Friday, August 28, 2015

10 Years After Katrina, New Orleans’ All-Charter School System Has Proven a Failure - In These Times

10 Years After Katrina, New Orleans’ All-Charter School System Has Proven a Failure - In These Times:

10 Years After Katrina, New Orleans’ All-Charter School System Has Proven a Failure
Test scores tell one story, and residents tell another. A three-month investigation by In These Times reveals the cracks in the education reform narrative.


On Sept. 24, 2005, in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward, a school bus is submerged in post-Katrina flooding. Half of the city's public school infrastructure was damaged beyond repair. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)


Ninth grade was nothing like what Darrius Jones expected. Jones, 14, imagined that with high school would come more independence. Instead, he felt like he was being treated like a kid. “You had to sit a certain way,” he recalls. “You couldn’t lean, or have your chair back.” Jones says he stepped out of line once—an actual line on the floor of the hallway, which students were supposed to follow—and was sent to detention.
It was the beginning of the 2012 school year, and Jones was in the first class of students at Carver Collegiate Academy, a brand-new charter school in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. Like a public school, it is funded by taxpayers and open to anyone. But as a charter, it is managed independently by a board of directors that can do its own hiring and firing, write its own policies and teach according to its own philosophy. In the case of Carver Collegiate, that philosophy is one of “no excuses”—strict rules and swift discipline.
Carver is part of New Orleans’ Recovery School District (RSD), the first all-charter school district in the nation. In the chaos after Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana opted to completely overhaul the city’s failing public schools by putting them on the open market. Ten years later, cities and states around the country have embarked on their own charter-school experiments and are watching New Orleans closely, laser-focused on outcomes.
Test scores have improved, according to two major reports that examine academic achievement over the past nine years. On Katrina’s 10th anniversary, RSD is being held up as a national model. The graduation rate has risen from 56 percent to 73 percent. Last year, 63 percent of students in grades 3-8 scored basic or above on state standardized tests, up from 33 percent. 
But by other measures, the RSD suffers. In These Times received an advance copy of research conducted for the Network for Public Education (NPE) by University of Arizona researchers Francesca López and Amy Olson. The study compared charters in Louisiana, the majority of which are in New Orleans, to Louisiana public schools, controlling for factors like race, ethnicity, poverty and whether students qualified for special education. On eighth-grade reading and math tests, charter-school students performed worse than their public-school counterparts by enormous margins—2 to 3 standard deviations. 
The researchers found that the gap between charter and public school performance in Louisiana was the largest of any state in the country. And Louisiana’s overall scores were the fourth-lowest in the nation.
“You can say until you’re blue in the face that this should be a national model, but this is one of the worst-performing districts in one of the worst-performing states,” says NPE board member Julian Vasquez Heilig, an education professor at California 10 Years After Katrina, New Orleans’ All-Charter School System Has Proven a Failure - In These Times:
Karran Harper Royal was pleased to be invited to join a citizens’ committee in 2006 to plan for the future of New Orleans schools. But she soon became disillusioned, convinced that the state didn’t really want citizen input—it already had a plan and was simply seeking approval.

Katrina’s ‘Golden Opportunity’: 10 Years of Corporate Media Celebrating Disaster — FAIR

Katrina’s ‘Golden Opportunity’: 10 Years of Corporate Media Celebrating Disaster — FAIR:

Katrina’s ‘Golden Opportunity’: 10 Years of Corporate Media Celebrating Disaster

Arne Duncan, Katherine McQueary, David Brooks, Milton Friedman, Malcolm Gladwell, the Koch brothers
Finding the upside of Katrina are clockwise from top left: Arne Duncan, Katherine McQueary, David Brooks, Milton Friedman, Malcolm Gladwell, and Charles and David Koch


Americans love, above all, a narrative. Preferably a moral one, marked by a clear good and evil. For many so-called “school reformers,” the tragedy of Katrina, which marks its ten-year anniversary today, provided that narrative. Its stark before-and-after provided a clear A/B test as to the righteousness of their cause. Before was a “broken school system,” and after is a glossy, privatized education system.
We’ll set aside the fact that this is largely a fantasy. Torture the data enough, and the “New Orleans miracle” can be teased out if one wants it enough. Despite studies and reporting showing otherwise, for the sake of this piece it doesn’t actually matter if radical post-Katrina New Orleans school reform was a “success,” a failure or somewhere in between. What is important is that so many corporatists think this “miracle” was not just an incidental positive but was, all things considered, worth it. Worth the 1,800 people killed and the 100,000 African-Americans permanently ejected from the city.
The most popular examination of this pathology is, of course, from Naomi Klein, who coined the idea of the ”shock doctrine” in her 2007 book of the same name. In it, she explores how Katrina and other manmade and non-manmade disasters are exploited to rush through a radical right wing corporate agenda.
Those who find this a useful model are accused by critics like Malcolm Gladwell of “cynicism”; tragedies happen, they say, and we would be stupid not to exploit them. Here’s a list of those who championed this mode, both immediately after the storm and since. One can decide for themselves if this ideology-mongering was exploitation or good-faith public servants simply responding to crisis:Katrina’s ‘Golden Opportunity’: 10 Years of Corporate Media Celebrating Disaster — FAIR:

Louisiana Educator: Another Example of John White Withholding Vital Data: No Common Core Test Results Available for a Long Time

Louisiana Educator: Another Example of John White Withholding Vital Data: No Common Core Test Results Available for a Long Time:

Another Example of John White Withholding Vital Data: No Common Core Test Results Available for a Long Time






This relates to data needed by the members of the Curriculum Standards Review Committee to enable them to properly do their job of revising curriculum standards as mandated by the Legislature.


At the first meeting of the Curriculum Standards Review committee, several members of the committee proposed my suggestion that the committee receive an item analysis of the PARCC-like tests given this Spring. This was the first time that Common Core standards were tested on all of our 3 through 8th grade students. This item analysis would have been vital to help identify problem areas in the standards. No other comparable measure of the appropriateness of the standards for Louisiana students exists. The Chairperson of the committee, Dr Sanford, agreed to request both an item analysis and the raw cut scores for each such test.

The following is the response she got from the Louisiana Department of Education:

Dr Sanford states:
"I requested the results of the Spring accountability testing to be shared with the committee.  This is the official response which I have been given."

"As has been communicated in previous communications<http://www.louisianabelieves.com/resources/classroom-support-toolbox/district-support-toolbox/district-planning>, the department is not able to release PARCC results until late fall/early winter. At this time PARCC has not released any data to states for release. A series of PARCC states have released data but they are not PARCC results. Those states (Massachusetts and New York) required students to take both the PARCC test and their state assessments. The results they have released are their local state assessment results. All PARCC states will have access to results at the same time and will release at that time. For a reminder of all release dates and resources for last year's current results and this year's assessment resources please review previous LDE communications<http://www.louisianabelieves.com/resources/classroom-support-toolbox/district-support-toolbox/district-planning>." 

Dr Sanford goes on to state the following:
Louisiana Educator: Another Example of John White Withholding Vital Data: No Common Core Test Results Available for a Long Time:

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Revised AP curriculum is racist to the core

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Revised AP curriculum is racist to the core:

Revised AP curriculum is racist to the core




According to the revisions, "there was a debate among European leaders about how non-Europeans should be treated." Wow! What an interesting debate. I wonder who won?


I just finished reading the "revised" AP U.S. History framework which is supposed to offer top high school students a more "evenhanded" understanding of our nation's past. But the revisions amount to little more than a cover-up and an excuse for slavery, the slaughter of Native Americans, colonialism and the white supremacist ideology that justified it.

It seems that the powerful College Board has become little more than a propaganda machine for right-wing pols and academics. One can only imagine what the "right" answers are on the AP U.S. History exam. I feel sorry for the teachers that are forced to teach this crap.

Here are two examples of the latest revisions from Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Revised AP curriculum is racist to the core:

NYC Public School Parents: Ghosts of NYC past return to haunt the news: the Rise and Fall of Amplify

NYC Public School Parents: Ghosts of NYC past return to haunt the news: the Rise and Fall of Amplify:

Ghosts of NYC past return to haunt the news: the Rise and Fall of Amplify



Many ghosts from Tweed and NYC’s education past have re-appeared in the news the past few weeks, some of them popping up in unusual places. 

Former Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who succeeded Joel Klein and Cathy Black, was recently appointed the state monitor of E. Ramapo school board.  This board is controlled by Orthodox Jews who do not send their kids to the public schools and have been accused of raiding public funds to support their religious schools.

Our former Deputy Superintendent, Chris Cerf, who left DOE in 2010 to become State Education Commissioner of NJ, followed by a brief detour at Joel Klein’s Amplify, was appointed the Superintendent of Newark public schools, replacing another former DOE educrat, Cami Anderson. 
While Walcott has little power and Cerf has quite a lot, they both will presumably take orders from the autocrats who appointed them – in the case of Walcott, Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, and in the case of Cerf, Gov. Christie.  

Walcott has to decide whether to recommend that members of E. Ramapo’s elected school board be removed for diverting public funds to private schools.  Cerf has to decide whether to give power back to Newark’s elected school board, which has been impotent for twenty years (!!) while watching state appointees run their schools.   

After a public meeting where Walcott was introduced to angry E. Ramapo public school parents, whose pleas to rescue their schools have been mostly ignored by the state, he noted that he is suited to the job, as “I have a lot of experience being yelled at.”  This is surely true given the NYC Public School Parents: Ghosts of NYC past return to haunt the news: the Rise and Fall of Amplify:


Principal known as Emanuel critic reprimanded by mayor's school board - Chicago Tribune

Principal known as Emanuel critic reprimanded by mayor's school board - Chicago Tribune:

Principal known as Emanuel critic reprimanded by mayor's school board



Troy LaRaviere

Blaine Elementary School Principal Troy LaRaviere, who this week excoriated Chicago Public Schools during a panel discussion on the district’s finances, was the target of a “warning resolution” that board members quietly approved Aug. 26, 2015. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)


A Lakeview school principal who's a frequent critic of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's education policies has been formally reprimanded by the Chicago Board of Education — a move that could eventually lead to his dismissal.

Blaine Elementary School Principal Troy LaRaviere, who this week excoriated Chicago Public Schools during a panel discussion on the district's finances, was the target of a "warning resolution" that board members quietly approved Wednesday.

Reached Thursday, LaRaviere said the school board action was partly linked to his opposition to a controversial standardized test launched last spring. The board's public rebuke came months after LaRaviere served as an education adviser and outspoken supporter of Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who challenged Emanuel for mayor.



LaRaviere said the sanction was the result of "someone putting pressure on somebody to make an example of the principal that was at the school that seemed to be most effective at getting kids to opt out."

The warning resolution posted on the board's website Thursday doesn't detail what spurred the action, instead offering boilerplate language the district uses in these types of cases.

The document stated that LaRaviere "has engaged in unsatisfactory conduct" and that "dismissal charges" could follow "if said conduct is not corrected immediately, and maintained thereafter in a satisfactory fashion following receipt of the warning resolution."



CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey said the district does not comment on personnel issues. Such warning resolutions are regularly approved by the board for a variety of infractions. On Wednesday, two other employees received them.Principal known as Emanuel critic reprimanded by mayor's school board - Chicago Tribune:




I can certainly understand the desire to say I told you so. — Schoolhouse Voices — Medium

I can certainly understand the desire to say I told you so. — Schoolhouse Voices — Medium:

I can certainly understand the desire to say I told you so.

I’ve said many of the same things Randi has before, too.








There’s no doubt that we could have avoided our current situation regarding standardized tests with a different stance by the USDOE. Yet, as I tell my own children, and used to say when I was superintendent, we’re in the situation we’re in, so what are we going to do about it?
The 47th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools provides valuable information for policy makers to consider as we rethink policies and practices intended to improve public education for all students. As Randi points out, the PDK/Gallup poll found that the American public feels there’s too much emphasis on standardized tests. We have to ask, who’s emphasizing? Certainly, no one can escape federal accountability provisions, but schools and local districts — and even states (see Connecticut) — can choose the value they place on them, and they can design comprehensive accountability systems that include measures beyond state standardized tests. http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/info/ssif/They also can engage their communities by sharing other evidence of student achievement http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/framework/
Thirty-seven percent of public school parents say examples of student work provide the most accurate picture of a student’s academic progress, and 25% say written observations do so, while only 16% say standardized achievement tests fill this need. So how is AFT encouraging local chapters to ensure that contracts support this kind of communication from the teacher to parents? Moreover, are local districts giving teachers the time and support to share progress with parents beyond standardized tests? Local leaders and educators have to work hard to follow their community’s values when sharing reports about student progress and achievement. If the school, district, and community value standardized test scores beyond all else, so be it. If they believe otherwise, educators have an obligation to be proactive about sharing student progress beyond test scores.
Other findings in this year’s poll regarding standardized tests require further conversation and analysis, especially those concerning demographic differences. Clearly, black and Hispanic respondents place more value than whites do on using standardized test scores for comparing and evaluating schools. Moreover, 28% of black and 23% of Hispanic respondents say standardized tests are “very important” for measuring the quality of local schools, compared to just 11% of white respondents. Union leaders, superintendents, policy makers, and school leaders must recognize that I can certainly understand the desire to say I told you so. — Schoolhouse Voices — Medium:

Two sides to the Katrina recovery: one black, one white — separate and unequal | The Lens

Two sides to the Katrina recovery: one black, one white — separate and unequal | The Lens:

Two sides to the Katrina recovery: one black, one white — separate and unequal






New Orleans and the regional economy are “embarking on a new path, benefitting from new infrastructure, investments, a more diverse set of [employment] clusters, and an entrepreneurship boom,” says a 10th anniversary report by The Data Center, which, in alliance with the Brookings Institution, has been keeping comprehensive records of the Katrina recovery since Day One.
That there are more restaurants here than before the disaster — despite a shrunken city population — has become a meme popular with recovery pundits. Tax incentives have created Hollywood South, with New Orleans now rivaling Hollywood itself in TV, film and ad production. A billion-dollar medical center and research facilities have just opened. And the list goes on: revitalized and expanded business corridors along Magazine Street, Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, St. Claude Avenue; the Whole Foods branch on a resurgent Broad Street, an upsurge in entrepreneurial ventures, dog parks and an abundance of bike lanes all over town.
Property values have rebounded to pre-Katrina levels — and higher still in some areas, as residents rebuild and newcomers compete for space in trendy neighborhoods. The chartering of almost all New Orleans public schools — including those run by the Orleans Parish School Board and the ones that were taken over by the Recovery School District, is being hailed as a national model worthy of emulation in other cities. High school graduation rates are up as are college entry rates, notably so among black males. Despite troubling levels of murder and rape, overall crime is down.
In sum, 10 years post-Katrina, New Orleans is a great place to live and raise a family.
Or is it?
Because beneath the froth of genuinely dynamic improvements, Data Center numbers also reveal the lurking hulk of the “City That Care Forgot,” to use one of our famous nicknames. I speak, of course, of the Chocolate City, to use a moniker of more recent vintage that was revived after the storm by our former mayor, Ray Nagin, now doing time for public corruption. Nagin was trying to offer reassurance to black New Orleans that the world many of us remembered so fondly would never be taken away.
In ways that the mayor would not have encouraged, that has proven to be true. With middle-class blacks figuring prominently in the exodus that has reduced the city’s population by about one quarter, New Orleans has a poverty rate (27 percent) well above the national average. Fully 67 percent of black New Orleans households are considered low-income, while 44 percent earn less than $20,900 annually.
And small wonder. Over half of black men are unemployed in New Orleans and the spike in rents and associated costs makes housing more and more difficult to come by. It comes as no surprise then that the incidence of murder and other forms of violence is concentrated among these same people, both as perpetrators and victims. Nearly 30 percent of 16-to-24-year-olds are considered “disconnected youths.” More than half of the children live in poverty, according to a report put out this week by the Urban League of New Orleans. An anniversary report by the New Orleans Tribune quantifies many of these persistent problems.
For all the buzz about recent academic gains, for too many students the public school system remains, as it was before Katrina, a place where hope and dreams die a slow death. Too many students graduate unprepared for the colleges that now admit them and, given the economy’s continued dependence on tourism and the convention business, a high school diploma is often nothing more than a ticket to a low-wage job Two sides to the Katrina recovery: one black, one white — separate and unequal | The Lens:

Teacher wellness center at city school has goal to promote fitness, ease stress - Baltimore Sun

Teacher wellness center at city school has goal to promote fitness, ease stress - Baltimore Sun:

Teacher wellness center at city school has goal to promote fitness, ease stress



Teacher Wellness Center
Left, Heather Hatfield, a FX Well personal trainer, watches as Matt Mutolo of Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School, demonstrates bench jumps at the grand opening of the Teacher Wellness Center at Francis Scott Key. Scott Plank, founder of War Horse, and his wife, Dana DiCarlo, funded the center.

 An exhausted Morgen Piper used to roll past her workout studio just down the street from Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School at the end of the day, thinking "I just can't do it."

Beginning this year, the special education teacher will have to muster only enough energy to walk down the hall.

The first wellness center for teachers in Baltimore opened Thursday at Francis Scott Key, part of a public-private partnership spearheaded by Scott Plank, founder of the real estate and philanthropy company War Horse.

Left, Heather Hatfield, a FX Well personal trainer, watches as Matt Mutolo of Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School, demonstrates bench jumps at the grand opening of the Teacher Wellness Center at Francis Scott Key. Scott Plank, founder of War Horse, and his wife, Dana DiCarlo, funded the center. (Kim Hairston)

Officials say the effort is designed to foster health and fitness among teachers, who are relied upon as role models for students.

"A lot of the lion's share of the resources go to the kids, as it should be," said Plank. "But we thought we could deliver the same kinds of resources to teachers."

Plank said he created the 1,574-square-foot wellness center — equipped with treadmills, an Arc exercise machine, bikes, a rowing machine and more — with the goal of bringing a private-sector attraction to public school teachers.

Plank said people sometimes forget that teachers make a choice to go into a classroom instead of into corporations. He quipped that he didn't know much about being a teacher, but he does know about running a business.

"Everything is about retaining and attracting good people," Plank said.

For Piper, the wellness center signals recognition and appreciation for her job.

"It's like we work for this entity, where we're only seen as teachers," Piper said. "This acknowledges that we're people."Teacher wellness center at city school has goal to promote fitness, ease stress - Baltimore Sun:


Seattle Schools Community Forum: Ask About Videotaping in the Classroom

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Ask About Videotaping in the Classroom:

Ask About Videotaping in the Classroom







Via my student data privacy network of colleagues (via Student Privacy Matters), I have learned that there are teachers doing edTPA teacher certification training who are videotaping their work with students.  Some of the issues noted from my colleagues like Leonie Haimson:

Molly, a NYC parent, tweeted and emailed me this AM about the many videos exploding all over YouTube that were originally submitted through the edTPA teacher certification process showing students being taught by teachers in training. One in particular shows a student who the teacher is trying to train him not to hum during reading. 

The video link provided has been taken down at YouTube.

From reader, Josh Hayes, at this blog in Feb. 2014:

It's worth pointing out that new grads, starting this year, wishing to obtain certification as a teacher in WA state, must submit a great big package called the "edTPA", or "Teacher Performance Assessment", and pass it, much like experienced teachers passing national boards. 

From edTPA:
Secure appropriate permission from the parents/guardians of your students and from adults who appear in the video recording.

Teachers cannot: 


Display the video publicly (i.e., personal websites, YouTube, Facebook) without expressed permission for this purpose from all those featured in the video.

Sample Release form. 

Continuing with Haimson's e-mail:  

I assume that the usual parent consent forms for edTPA do NOT include 
Seattle Schools Community Forum: Ask About Videotaping in the Classroom:

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