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Open teacher slots still a moving target in EBR

Even after holding two teacher job fairs in recent days, including one in Pittsburgh, the East Baton Rouge Parish school system still has roughly 50 vacant teaching positions nearly two weeks into the 2014-15 school year. Even so, Millie Williams, executive director for human resources, told the School Board on Thursday she plans to stop hiring… Continue reading →

Southern board member calls for Mason’s resignation

Ronald Mason; Samuel C. Tolbert

At least one member of the Southern University System Board of Supervisors is calling for the resignation of President Ronald Mason, ahead of a planned discussion on the renewal of Mason’s contract this weekend. “The facts remain that President Mason has been voted down as president/chancellor, his destructive and dismantling of the system transformation plan is a… Continue reading →

LSU athletes, leaders help with move in

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander, center in purple, shakes hands with Cleveland, Ohio's Gabriel Vega, left, as Alexander greets him and his son, freshman Gabe Vega, center, and helps them with Gabe's belongings outside Laville Hall Honors House Wednesday during the school's Move-In Day, with assistance from volunteer Alexandra Willis, right foreground, a junior from Houston. At background left is parent Erica Geary, whose daughter Darian Geary of New Orleans is also an entering freshman.  Alexander, sports team members and volunteers from across the campus helped out in the event at LSU, where classes will start Monday.

About 2,500 students, many of them freshmen, moved into LSU’s residence halls on Wednesday, and many of them got some help from a few special volunteers. As cars crept through campus along Highland Road, several football and basketball players, gymnasts and even President and Chancellor F. King Alexander were there to lend a hand to students and… Continue reading →

Mason makes contract extension demands

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Southern University President Ronald Mason speaks during a symposium at the Cotillion Ballroom of Southern's student union Thursday.

Southern University System President Ronald Mason Jr. won’t seek or accept an extension of his contract when it expires next year, unless certain terms he has outlined are met. The Southern Board of Supervisors will meet Saturday, and the extension of Mason’s contract, which expires June, 30, 2015, is on the meeting’s agenda. “Absent the… Continue reading →

White: Common Core test plans back on track

State Superintendent of Education John White, left, and Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols.

State Superintendent of Education John White said Wednesday that a court ruling on Tuesday will allow officials to resume development of Common Core test plans that have been in the making for four years. “It is time to get back to the focus of daily learning that takes place in the classrooms of the state of Louisiana,”… Continue reading →

ACT average drops again amid boost in test takers

State Superintendent of Education John White

Louisiana’s average score on a test of college readiness dipped for the second consecutive year, and remains among the lowest in the nation. However, state Superintendent of Education John White told reporters Tuesday that the drop again stems largely from a change in state policy and is more than offset by additional students qualifying for college.… Continue reading →

Residents push Tangipahoa School Board on desegregation

Holding signs saying “They just won’t do right,” members of Tangipahoa Parish’s black community gathered at the school system’s central office Tuesday to demand the School Board abandon its pursuit of a modified desegregation plan. The School Board voted last month to seek court approval for a plan that would use magnet… Continue reading →

Scheduling conflicts cancel WISE Council meeting

Business leaders say they are encouraged by the chance to partner with Louisiana colleges and universities to help build the state’s workforce with a new $40 million pool of state money. But it remains unclear how funding from the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund, or WISE Fund, will be doled out or how quickly… Continue reading →

Iberville plans suit challenging charter school funding

School board members and local education officials across the state have grumbled for years that charter schools divert money from public school systems to independently run institutions that compete with them for the best students with the most engaged parents. Now many officials in the Baton Rouge area are watching closely as Iberville Parish school officials… Continue reading →

LSU seeing a record rush week

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Potential sorority members enter the Student Union Theater through a tunnel of singing Group Leaders for the LSU sorority recruitment convocation Saturday.  This year saw the largest recruitment group, with 1218 potential members representing 33 states and three countries.

More than 1,200 LSU students are going through sorority rush this week, as interest in Greek life continues to grow at LSU. It’s likely a record for the school — at least in recent decades, leaders say. Later this week, 872 guys will go through fraternity rush, another recent record. “At most every campus, especially… Continue reading →

Impact of state law expanding school choice unclear

For the past decade, on the eve of the start of school, the Louisiana Department of Education has released a list of failing public schools to allow the families in those schools a chance to transfer to a higher-performing public school. This year, though, the state is no hurry to release the latest list of F-rated… Continue reading →

Judge allows school board elections to move forward

Maps show 11 current School Board districts and newly drawn 9 districts

Clearing the way for qualifying to begin next week for the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board elections this fall, state District Court Judge Tim Kelley on Friday denied all claims made by a group of parish residents seeking to block a new nine-member redistricting plan that shrunk the size of the board by two seats.… Continue reading →

EBR schools hold job fairs to find teachers for vacancies

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Shelley Olsen, a recently-hired fourth grade English and Language Arts teacher at Shenandoah Elementary School gives instructions to her students during class Thursday.

Just a week into the 2014-15 school year, the East Baton Rouge Parish school district is holding not one but two teacher fairs in an attempt to fill 60-plus vacancies, with one fair in Baton Rouge and another in Pittsburgh on Saturday. “We are really reaching out and trying to find certified teachers,” said Millie Williams,… Continue reading →

McCrery named to LSU board


The former congressman who introduced Gov. Bobby Jindal to Louisiana politics was named by the governor Thursday to the LSU Board of Supervisors. Retired U.S. Rep. Jim McCrery, a Shreveport Republican, was appointed to fill a vacancy on the 16-member board that oversees LSU’s campuses and hospitals. McCrery, 64, replaced Buddy Roemer in the U.S. House in… Continue reading →

LSU alumni head resigns

LSU Alumni Association President Charlie Roberts

The longtime leader of LSU’s Alumni Association is retiring amid allegations that he had entered into a monetary arrangement with a former employee to keep secret a sexual relationship between the two. In his letter of “voluntary resignation/retirement” on Wednesday, former Alumni Association President and Chief Executive Officer Charlie Roberts again denied the allegations laid… Continue reading →

Special education law sparks new controversy

While a new state law may pave the way for more special education students to earn high school diplomas, some of those gains will be excluded when schools are rated by the state, officials said Wednesday. The issue surfaced on Tuesday and Wednesday as the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education began implementing a controversial… Continue reading →

St. James school openings mostly smooth, officials say

Iberville schools to sue BESE over state funding of charter

The Iberville Parish School Board decided Monday it would fight to retain more than $3.8 million in state funding by suing the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The school district is seeking an injunction to stop BESE from funneling the state Minimum Foundation Program funding to a new… Continue reading →

LSU building the hype as students join the STRIPES

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Ryan Picard teaches the cajun waltz to freshmen in LSU's orientation event, STRIPES , in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014.

On a recent Tuesday morning, hundreds of incoming LSU freshmen packed into Shaver Auditorium. Nearly all were wearing purple and gold. They chanted and clapped. They had quickly formed — and were not afraid to express — alliances and rivalries, based on teams named after LSU people and places. It’s not what you imagine a… Continue reading →

RSD ‘reboots’ charter school effort in EBR parish

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Nathaniel Ward, 5, slaps hands with his kindergarten teacher, Kenyarie Welsh, during  a meet and greet held Friday at Celerity Lanier Charter School, where families were invited to meet their childâs teacher for the upcoming year. Celerity Educational Program is opening three charters schools in Baton Rouge on Monday.

Nearly three years in the making, the Recovery School District in Baton Rouge is finally launching an extensive reboot, starting with five new charter schools opening their doors to children Monday. It’s a modest start for an endeavor that state Superintendent of Education John White and others proclaimed would transform public education in much of north… Continue reading →

LSU alumni head taking time off amid lawsuit

LSU Alumni Association President Charlie Roberts

The longtime head of the LSU Alumni Association is taking a break from work amid allegations that he gave a woman a job so she would continue a sexual relationship with him and then paid her monthly hush money after she resigned. Kay Heath, the woman who is suing LSU Alumni Association President and CEO Charlie Roberts… Continue reading →

BESE to consider career courses

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- John White (right), State Superintendent and Chas Roemer (left), president of BESE, address the board Tuesday, July 29, 2014, during a BESE meeting in the Claiborne Building.

Nearly two dozen high school courses of study for nursing, carpentry, car repair and other jobs will be submitted to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in the first wave of Louisiana’s overhaul of its career education system, state Superintendent of Education John White said Thursday. The new program, which is called Continue reading →

Leaders discuss how to dole out $40M college fund

It remains unclear how a $40 million fund that the Louisiana Legislature created this year to spur workforce development will be divvied up among the state’s universities and colleges. The WISE Council, a group of state workforce and college system leaders that oversees the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund, met for a… Continue reading →

Program set to launch Sept. 2

Common Core backer disputes criticism

Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- Barry Erwin, president of Council for a Better Louisiana

The leader of a pro-Common Core group Wednesday disputed what he labeled as outlandish claims used by opponents of the new academic standards. Barry Erwin, president of the Council for a Better Louisiana, made his comments to the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge. Erwin said no one can “rationally” say that Common… Continue reading →

Board advances desegregation plan

Roemer blames Jindal for Common Core 'fiasco'

La. Gov. Bobby Jindal; Bese Board president Chas Roemer

The president of Louisiana’s top School Board said Monday that the Common Core debate has turned into a “fiasco” and Gov. Bobby Jindal is solely to blame. “The fiasco we are going through right now is a fiasco caused by one person,” Chas Roemer, president of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, said of the… Continue reading →

Faculty challenges system chief

Ronald Mason

Southern University Faculty Senate leaders say their problems with system President Ron Mason are past the point of resolving through a sit-down meeting. The bitter feud between Mason and some Southern University faculty members has continued to bubble over, following a unanimous Faculty Senate vote of “no confidence” and push for Mason’s ouster. It remains… Continue reading →

More high school students earning college credit

While Louisiana has long ranked near the bottom nationally among public high school students who earn college credit, those who did so this year rose by 30 percent, the state Department of Education announced Thursday. The tests are called Advanced Placement. AP classes can pave the way for college credit for students who score… Continue reading →