Thursday, June 22, 2017

Louisiana's child care assistance program to start waiting list July 1

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 5:55 PM


Louisiana's aid program to help cover the costs of child care will open a waiting list as the program braces for "overwhelming demand" with a limited budget. Eligible families must apply by June 30 to secure a slot, according to an announcement from the state's Department of Education. On July 1, they’ll immediately be added to a waiting list.

The federally funded Child Care Assistance Program offers child care support for low-income working parents or parents in job training or in school. Recent eligibility requirement changes bumped the number of recipients to 18,000 as of last month. "If and when funding becomes available," the program will contact waitlisted households, according to the department. After one year on the wait list, families have to reapply. Waitlisted households will be given 30 days notice before the lists are purged.

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Abramson bill requiring private, charter schools to have suicide prevention programs passes House unanimously

Posted By on Mon, May 8, 2017 at 5:07 PM


The Louisiana House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill Monday that requires nonpublic and charter schools enact suicide prevention programs. The law already requires it in public schools.

House Bill 452 by Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans, mandates all charter and approved nonpublic school teachers, school counselors and principals to have in-service training in suicide prevention as determined by the board, other school administrators.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Pizza Poetry Project returns April 21

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 3:00 PM

Pizza Delicious is among several New Orleans pizza joints offering poetry from students age 6-18. - COURTESY PIZZA DELICIOUS
  • Pizza Delicious is among several New Orleans pizza joints offering poetry from students age 6-18.

In conjunction with National Poetry Month, the fourth annual Pizza Poetry Project from Big Class, a writing and literacy program for young students in New Orleans, serves poetry from students ages 6-18 on takeout boxes from several local pizzerias.

On the cardboard box with your pizza order comes a work from a young local writer. Participating pizza joints include G's Pizza, Garage Pizza, Mid City Pizza, Pizza Delicious, Reginelli's and Theo's.

This year, the pizza project runs alongside the inaugural New Orleans Youth Poetry Festival running April 19 and April 21-21. There's a youth open mic with Sunni Patterson and Pages Matam from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. April 19 at Tulane University's Lavin-Bernick Center, followed by a youth slam and mixer on April 21 and writing workshops and other events from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. April 22 at the New Orleans Public Library's Main Branch on Loyola Avenue. Visit the website for a full schedule and more information.

Since 2010, Big Class has served more than 3,500 students through its writing programs. From 2015-2016, the group published more than 30 publications featuring student work from more than 1,200 students. 

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Janelle Monae to deliver Dillard commencement address

Posted By on Tue, Apr 11, 2017 at 12:58 PM

Janelle Monae.
  • Janelle Monae.

Singer, actor and activist Janelle Monae is scheduled to deliver this year's commencement address at Dillard University on May 13.

In a statement, Dillard President Walter Kimbrough said, “Janelle Monae’s significant accomplishments in music and particularly, film and STEM, both signature programs here at Dillard, along with her activism, made her the ideal person to deliver a timely message to our graduates ... I believe this is her first commencement speech and we are very excited to see this day come.”

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

BESE accepts updated content standards on evolution, climate change

Posted By on Tue, Mar 7, 2017 at 6:05 PM

  • A bust of Charles Darwin.

With language reminiscent of the evolution-versus-creationism arguments from Inherit the Wind, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) Tuesday accepted updated content standards for science education in Louisiana’s public schools.

This time around, the controversy over climate change was thrown in.

BESE created an 86-person volunteer committee to revise Louisiana science standards for the first time in 20 years. The committee’s plan would begin implementation during the 2018-2019 school year.

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BESE committee debates whether Lycée Français students should have French profiency as a condition of admission

Posted By on Tue, Mar 7, 2017 at 5:57 PM

The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) School Innovation and Turnaround Committee Tuesday took a step toward tightening prerequisites for a French immersion school in New Orleans. - SARAH GAMARD
  • The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) School Innovation and Turnaround Committee Tuesday took a step toward tightening prerequisites for a French immersion school in New Orleans.

The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) School Innovation and Turnaround Committee Tuesday took a step toward tightening prerequisites for a French immersion school in New Orleans.

The school, Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans, wants to require students have a certain level of proficiency in French before admitting them to its French immersion program where classes are taught in French instead of English.

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Nazi propaganda exhibit opens at National World War II Museum Jan. 27

Posted By on Mon, Jan 23, 2017 at 12:24 PM


In an appearance this past weekend, top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway suggested this presidential administration may rely on "alternative facts" — a doublespeak-tinted term that was roundly ridiculed, but one that bodes ill for students of propaganda and disinformation.

Perhaps just in time for this perplexing, "alternative fact"-littered landscape, a visiting exhibit at the National World War II Museum explores examples of propaganda during World War II. "State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda" is a traveling version of permanent modules created by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It opens in New Orleans Jan. 27.

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Friday, December 9, 2016

Jordan Flaherty on saviors, New Orleans, media and activism

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 11:59 AM

Jordan Flaherty's latest book, No More Heroes: Grassroots Challenges to the Savior Mentality, draws in part from his career as a reporter and TV producer — work that has taken him to sites of grassroots struggle around the world, but it's anchored in his home, New Orleans.

Mixed in with the movement for indigenous self-determination in Black Mesa and sex workers contesting the police state in Arizona are multiple local stories. Flaherty gives us a front-row seat for the cautionary tale of FBI snitch Brandon Darby, one of two white bros who came here from Austin and rose to power through Common Ground, living out the savior complex by launching a career at immense cost to the people he claimed to be rescuing and representing. On a more positive note, Flaherty also tells the story of the New Teachers' Roundtable, a New Orleans collective founded by three former Teach for America participants to push back against TFA and the charter school movement — educational "reforms" which function as a profitable large-scale weaponization of the savior complex.

The crux of this wide-ranging book is finding alternatives to activism's savior mentality, that hero model in which a person of privilege uses their genius or other exceptional qualities to "rescue" the less fortunate.

I came to Flaherty's book with wariness, braced for scolding — but instead found No More Heroes to be full of love and compassion, including towards those who fall into the traps of saviordom. 

At 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, the Community Book Center (2523 Bayou Road.) will host one of a series of book release events Flaherty has organized across the South, previewed here by Kat Stromquist.

Flaherty advocates going from "How can I be the single best white anti-racist activist with the sharpest critique / most specialized language / busiest schedule?" to "How can we find ways to bring more and more people into social justice work, from lots of entry points, to grow vibrant mass movements?" To clarify the answers, I sat down with Flaherty to discuss his book, journalism and activism.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Activists talk organizing in New Orleans at roundtable/book release Saturday

Posted By on Wed, Dec 7, 2016 at 1:02 PM

Flaherty's book discusses collaborative organizing. - COURTESY JORDAN FLAHERTY
  • Flaherty's book discusses collaborative organizing.

Community Book Center
 hosts a roundtable of experienced activists and organizers this weekend at a release party for No More Heroes: Grassroots Challenges to the Savior Mentality, a new book by Jordan Flaherty.

Flaherty joins Alfred Marshall (STAND with Dignity), Michael Quess? Moore (Take 'Em Down NOLA), Jonshell Johnson (a youth and education activist) and Derek Roguski (New Teachers' Roundtable) to discuss organizing against police violence, their work in New Orleans' troubled school system and overcoming the "savior mentality," in which a well-meaning individual — often a white person — tries to "rescue" a marginalized group without community input. (Think Dangerous Minds.)

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

On the Clock: Dinah Maygarden, UNO Coastal Education Program director

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 2:48 PM

Dinah Maygarden unwinds from a day of science education workshops.
  • Dinah Maygarden unwinds from a day of science education workshops.

If you were to drive east on Chef Menteur Highway, past the motley blocks of businesses in various states of well-being, past the Pleasantville-on-stilts development at Venetian Isles, and over the rickety truss bridge at Chef Menteur Pass, eventually you’d find a three-story waterfront building emblazoned with a comically large University of New Orleans (UNO) Privateer logo. 

There, you might find, as I did, a large group of squirming third-graders vastly outnumbering their adult chaperones, all anxious to start one of science educator and UNO Coastal Education Program director Dinah Maygarden’s activities at the UNO Coastal Education and Research Facility (CERF).

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