A blow — and a decisive one — for Gov. Bobby Jindal's attempt to remake the Louisiana public education system:
Louisiana's Supreme Court has ruled that the funding method for a private school tuition voucher program pushed through the Legislature last year by Gov. Bobby Jindal is unconstitutional.
Tuesday's 6-1 decision upholds a state district court ruling that the state constitution forbids using money earmarked for public schools in the state's Minimum Foundation Program to pay for private school tuition.
There will be plenty of reaction soon. Scott McKay at The Hayride weighs in early:
This is hardly the victory the teacher unions will make it out to be, because Jindal can merely create a new line item in the general fund covering the voucher program and then cut MFP funding by a commensurate amount. Obviously he’s going to need to have a majority vote at the Legislature to make that happen, and it seems they’re a bit cheesed off at him at present, so that’s one more fight the governor probably doesn’t need.
But while the decision is more of an additional obstacle than a substantive defeat, its timing is atrocious for Jindal — and it will add to the perception that nobody’s minding the store — a perception that the current budget chaos is injecting jet fuel into.
Previewed in this week's Gambit, NBC's Education Nation is a three-day "summit" with panel discussions and town halls focusing on schools, teachers, students and job opportunities in New Orleans. All events are streamed live on the Education Nation website and the final half-hour will air on partner station WDSU-TV.
On Friday, April 12, NBC News’ Hoda Kotb leads three panel discussions followed by a closing interview with Gov. Bobby Jindal. Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) superintendent John White will also be interviewed
The “Early Learning: Sowing Seeds for Success” panel features Dr. Geoff Nagle, director of the Tulane Institute of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health; Pearlie Harris, director of Royal Castle Child Development Center; Tony Recasner, CEO of Agenda for Children; and Jenna Conway, executive director of Early Childhood with LDOE. The panel begins at 1:45 p.m. and will be streamed to the website.
The “K-12: Lessons from the New Orleans Experience” panel features Sarah Carr, author of Hope Against Hope; Leslie Jacobs; and Andre Perry, associate director for educational initiatives for the Loyola Institute for Quality and Equity in Education. Following the panel, there will be an interview with White. The panel and interview streams at 2:30 p.m. on the website.
“Job One: Preparing Louisiana to Compete in the 21st Century Economy” features Charlotte Bollinger of Bollinger Shipping; Rod Miller, CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance; Rita Benson LeBlanc; and Monty Sullivan, chancellor of Delgado Community College. That panel begins at 4 p.m. and will be streamed on the website.
The closing interview with Jindal begins at 4:45 p.m. Events from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. also will air live on WDSU.
Louisiana science activist Zack Kopplin — just out of high school — was a panelist on tonight's episode of HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher, discuss social issues that included climate change and same-sex marriage with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and others. Watch a segment of the show:
Kopplin, who's proven to be as media savvy as he is bright (exhibit A, B, C), will surely be embraced by Maher, and good on him. That said, it's worth remembering that Maher has been something of a dick when it comes to Louisiana issues. (He was more polite to Gambit when Noah Bonaparte Pais interviewed him in 2009.)
Once, this little patch between Mardi Gras and the big music festivals of April was a relatively quiet time. Then people figured out that also made it a good time to schedule other events, and now the March calendar is full of them too.
Hogs for the Cause is the biggest food event next weekend, but it’s not the only one. In fact, the weekend starts early, on Thursday, March 21, with the Edible Evening, a foodie-focused garden party at the Samuel J. Green Charter School (2319 Valence St.), and it continues at the French Market and other venues for a newly revamped event called FoodFest: America’s Hometown Eats.
For more than 12 years, Café Reconcile has offered young people a chance to transform their life prospects through its jobs skills training and mentoring programs. More recently, the Central City nonprofit restaurant has undergone its own transformation.
A major expansion and renovation has been underway here for some time, and today, March 11, the café part of the Café Reconcile operation reopens, resuming lunch service from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The dining room has been thoroughly redesigned, and it’s much larger than before. There’s also now a courtyard for outdoor meals. The menu of hearty and inexpensive New Orleans classics has stayed much the same (the long-running special of white beans and shrimp will be back on Thursdays, for instance) and more complex dishes will be worked in as the café gets rolling again.
Director of development David Emond says some of the biggest changes are behind the scenes, including “a state of the art kitchen that is finally worthy of our students.”
Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School hosts Treme Day from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. There is a 5K run/walk an a health and wellness fair. The events benefit the school's athletic and enrichment programs.
Registration for the 5K is $20 adults/$15 under 21 in advance, $25 adults/$20 under 21 on the day of the race, and the fee includes a T-shirt. The race starts at 9 a.m.
The school held its inaugural health fair last year, which offered screenings for blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, bone density and eye exams. There were seminars on women's health and childhood obesity. This year's fair is from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Clark is charter school operated by Firstline Schools.
The Lenten fish fry is a long-running tradition in New Orleans, but not all of these events follow a traditional script. For instance, one coming up next Friday, March 8, won’t be held at a church but rather at a nonprofit urban farm for local high school students, with music, art and a menu with lighter options alongside the fried fish.
The local/healthy food advocate Slow Food New Orleans is hosting this one-night fish fry at Grow Dat Youth Farm, a youth development program operated from City Park with acres of crops and a facility built from stacked, repurposed shipping containers.
The chef Don Boyd, founder of the nonprofit Café Hope, and local Slow Food chapter president Gary Granata are preparing the food along with Moscow 57, a New York entertainment company founded by Ellen Kaye, whose family ran the legendary Russian Tea Room in Manhattan for close to 50 years. Granata and Kaye have been collaborating on pop-up food, music and art events and decided to join forces for a one-of-a-kind fish fry at Grow Dat.
If you suddenly start seeing a certain lemongrass grilled shrimp dish with ribs and crab kimchee on more New Orleans menus, that’s not because it’s necessarily the trendy new dish. Rather, it’s because this recipe cooked up by local ninth grader Sierra Torres is the “Dish That Makes a Difference.”
That’s the name for an annual student culinary program at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), the high school-level arts school in the Faubourg Marigny. Begun in 2010 in conjunction with the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, the program challenges students in NOCCA’s culinary arts program with a recipe competition. In past years, winners saw their recipes prepared and served in Lagasse’s restaurants, with proceeds benefiting their school.
This year, however, the Dish That Makes a Difference has been expanded. From March 1-10, Torres’ recipe will be featured at more than a dozen local restaurants and even the food truck Taceaux Loceaux. Participating chefs have free rein to reinterpret Torres’ recipe for their own menus.
Big Class is a local organization that runs literacy programs in which children create books from writing content through publishing. The group's next project is to run a writing and tutoring center at 3718 St. Claude Avenue (below Antenna Gallery). There are two open houses (noon-3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, and 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28) at which parents and children can get information about the program and sign up. Participation is free, and volunteers also can sign up at the two open houses. There's more info here.
Upcoming after-school programs start March 12. Each program starts with homework help, and each has an eight week workshop followed by a four-week book-making project.
Tuesday features a jazz centered project for 10-14 year olds. The program incorporates music, poetry and visual art.
Wednesday features a food and memory theme for 10-14 year olds. Students write reviews and essays and take photographs.
Thursday's project is a newspaper for 6-14 year olds. Students will create all sections of a community newspaper.
Sundays are open to 6-18 year olds, and each week will feature a different workshop topic.
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