The Ever Under-Achieving Achievement District
Now that the Nashville School Board race is over, it’s time to get back to a couple subjects I’ve been meaning to explore. As I’ve mentioned, back in July I went to the National Charter School Conference here in Nashville and was taken aback by the opening welcome session. After the welcome session, it was time to attend some breakout sessions. In perusing the schedule of breakout sessions, one in particular jumped out at me: From Recovery to Extraordinary: States and Charter Schools Working Together. The description read as follows:
The Louisiana Recovery School District and the Tennessee Achievement School District have brought new attention to the role that charter schools can play in replacing poor performing schools. They have also tested the theory that the freedoms associated with chartering can in fact benefit those who are the most at risk. This panel will explore the role that charters have played in serving the hardest to educate and what policymakers should consider to better serve these students.
Featured speakers were:
- Paul Pastorek, Pastorek Partners LLC
- Malika Anderson, Achievement School District, TN
- Chris Reynolds, LEAD Public Schools
- Christine Wolfe, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
Yep, this had potential. You see, I know a little bit about the Achievement School District (ASD). In fact, I’d sparred with founder Chris Barbic on more than one occasion, and don’t tell anybody, but I danced a little jig on the day he announced his resignation. Ok, never mind, you can tell everybody. The truth is that from the beginning in Tennessee, the ASD has never been anything but one big hustle, and somewhere along the way they became nothing but just another charter authorizer. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The whole “achievement school district” trend began in New Orleans in 2003. It was meant as a means to take the lowest performing schools and devote more resources to them as a means to improvement. Pierre Capdau School in New Orleans became Louisiana’s first takeover school in August of 2004 and then became Louisiana’s first Recovery School District (RSD) charter school. Four more schools were added in the spring of 2005. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit and changed everything. In the wake of Katrina’s devastation, the Louisiana State Legislature passed Act 35, which resulted in the RSD taking over 102 out of 128 schools from the Orleans Parish School Board. Those schools were then converted to charter schools, and only five remained with the Orleans Parish. Today’s RSD The Ever Under-Achieving Achievement District « Dad Gone Wild: