Jess Clark

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.

It’s been almost exactly one year since record-breaking rains flooded much of the city, and the city’s pumping and drainage system couldn’t keep up. Later it was revealed that many of the Sewerage and Water Board pumps and turbines weren’t working. Sewerage and Water Board officials say since then they've made $82 million in repairs, and today, the pumping and drainage system is in much better shape.

More than half of Louisiana’s public school children get free or reduced-priced meals at school because their families are struggling financially. But when school lets out for the summer, kids still need to eat. And that’s tough on poor families, especially in rural areas. 

It’s been nearly 13 years since Hurricane Katrina decimated the city and its school system. And a lot has changed since then. Now the city is the first, large school district in the nation where nearly all students attend charter schools. But the reforms are controversial, and have left many wondering, did they work?

School is out for most New Orleans kids, but many of them are still learning at summer camps. Some of them are taking on big topics, like the history of civil rights. At the Leona Tate Foundation For Change camp, students get to interview real leaders in the battle for racial equality. 

On average, kids in Louisiana public schools tested slightly better on their standardized tests this year. But New Orleans-area kids still trail behind the state, and achievment gaps for certain groups of students remain persistent.

 

When Americans are taught the story of school desegregation, they learn about the 1954 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. The Board of Education. But much of the work of desegregation happened outside the courtroom. Black children, some as young as six, put their bodies on the line every time they entered a white school, and nearly all of them were girls.

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.

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. 

The Lens published an investigation in August revealing the Orleans Parish School Board abandoned plans to test school water for lead. Last week, Lens reporter Marta Jewson uncovered more about why the school board abandoned the testing plan, and it involves disagreements with the Sewerage and Water Board.

The Orleans Parish School Board passed new guidelines Thursday night that immigrant rights groups say will better protect students from immigration and law enforcement in school.

The policies lay out a number of steps principals have to follow when law enforcement show up and ask to interrogate a student or look at student data as part of an investigation that’s not school related. That includes investigations regarding immigration status. Step one: Law enforcement officers have to show the principal a warrant or other court order.

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