Jess Clark

Education Desk Reporter

Jess Clark is WWNO's Education Desk reporter. Jess comes to the station after two years as Fletcher Fellow for Education Policy Reporting for North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC (Chapel Hill). Her reporting has aired on national programs, including NPR's All Things ConsideredHere & Now from WBURand NPR's Weekend Edition

Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Jess graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015 with a master's in Journalism and Mass Communication.

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Shawanda Jefferson picks up her four-year-old son at the unregulated child care center — her only option due to costs.
Jess Clark / WWNO - New Orleans Public Radio

Most kids enter the public school system at age five. But scientists say that, actually, it’s the first four years of a child’s life that are the most important for learning and brain development. High-quality early child care and education can set a child up for success in life. But can Louisiana families get access to it? And are child care facilities providing it? We investigate in a two-part series. Part One: How cost is a barrier for families seeking early childhood education.

 

Listen to Part Two here, on whether New Orleans toddlers are getting quality instruction when they're families can afford to send them to licensed centers.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed budget ammendments Monday that allocate $750,000 to pre-K.
Jess Clark / WWNO - New Orleans Public Radio

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed a 2018 city budget amendment Monday that appropriates $750,000 for pre-K for low-income children in New Orleans.

Supporters of the leadership at Bethune and Baby Ben cheer for a student who urged the OPSB to grant Bethune's current leadership a charter.
Jess Clark / WWNO

Superintendent Henderson Lewis says Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary and Benjamin Franklin Elementary are ready to become charter schools. Lewis' approval of the schools' plans mean next year, there will likely remain just one traditional public school in the district.

Freezing temperatures and possible light snow are prompting schools to close Friday in several parishes.
tookapic / Pixbay Creative Commons

Possible wintry weather is prompting several New Orleans-area schools to close Friday.

Einstein Charter Schools says it doesn't believe they should have to provide transportation for students. Instead it directs parents to private van services.
Jess Clark / WWNO

The Orleans Parish School Board is taking Einstein Charter Schools to court over the school group's transportation policy. The board filed a petition in Orleans Parish Civil District Court Wednesday, asking the court to declare Einstein in breach of its charter contract and allow OPSB to force Einstein to bus students.

A new report shows per-student spending is down in a majority of the states, including Louisiana.
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Louisiana is among 29 states spending less on students than before the Great Recession, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Orleans Parish officials say this is the fourth year of stagnant or declining test scores.
DCJOHN / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Researchers at the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans have released a new report showing Louisiana's black students and low-income students are more likely to be suspended than white and wealthier students. 

Supporters of the leadership at Bethune and Baby Ben cheer for a student who urged the OPSB to grant Bethune's current leadership a charter.
Jess Clark / WWNO

It's the general understanding that Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary and Benjamin Franklin Elementary and Middle will become charter schools. The only question is when that will happen, and who will run them. The schools' current principals think it should be them, so they applied to the Orleans Parish School Board to convert them into charters beginning next year. But an independent report recommended the board deny their applications.

Government reform advocate David Osborne's new book includes a look at New Orleans' post-Katrina school reform.
Courtesy of David Osborne

New Orleans’ post-Katrina experiment with public education has drawn the attention of pro-charter-school education reformers across the U.S. Today, 9 in 10 New Orleans public school students attend charter schools. One reformer who has had his eye on New Orleans is David Osborne. Osborne’s 1992 book ‘Reinventing Government’ had a major impact on government reform efforts during that decade. Now Osborne leads the Progressive Policy Institute and is advocating for education reform through charter schools. WWNO’s Jess Clark sat down with Osborne to talk about his new book ‘Reinventing America’s Schools,’ which includes a look at the New Orleans school system.

Leaders of several teacher training programs announced they're getting $13 million from the federal government to train new teachers for New Orleans.
Jess Clark / WWNO

Like many cities, New Orleans has a teacher shortage. A $13 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education is meant to address that shortage by beefing up the city’s pipeline of qualified educators.

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