Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans mourns the loss of former State Representative Steve Carter last week. We worked with Representative Carter on so many important education reform bills in Baton Rouge. Here is a excerpt from The Advocate;
"Steve Carter, a three-term state representative who frequently spoke of his love for Baton Rouge, and ran for mayor-president last year with the hope of leading the city, died Tuesday night of complications from the coronavirus. He was 77.
“It is with very heavy hearts we report that Steve has lost his battle with COVID-19 tonight, surrounded by his family,” said family spokesperson Charlotte Melder in a statement."
"He was a champion of school improvement and a delight to work with," says former education chair Carol McCall. Another former chair of our education committee, Margo Phelps, "It saddens me to learn of Steve Carter's passing. Steve never missed an opportunity to speak with the ladies in red and thank us for our work."
We thank Mr. Carter for his years of service in the Louisiana State Legislature and we send our deepest condolences to his wife Gloria, to his children and grandchildren.
Late last year, BGR released a report about the search for a new Inspector General in New Orleans. Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans was involved in the creation of office of Inspector General in 2006. We helped ensure a stable, secure source of funding for the Inspector General and made sure the office maintained its independence from the entities it is tasked to oversee.
A strong office of Inspector General provides oversight to prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse of tax payer dollars. The Inspector General also promotes efficiency and effectiveness in city programs and operations.
Now we turn our focus to the search for a new candidate to lead the New Orleans' office of Inspector General. The enclosed BGR report contains useful information for citizens following along in this crucial process.
Read the BGR Report Here
Revitalizing New Orleans' Office of Inspector General Depends on Quality of New Leader, Improved Oversight
We will keep you informed as we follow the candidate selection process and will alert you if any citizen involvement is warranted.
Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans is grateful to Gambit for the vital role and significant impact their numerous articles made in our efforts to reform and consolidate the southeast Louisiana levee boards and Orleans assessors’ offices in 2006. Gambit enhanced our visibility and credibility immeasurably.
“Enraged and Engaged” by Gambit’s Clancy DuBos in early 2006, spread the story of our reform efforts to citizens from across the city. DuBos states,” One of the bright spots since Hurricane Katrina is the awaking of civic responsibility by ordinary citizens. People are enraged and engaged and the politicians had better take note. The best example to date is a coalition founded by women demanding the region’s levee boards be consolidated.” In the first special session of the state legislature in November of 2005, a House Committee killed the reform measure that had been supported by the New Orleans Business Council. Citizens for 1 took up the gauntlet through a petition drive, causing Governor Blanco to call another special session focused on levee board reform and consolidation. DuBos stated, “The petition drive appears to be more popular than blue roofs.”
“Da Winnas and Da Loozas ‘ by Clancy DuBos rated Citizen Activists as the number one Winna.-“ Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans proved that a handful of committed people can still make a difference in a democracy . The group, which formed around a kitchen table in Uptown New Orleans and quickly grew into a metro-wide, diverse, and irresistible force for change, lobbied to get levee board and assessor amendments on the September 30th and November 7th ballots, respectively, and passed. “
Top 10 Political Stories of 2006 by Clancy DuBos of Gambit –The Number 1 Story Consolidations- “ For all that went wrong in 2006, reforming the levee boards and merging the assessors into one office will have a lasting positive effect on government and politics.”
Again, congratulations on the 40th anniversary of Gambit Weekly. I have been a reader all 40 years. You have guided readers through research and observation that has helped in making New Orleans a better city, and our citizens as more involved and engaged.
Under the leadership of our Chair Blair Du Quesnay and the Executive Committee, Citizens for 1 GNO continues its mission in pre-K- 12 public education, areas of criminal justice, and ethics / good government reform at the state and local levels.
Ruthie Frierson. Founder
Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans
The platform establishes issues the coalition defines as most important to improving educational opportunities and outcomes for New Orleans public school students: (1) racial equity evaluation, planning and training; (2) COVID-19 and emergency planning; (3) system-wide strategic planning and stakeholder engagement; (4) expansion and replication of successful schools; (5) ensuring all students have equitable access to resources; (6) school standards and accountability; (7) resource management; and (8) collaboration on best practices.
“We are very pleased the overwhelming majority of candidates support the platform,” said Kelisha Garrett, Executive Director of the New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce, a FNOPS member organization. “The platform represents a consensus among advocacy organizations around policies and ideas that support all students, and the scorecard of candidates who pledge to support the platform is a useful tool for voters to consider when deciding how they will cast their ballots. This unique focus ensures that the voices of our collective organizations are included and presented to those that will have the responsibility to implement the mandates and work hand in hand as we create the educational experience our students deserve.”
The candidates who pledged to support the FNOPS 2020 School Board Elections Platform are:
• John A. Brown, District 1
• Patrice Sentino, District 1
• Ethan Ashley, District 2
• Asya M. Howlette, District 2
• Eric Jones, District 2
• Chanel M. Payne, District 2
• Philip C. "Phil" Brickman, District 3
• Olin Parker, District 3
• Leslie Ellison, District 4
• Jancarlo "J.C." Romero, District 4
• Katherine Baudouin, District 5
• Grisela Jackson, District 5
• Antoinette Williams, District 5
• Erica Martinez, District 6
• Carlos L. Zervigon, District 6
• Nolan Marshall Jr., District 7
• Jamar Wilson, District 7
The following candidates either declined or did not respond to requests to interview with FNOPS:
• Aldine Lockett, District 2
• Winston "Boom" Whitten Jr., District 4
• David Alvarez, District 6
• Kayonna K. Armstrong, District 7
After the election, FNOPS will hold School Board members accountable by monitoring and encouraging their performance and periodically reporting on their progress towards completing the platform’s action items. This process is intended to keep the community engaged and active in holding elected officials accountable for the actions to which they have committed.
EXPLORE THE PLATFORM
Forward New Orleans for Public Schools includes: Agenda for Children, Alliance for Diversity and Excellence, Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region, Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans, Ed Navigator, Education Reform Now LA, Greater New Orleans Collaborative of Charter Schools, Greater New Orleans Foundation, Greater New Orleans, Inc., Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana, Kingsley House, Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, New Orleans & Co., New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce, New Schools for New Orleans, Public School Advocates, United Way of Southeast Louisiana, Urban League of Louisiana, Vietnamese Initiatives in Economic Training, and Young Leadership Council.
SEPTEMBER 11, 2020 This November, New Orleanians will head to the polls to make decisions that impact the lives of our children and neighbors. With our nation in crisis, these national, state, and local choices are urgent. One local choice is the OPSB election.
BY WILL SENTELL | STAFF WRITER | The Advocate
Assistant State Superintendent of Education Jessica Baghian, center, talks to three year old Lillian W education leaders and local policymakers to the early childhood education center at Close to Hom Lafayette La
After a four-month hunt in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic, Louisiana’s top school board is poised to name a new state superintendent of education.
Six finalists are in the mix, but two educators who represent different wings of the public schools debate remain favorites for the job, which is set to be filled on May 20.
They are Assistant State Superintendent of Education Jessica Baghian, who is seen as the favorite of school overhaul advocates, and Jefferson Parish schools superintendent Cade Brumley, who is believed to the choice of fellow superintendents, school board members and teacher unions.
The question is whether Baghian or Brumley can win the minimum eight votes needed for the job from the 11-member state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or whether a compromise candidate emerges.Those who will make the call are saying little in public.
"The BESE members are keeping it very close to the vest," said Brigitte Nieland, government affairs director for the advocacy group Stand for Children.None of the candidates have locked up the job.
"We do not have eight votes for any of the top candidates," said Sandy Holloway, president of BESE.
BESE member Kira Orange Jones, who leads the work group that has led the search, said it is unclear whether the race remains wide open or a consensus is developing.
"The truth is I don't know," Jones said. "It is hard to say. I think board members are certainly deliberating."
One of the other contenders, former St. James Parish schools superintendent Lonnie Luce, is mentioned as a dark horse candidate.
Luce, 51, also led the state's first online charter school, which means he has experience in both the traditional and new public school camps.
The other finalists are Heather Poole, 46, executive vice-chancellor of Central Louisiana Technical Community College in Alexandria; Joe Siedlecki, 44, associate commissioner for school system support, innovation and charters, Texas Education Agency and Paul Vallas, 66, former superintendent of the Recovery School District.
Holloway and others hope to agree on a superintendent on May 20, so he or she can be confirmed by the state Senate before adjournment on June 1.
At stake is one of the most powerful jobs in state government, and the leader of roughly 720,000 public school students.
The superintendent carries out BESE policies.
But the post also carries a huge influence in shaping student testing, teacher training and evaluations, whether charter schools flourish or flounder, school ratings, the role of vouchers and the direction of public schools after two decades of sweeping changes.
All eight of BESE's elected members were backed by business groups, which would seem to favor Baghian, 35, since business has generally backed the push to overhaul public schools since 2000.
Friends of Citizens For 1 Greater New Orleans,
First, we hope this email finds you and yours well and safe during this sad and strange time.
COVID-19 will continue to affect the way our State's students learn for the near future. As such, the impending selection of Louisiana's new Superintendent of Education is critical. It is imperative that this leader be a strong advocate for the best interests of our children, particularly during this time in which the methods through which, the content of, and accountability for, education administration are constantly changing.
We urge you to familiarize yourself with the 6 candidates for Superintendent and make your opinions known to the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).
BESE is inviting all stakeholders to complete a survey of recommended priorities that BESE should have when evaluating the slate of applicants for State Superintendent of Education, and we hope you will find the time to complete the survey. NOTE THE SURVEY WILL ONLY RUN THROUGH THIS FRIDAY - APRIL 24, 2020
Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans continues to support Education Reform.
Ruthie Frierson, Founder & Chair Emeritus
Abstract (New England Journal of Public Policy)
Many ingredients define New Orleans—certainly our music, our food, and our architecture, but most basic and defining of all is water and our relationship with it. Nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and an enormous body of brackish water, the fifty-by-thirty-mile Lake Pontchartrain, the city sits near the mouth of the Mississippi River, which drains water from 41 percent of the lower forty-eight states. We are pelted with an average sixty-five inches of rain a year; famously wet Seattle gets about half that amount. Much of our city is built on land a few feet below sea level, protected from the consequences of that location by a complex system of levees, floodwalls, pumps, and outfall canals. We all own multiple pairs of rain boots; we avoid certain intersections during thunderstorms because of the dangerously deep water that collects there. We New Orleanians know water. We also know corruption, another near-universal part of our city’s image. The fatalistic shrug with which locals receive allegations of improper dealings says, essentially, “What yah gonna do?” We laugh that, far from being the worst-governed city in the United States, we are the best-governed in the Caribbean. Roguish officials seem to have a place in many hearts. Wet and crooked, that was us.
The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was the most catastrophic man-made disaster in the nation’s history. Katrina changed everything, and every one of us. It was a shock and a wake-up call. Having obeyed Mayor Ray Nagin’s order for a mandatory evacuation of the city, our family watched from afar as New Orleans went under water. We saw images of the city’s devastation, the horror of people trapped in their houses or on rooftops waiting for rescue, of people in need of water, food, and medical attention, of deaths, of plunder and the sounds of gunfire. Eighty percent of our city was under water for more than three weeks. Our infrastructure was almost completely destroyed—our public facilities, schools, homes, businesses. More than eighteen hundred of our citizens lost their lives and thousands of others were displaced. The challenges we faced to rebuild our city were daunting and unparalleled in our history—on so many levels, and all at the same time. Yet, out of this tragedy of Katrina’s aftermath have come opportunities and a new wave of activism and involvement.
BY JULIANNE NICE: MAR 27, 2020
Hurricane Katrina aftermath on Saturday, September 10, 2005.
Stephanie Grace’s recent column on Katrina lessons got me thinking about those we unfortunately didn’t learn very well but would help us today.
Our city, state, country, and the world are facing an unprecedented challenge in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As many Americans are still coming to grips with the seriousness of this global pandemic and the need for action, we first hope that you and your family are safe and healthy.
New Orleans is dealing with one of the largest outbreaks of COVID-19 in the nation, and the vigilance and compassion of every citizen will be necessary to slow the transmission of the disease and avoid overwhelming our hospitals with critical cases.
The Louisiana Legislature has voted to suspend the session until at least March 31. We agree with the decision, which will protect public health and ensure that all legislation under consideration has the opportunity to be considered in a public forum.
However, the economic impact of the necessary steps to combat this public health emergency will be dire for the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans. Our economy thrives on tourism and our vibrant service industry.
We are asking all citizens to contact our federal Louisiana Senators and urge them to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This legislation passed the House of Representatives late last week and is currently awaiting a Senate vote.
CONTACT SENATORS Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy>
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act will provide assistance to Louisiana residents impacted by the novel coronavirus in the following ways:
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is likely the first step in the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There will also be state and local legislation that requires your support, as well as action steps we must all take to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus and protect our fellow citizens from this public health emergency.
Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans will continue to provide information as we receive it. Please encourage others you know to subscribe to our email distribution list to receive this information. There is no city or region better prepared for tackling a problem as large as the COVID-19 pandemic than New Orleans.
We will get through this together.