Deny charter bid for the last 5 New Orleans district schools, report says
The Orleans Parish School Board should deny a request from its current and former staff to turn the city's last five district-run schools into independent charters, a consultant's report said.
The district released Thibodeaux & Walden's report on the Exceed Network's application for Ben Franklin Elementary, Mary Bethune Elementary, Mahalia Jackson Elementary, McDonogh No. 35 College Prep and Eleanor McMain Secondary on Friday (April 7).
The recommendation, if followed by the School Board, would prevent New Orleans from becoming the nation's first all-charter school district until at least July 2018.
The consultant's conclusion came as a surprise. The Exceed Network essentially lifted the five current principals, and the small central district office that runs them, into a separate organization. Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. encouraged the principals to charter, though he has not formally endorsed the application.
If the last five schools were chartered, the everyday experience at the five schools probably would not change much for students and parents -- especially if the current principals stayed in place, as the Exceed Network proposed.
But the decision would send a strong message nationally. The charter experiment and the other big changes that followed Hurricane Katrina have put a national spotlight on New Orleans schools.
There was no longer any competition for the elementary schools; Better Choice Foundation withdrew its application March 9. InspireNOLA has applied to run one high school.
The consultant's report is not binding. Lewis will make the official recommendation, and the School Board gets the final say.
Lewis had no immediate response. "The review process is ongoing. Dr. Lewis will Deny charter bid for the last 5 New Orleans district schools, report says | NOLA.com: