An Open Letter to the Educators of Charlottesville

By David McGuire To my fellow educators in Charlottesville, VA, my heart is with you. We do not know why your city was chosen for this tragedy, but let’s not harp on the negative.  Let’s instead say your city was chosen to be a beacon of hope. The same way that Watts, Ferguson, and Detroit was chosen before you. The events in those cities, tragic as they were, opened our eyes. Now, it… Read More

Open Letter to James Alex Fields Jr.

Dear James, I resisted my own idea of writing to you, but you are the key to the questions that are circulating in my mind: How could this have happened? How did we find ourselves in such an ugly place in 2017?   How did you find yourself at this place, as the perpetrator of this horrific event this weekend in Charlottesville? As a person of color, I know the answer to… Read More

ACT Scores Remain Level

The ACT scores for New Orleans are in, and the average score of 18.9 among the schools remains primarily the same as 2016.  This score allows for students to gain college entrance. “Louisiana’s public high schools are judged in part on ACT scores. Students also get into colleges and receive TOPS scholarships based partly on those scores.”  Read more here 

We’re Not Here for the Placebo Effect

While attending a panel discussion on educational leadership given by the Alliance for Diversity & Excellence earlier this year, I had the distinct pleasure of hearing thoughts about the charter school movement from Dr. Howard Fuller. He said the charter movement wasn’t designed to be what it is shaping up to be in my city of New Orleans. He spoke of a charter movement that was intended to empower parents who were… Read More

A New School Year – Tips for Teachers

By  Shawnta Barnes Summer vacations are a time for teachers to relax, attend professional development, and prepare for the upcoming school year.  Summer should also be a time of reflection to identify what changes to make to ensure the upcoming school year is better than the last.  Here are five tips for teachers returning to the classroom this school year. 1. Put your cape away. Times are hard, and many educators teach students… Read More

Is Enthusiasm Enough to Face the Challenges of New Orleans Schools?

Thinking back to the start of last school year, I witnessed new teachers, a few from New Orleans and many who relocated to our city, embark upon what they hoped would be the start of a promising teaching career.  Unfortunately, longevity in teaching has been an issue in our city.  Some teachers decide to take their pursuits elsewhere and others don’t make the cut to be asked to return.  I’ve been blessed… Read More

Increased Support Beyond Sports

                “A child does not grow up                   only in a single home.”                                         -African Proverb   When I think of family, the words support and foundation jump into my thoughts. These are the individuals who offer unequivocal help and guide you through your developing years with strength and guidance and guide you from a young person into adulthood. There has to be an honest realization about what family has been and has evolved… Read More

Can ESSA Force Equity?

Having worked in policy for the last two decades, I’m cautiously optimistic about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which Obama signed into law in 2015 to replace the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. The predecessor to ESSA has its roots in the civil rights movement, and this new law is another federal attempt to move toward a more equitable education system, but I also recognize the limitations of the law…. Read More

A New School Year – Tips for Parents

By Shawnta Barnes Summer vacations are now wrapping up and it’s time for parents to get their children prepared to return to school.  Parents send their children to school to receive a good education, but there are actions parents can take to help promote their children’s success. Register for school before school starts and update your contact information. The first day and the first week of school sets the foundation for the… Read More

Kiyah: Spirit of Action

  Teenagers know more than we think. Every once in awhile I’ll pick up a journal from when I was fourteen or fifteen and read what I had to say about the world.  I often surprise myself. I read some insights I had after struggling with a class or getting into an argument with a friend, and I think, wait a minute. I knew that then? I thought I just learned that… Read More