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How could LSU save millions, run smoother?

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Commons area at the West Campus Apartments to the right of Edmund Kirby Smith Hall.

LSU could save millions by overhauling its parking system, outsourcing the operation of its power plant and potentially partnering with a private developer to replace aging on-campus student housing, according to a private consultant the university hired. Based on Huron Consulting’s analysis of university operations, a parking revamp that isn’t just an across-the-board increase for… Continue reading →

Southern and Baton Rouge Community College students can now transfer seamlessly

Provided Photo by NAVILLE OUBRE JR. -- Standing from left to right at the signing are William Arp, Dean of Southern's College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, VerJanis Peoples, Southern Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Andrea Lewis Miller, Chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College and Flandus McClinton, Acting Chancellor of Southern University.

Students at Baton Rouge Community College and Southern University can now transfer between the schools seamlessly after the signing Thursday of a new partnership called “Bears 2 Jaguars.” During a ceremony held at Southern, BRCC Chancellor Andrea Lewis Miller and Flandus Mclinton, Southern’s acting chancellor, signed the Memorandum of Understanding . The “Bears 2 Jaguars”… Continue reading →

Facing the Oct. 1 student count, East Baton Rouge School Board defers on program to re-enroll dropouts

Although many members supported the idea in concept, the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board on Thursday was unwilling to fast-track hiring a Dallas-based online education company to help kids who have dropped out or who are in danger of dropping out get a diploma. “It sounds really great, but there are things that need to… Continue reading →

LSU tackles African-American male achievement at summit

LSU is looking to expand educational opportunities and success for African-American boys and men in Louisiana, and a Thursday panel of experts weighed in on what works and the complex hurdles that exist. Based on U.S. Department of Education statistics, African-American males lag significantly behind their white counterparts, white females and black females in obtaining college degrees.… Continue reading →

Regents name three finalists for higher ed commissioner

For two days, members of the Louisiana Board of Regents met with an unknown number of people interested in becoming the state’s next higher education commissioner at the Hilton across from the New Orleans airport. They weren’t considered “candidates,” “applicants” or “semifinalists” — as far as the board is concerned — so the state higher education arm… Continue reading →

White pushes tests to school leaders

Advocate Photo by WILL SENTELL -- State Superintendent of Education John White is shown speaking with reporters in this July 17, 2014, Advocate file photo.

The controversial Common Core tests that students take in the spring will offer valuable state-to-state comparisons, state Superintendent of Education John White told local superintendents Thursday. The exams will come from a consortium called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC. Whether to use the assessments has sparked controversy for months,… Continue reading →

Higher ed commissioner search meetings scheduled

Louisiana Board of Regents members who are handling the search for a new state higher education commissioner will be in Kenner this week for “meetings with interested individuals” at the New Orleans Hilton Airport. Twenty-five people have been under consideration for Louisiana’s top higher education leadership post, but the state board has declined to release… Continue reading →

La. public school teacher retirements remain up

The spike in public school retirements eased somewhat, but the numbers are still higher than prior to passage of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s education revamp, according to newly released statistics. The number of kindergarten through 12th-grade employees in the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana who retired in the fiscal year ending June 30 stood at 2,979, the… Continue reading →

No uniform policy to address sexual assaults on La. campuses

Louisiana has no statewide policy for handling allegations of sexual assault on college and university campuses, leaving students open to varied experiences depending on which school they attend, according to a report the state Board of Regents released Monday. State Sen. J.P. Morrell, a New Orleans Democrat who had asked for the statewide look, said… Continue reading →

Common Core criticism not limited to the right

While the push to derail Common Core is often attributed to Republicans and conservatives, Louisiana teacher unions that are mostly aligned with Democrats are nearly as vocal in blasting the overhaul. Both the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and the Louisiana Association of Educators backed legislation earlier this year that would have scrapped the standards in favor of… Continue reading →

Episcopal uses new interactive game technology to teach its students

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Teachers Sonny James, left, and Margaret Boudreaux, center, use wands as they try their hand at 'Particle Predator,' a 'systems thinking' game in which participants can design rule sets that define how the moving, differently-colored particles interact. At right offering feedback is Heather Harpole. The exercise is part of  Arizona State University professor David Birchfield's   'small lab,' which he is demonstrating at Episcopal School, where teachers and students are participating in the 'embodied learning' project.

Episcopal High School took an ordinary classroom and converted it recently into an educational playroom where students abandon their seats to play interactive games that allow them to explore nearly any topic, ranging from the nature of gravity to Roman history. Turn out the lights, turn on the technology, and the room transforms into a simulator where… Continue reading →

Report pans La. public school performance

Image from WikiMedia -- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters in Washington, D.C.

A group affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce rates Louisiana as one of the laggards nationally in public education achievement. The ratings were issued for each state by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation with assistance from the American Enterprise Institute. The AEI calls itself an advocate of expanded liberties, more individual opportunity and a… Continue reading →

Jefferson schools face $4.6 million tab to educate immigrants

The Jefferson Parish school system is facing costs of $4.6 million for this school year to educate 533 unaccompanied immigrant children, state Superintendent of Education John White said Friday. Jefferson has the top enrollment of the immigrant children in the state. State officials are still waiting for cost estimates from the East Baton Rouge, Orleans,… Continue reading →

National Merit Scholarship Program names semifinalists for 2015; La. students listed

, Ill. Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation on Thursday announced the names of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 60th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million that will be… Continue reading →

Employers scout for talent at 2-day LSU job fair

Photo provided by Javier Fernandez --  Recruiter Alejandro Ram, a product engineer for Kongsberg Maritime Inc. in St. Rose, La... discusses career opportunities with an LSU senior Tuesday.

Some 180 regional and national employers came shopping for job and intern prospects Tuesday at LSU. The science, technology, engineering and math component of the two-day job fair took up most of the day. It preceded the business and liberal arts exposition, which opens 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Companies were… Continue reading →

LSU rises, Tulane and La. Tech fall in rankings

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU students walk by the campanile.

LSU climbed a few notches in U.S. News and World Report’s latest ranking of the top schools in the country, while Tulane University and Louisiana Tech slid slightly on the annual sizing-up of university and colleges. Tulane remains Louisiana’s highest-ranked university at No. 54 — down from last year’s No. 52. Meanwhile, LSU went from 135th to… Continue reading →

12 students face expulsion, 2 suspended after off-campus fight

Twelve students have been recommended for expulsion and two suspended following an after-school brawl in Scotlandville last Tuesday, a spokesman with the East Baton Rouge Parish School System said. A mom walked into Scotlandville High Magnet School on Tuesday to inform administrators that tensions were rising in the neighborhood and that it might lead to fighting,… Continue reading →

WISE panel agrees to distribution plan

LSU will be able to tap into nearly $14.5 million for high-demand fields through the state’s newly-created WISE Fund, the state’s community and technical colleges stand to get nearly $12 million through it, and the University of Louisiana System’s campuses will be reaping about $11.4 million. Leaders on Monday agreed to a distribution formula for the $40 million Workforce… Continue reading →

School Board candidate fights to stay in race, but official says she doesn’t live in district

Tiffany Perkins fought Monday to keep alive her bid to unseat incumbent East Baton Rouge Parish School Board member Jill Dyason during a hearing Monday in 19th Judicial District Court. The two women are vying to represent District 6, but Perkins’ residency in the district is being challenged. State District Judge Todd Hernandez, who presided over… Continue reading →

Traditional school districts work to overcome loss of students, money going to charter schools

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Story on enrollment of public schools throughout East Baton Rouge Parish thus far in the 2014-15 school year. Kindergarten teacher Megan Brockner reads and shows the book

Baker has more children in public schools than it’s had in years, but fewer are enrolling in the city school system. Two new competitors, Advantage and Impact charter schools, have set up shop within the city limits of Baker. As of Wednesday, these public schools had enrolled nearly 500 students between them, 356 and 141 students, respectively.… Continue reading →

LSU student health officials on watch for Ebola virus

Although no cases of the Ebola virus disease have been found in the U.S., the LSU Student Health Center is asking students to schedule an appointment if they have traveled recently to countries where the virus has taken hold. Nelson Perret, Student Health Center medical director, said being at a university with a sizable international… Continue reading →

Education law violates constitution, teachers union argues

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An attorney for a teachers union says the Louisiana Legislature violated the state constitution in 2012 by overloading an education overhaul bill. In arguments Friday before the state Supreme Court, Larry Samuel arguing for the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, took note of the bill’s multiple provisions governing diverse matters including teacher tenure, salary… Continue reading →

Candidate to withdraw from East Baton Rouge Parish School Board race

Rather than continue to fight a legal challenge to his residency, Eugene Collins Weatherspoon said late Thursday that he plans to withdraw his candidacy for the newly drawn District 3 on the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board. That would leave incumbent Kenyetta Nelson-Smith, a Democrat, re-elected without opposition. She would start her second term Jan.… Continue reading →

School Board considers ideas to divert construction funds to projects challenging charter schools, St. George effort

The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board may ditch plans to demolish and rebuild two elementary schools and instead redirect that $41 million to new programs to better compete with charter schools or to build a new high school south of I-10 to head off interest in creating a city of St. George. The School Board… Continue reading →

Xavier president announces retirement plan

Norman C. Francis, the nation’s longest serving university president, plans to retire from that role at Xavier University of Louisiana next year. Francis announced his decision, effective June 2015, during a campus-wide convocation Thursday morning. “After nearly 47 years, I believe that the time has come to take the brightly burning torch turned over to me… Continue reading →

BESE executive director leaving

The executive director of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is leaving her post, officials said Thursday. Heather Cope, who has held the job for two years, is taking a position as chief of staff for the Office of School Performance in the Camden, New Jersey, School District. BESE President Chas Roemer said Thursday… Continue reading →

Pennington selected to test new Alzheimer’s drug

LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center will take part in a national clinical research study, testing a drug that could treat Alzheimer’s — an incurable disease that affects brain function and eventually leads to death. The study marks Pennington’s entry into the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study network, an elite group of research sites that are leading federal efforts… Continue reading →

Computer wizards converge on LSU to test their skills

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- Austin Wells from Southern Methodist University uses hand gestures to interact with software Saturday, August 30, 2014 at GeauxHack, the first ever 24-hour

With cases of energy drinks, pillows, blankets and, of course, their laptops, about 75 students descended on Coates Hall on LSU’s campus this weekend to compete in the 24-hour GeauxHack hackathon. The group of college students from all parts of the country came for the chance to compete in teams for the best invention of the… Continue reading →

Cliff Vannoy named LSU Alumni Association leader

Cliff Vannoy, who has been serving as acting head of the LSU Alumni Association in recent weeks, has been named the new president and Chief Executive Officer of the nonprofit alumni group. “The LSU Alumni Association National Board of Directors is pleased that Cliff has accepted the position of president and CEO,” board Chairman Gil Rew said… Continue reading →

25 seeking Louisiana higher ed job

Twenty-five people are being considered for Louisiana’s higher education commissioner job, but the state Board of Regents isn’t yet releasing their names. The committee tasked with narrowing the candidate pool met — mostly in a closed meeting — in Baton Rouge Wednesday afternoon but took no action. Though an early timeline proposed for the search initially… Continue reading →

Video: Louisiana's Great Common Core Debate

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD --  Cohen Jones writes the math equation to express what he created with blue and red dots Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, in Debbie Giroir's first-grade class at Belle Chasse Primary School.

Rarely has an issue in Louisiana triggered heated arguments for months like the push for the new academic standards called Common Core. It has caused rifts between Gov. Bobby Jindal and his former allies, divided parents and triggered countless hours of debate in the Legislature, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and courtrooms. And even after… Continue reading →

WISE Council gets rough overview of funding distribution

Higher education and workforce leaders are moving closer to developing guidelines for the distribution of a new $40 million fund for Louisiana colleges and universities, but the group overseeing the WISE Fund is still tweaking its formula. The discussion over how to divvy up the Legislature-created Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund has… Continue reading →