

A bid to require that sex education be taught to public school students in grades seven to 12 in New Orleans was crushed Tuesday in the Louisiana House. The vote was 33-59, which is 20 votes short of the minimum needed for final approval. The lopsided defeat means the legislation is likely dead for the session.… Continue reading →

Louisiana House rejects bill to transfer New Orleans schools

A bill that would force the return of formerly failing public schools to the Orleans Parish School Board was trounced Monday in the Louisiana House. The vote was 31 in favor and 60 opposed. The legislation, House Bill 166, is aimed at moving schools now under the Recovery School District to the OPSB within one year… Continue reading →

Bill to revamp Common Core tests clears Louisiana House panel

Without debate, a Louisiana House committee Monday approved a bill that would change Common Core tests that students take during the 2015-16 school year. The legislation, House Bill 542, is part of a three-bill package

Iberville authorities zeroing in on ticket scam that kept relatives from seeing their loved ones graduate at Plaquemine High

The Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office on Monday was given the name of two individuals who school officials believe were involved with distributing the batch of counterfeit tickets that soured Plaquemine High’s graduation ceremony last week when relatives with actual tickets were locked out of the event to prevent overcrowding. Authorities would not release those… Continue reading →

Bill to ban many school suspensions watered down

Advocate Photo by MARK BALLARD -- Baton Rouge Sen. Sharon Broome, a Democrat, accepts congratulations Thursday after the Louisiana Senate Education Committee voted to advance her bill that would generally ban out-of-school suspensions for the youngest public school students. Last year more than 7,400 public school students in kindergarten, first, second and third grades were given out-of-school suspensions.

Louisiana Senate President Pro Tem Sharon Broome, D-Baton Rouge, all but shelved her plan Monday to generally ban out-of-school suspensions for Louisiana’s youngest public school students. The measure, Senate Bill 54, earlier won narrow approval in the Senate Education Committee despite heated opposition from the Louisiana School Boards Association and others. That criticism forced… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge judge rules use of tax dollars to fund certain charter schools is proper

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Attorney Mark Beebe for the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools enters the 19th JDC for a hearing where the case concerning charter school funding was thrown out by State District Judge Wilson Fields. Of the flow of state money to 33 BESE-authorized charter schools, seven of those schools are in EBR, six are in Orleans, three in Lafayette and two in Jefferson. Plaintiffs plan to appeal.

Louisiana education officials are declaring as a “major victory” a state judge’s ruling Friday that they are properly using tax dollars to fund the operations of certain types of charter schools. Baton Rouge Judge Wilson Fields found the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Louisiana Department of EducationContinue reading →

Meet James B. Smith: At 16, he's the youngest person ever to receive an LSU degree

Computer science major James B. Smith was among thousands of students celebrating graduation from LSU this week -- the university’s largest spring graduating class in history.

But at just 16 years old, Smith has the distinction of being the youngest person ever to receive a degree from the university.

“I think it’s still kind of sinking in,” he said Friday just before… Continue reading →

James Carville wants LSU graduates to demand secure funding for higher education, be molders of society

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  James Carville is the keynote speaker for the Manship School of Mass Communication graduation ceremony in the Carl P. Maddox Field House Friday, May 15, 2015.

Political strategist James Carville warned graduates of LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication that his speech to them on Friday wouldn’t be the standard graduation fare or, as the “Ragin’ Cajun” put it: “The world is your oyster, so don’t put too much horseradish in your oyster sauce.” Instead, the LSU alumnus perhaps best known for helping… Continue reading →

Six finalists named for Southern University president-chancellor position; here are the next steps

Six finalists have been named in the search for Southern University’s dual president and chancellor role. A search committee met this week and narrowed the pool of applicants. The committee, which aims to have a new leader named by July 1, is expected to interview the six on May 28. “After the search committee interviews the… Continue reading →

Adell Brown named interim Southern Ag chancellor

Adell Brown

The Southern University Board of Supervisors named Friday Adell Brown as the interim chancellor for the university’s Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Brown has been vice chancellor for research at the Southern’s Ag Center, which coordinated research projects on agricultural productivity and nutrition. The Ag Center also conducts outreach programs to the agricultural and health… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge judge rules use of tax dollars to fund certain charter schools is proper

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Attorney Mark Beebe for the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools enters the 19th JDC for a hearing where the case concerning charter school funding was thrown out by State District Judge Wilson Fields. Of the flow of state money to 33 BESE-authorized charter schools, seven of those schools are in EBR, six are in Orleans, three in Lafayette and two in Jefferson. Plaintiffs plan to appeal.

Louisiana education officials are declaring as a “major victory” a state judge’s ruling Friday that they are properly using tax dollars to fund the operations of certain types of charter schools. Baton Rouge Judge Wilson Fields found the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Louisiana Department of EducationContinue reading →

2015 commencement: LSU graduates largest-ever spring class

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  LSU bachelor degree candidates decorate their mortar boards for the spring commencement ceremony Thursday, May 14, 2015 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Whole Foods Market Chairman John Elstrott told LSU’s latest crop of graduates that the keys to living a happy and fulfilled life lie within family and purpose. “Find your true purpose in life,” he told LSU’s largest-ever spring graduating class Thursday night. “Find a way to match it with your unique skills, your… Continue reading →

Report: Keys to improving East Baton Rouge schools include fewer standardized tests, better discipline techniques

Less standardized testing, a smarter approach to student misbehavior, ending high turnover of school administrators, and making schools once again the centers of their communities are key ways to improve public education in East Baton Rouge Parish. Those were common refrains heard during a series of community “listening sessions” held this… Continue reading →

Second Common Core agreement bill clears Senate panel

Legislation that is part of a three-bill plan aimed at reducing Common Core arguments breezed through the Louisiana Senate Education Committee on Thursday. The measure, Senate Bill 43, won panel approval without objection. It next faces action in the full Senate. Senate Education Committee Chairman Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, sponsor of SB43, used the hearing to… Continue reading →

7 from LSU named NSF Graduate Fellows

Seven students or former students from LSU have been named National Science Foundation Graduate Fellows this year. The NSF program recognizes students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields who are pursuing research-based advanced degrees. Each will receive a three-year stipend of $32,000, along with $12,000 allowance for tuition and fees, research efforts and development opportunities.… Continue reading →

Thousands of LSU students could make history this week as one of school's largest graduation classes

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Nancy Mouille, 22, stands with her fellow graduates during the Fall 2014 College of Humanities and Social Sciences graduation in LSU's Pete Maravich Assembly Center in December 2014. Mouille received an undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies. LSU recognized 1,578 graduates at the university's 285th commencement, including 1,247 bachelor's degrees, 234 master's and professional degrees or certificates and 97 doctoral degrees.

About 4,000 LSU students are expected to graduate this week in what could be one of the largest graduating classes in the university’s history. The main commencement ceremony, featuring a keynote address from LSU alumnus and Whole Foods Market Chairman John Elstrott, will take place Thursday at 6:45 p.m. in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. LSU President… Continue reading →

Common Core deal cut, clears key House panel, adds more steps and chances for input before standards could be revised

House Education Committee Chairman Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, standing, and Reps. Barry Ivey, R-Baton Rouge, left, and Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, listen to testimony, Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in Baton Rouge, La. The committee passed the first piece of a compromise on Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)

A bill that backers touted as a way to help forge a compromise on Common Core after nearly two years of bitter debate won approval Wednesday in the Louisiana House Education Committee. The measure, House Bill 373, cleared the committee without objection and next faces action in the full House. The agreement, which was… Continue reading →

National report: Deep cuts, higher tuition mire Louisiana higher education

Even as Louisiana legislators work to stave off potentially catastrophic cuts to state higher education funding in the coming year, a new national report is highlighting the hard hits that colleges and universities here have already taken since 2008. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released Wednesday a national analysis that found… Continue reading →

Baker School Board to mull through applications for its next superintendent

Six individuals, including two top administrators in the East Baton Rouge Parish school district and one in Zachary, applied by a Friday deadline to become the next superintendent of public schools in Baker. The Baker School Board is meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, likely behind closed doors, to determine which of these applicants it will bring… Continue reading →

Kindergartners’ dance helps parents, others celebrate George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts program at Dufrocq Elementary

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Zoe Perry, 5, left, and Ayden Bernard, 5, portraying butterfly flock members, dance in 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar,' put on by Primary Montessori teacher Diane Vickers' class at The Dufrocq School Tuesday. The George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts has announced it is adding eight schools to its pilot program, called 'Louisiana A+ Schools,' to expand art in schools.

Proud parents, armed with cameras and smartphones, filled the seats in the auditorium at The Dufrocq School on Tuesday morning to watch an adaptation of the famous children’s story, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” Also watching the kindergartners’ spring dance recital were representatives from the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts along with supporters like Lt.… Continue reading →

Debate on anti-union bill postponed in Louisiana House

A contentious anti-union bill hit a snag Tuesday in the Louisiana House, with a widely-anticipated debate scrapped amid strong pushback from police, firefighters and teachers. The proposal would ban government payroll offices from automatically deducting union dues from public worker paychecks. House Bill 418’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Stuart Bishop of Lafayette, postponed debate scheduled for Tuesday.… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal's plan to scrap Common Core would be costly, force Louisiana to revert to decade-old curriculum, PAR report says

Echoing previous forecasts, the Public Affairs Research Council issued a report Tuesday that says Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plan to replace Common Core with new academic standards would be costly to the state and local school systems. In addition, the state would have to rely on education standards adopted a decade ago while new ones are… Continue reading →

House panel rejects bill to stop BESE from approving charter schools for high-performing districts

A bill that would ban Louisiana’s top school board from authorizing charter schools in districts rated A or B was rejected Tuesday by the House Education Committee. The vote was 6-10 and followed nearly two hours of discussion. The proposal is House Bill 21 by House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Bel Edwards, D-Amite and… Continue reading →

Former LSU, Saints player Randall Gay among the graduates from Southern Law Center

New Orleans Saints cornerback Randall Gay (20) during the morning practice session at the  club's NFL football training camp in Metairie,  La., Saturday, Aug. 1, 2009.   (AP Photo/Bill Haber) ORG XMIT: OTK

Randall Gay, who played on championship teams for both the New Orleans Saints and the LSU Tigers, is graduating from Southern University Law Center Saturday, along with his wife, Desha. “We started together, and we’re finishing together,” Gay said Friday. The Brusly couple is among 165 students getting their law degrees… Continue reading →

Report: Political consultant James Carville to give commencement address at LSU Friday, says 'history will hunt you down' for Bobby Jindal

Democratic political consultant and LSU alum James Carville plans to give a rousing call to arms when he gives the commencement address at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communications this Friday, according to an article on Gambit. "I'm not gonna give the usual 'the world is your oyster' speech," Carville tells Gambit. Carville explains… Continue reading →

Country Day School of Baton Rouge ending elementary grades, but to place more focus on pre-schools

Photo provided by GoogleMaps -- Country Day School of Baton Rouge is ending its elementary grades in two weeks, but will give more focus to its pre-school classes.

After nearly three decades in operation, a small private elementary school in Mid City is shutting down in two weeks and plans to redirect its efforts strictly to its growing set of preschools. Country Day School of Baton Rouge alerted parents of the closure late Wednesday. Forty-eight elementary school children will have to… Continue reading →