Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The real story of New Orleans and its charter schools - The Washington Post

The real story of New Orleans and its charter schools - The Washington Post

The real story of New Orleans and its charter schools


School choice proponents love to talk about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city in 2005 and the public school system was decimated. A collection of charter schools opened to replace the troubled traditional school district that had previously existed, and since then the city is often pointed to as a success for school choice and state takeovers of local schools.
Why is this effort called a success?
Standardized test scores are up from before the hurricane. But is the increase really impressive? The 2018 results for the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program exams found that only 26 percent in the Orleans Parish-Recovery School District had achieved “mastery” or above, less than the 34 percent state average.
(It is worth nothing that I don't think test scores should be viewed as significant measures of accomplishment, but school choice proponents do, so that is why they are being cited.)
So what is really going on in the schools of New Orleans? Are whatever improvements are being made happening for the reasons that charter school supporters say? Is it the “charterness” of the schools themselves or other factors that speak to traditional public schools as well?
That's what is discussed in this post by Carol Burris, a former New York high school principal who is executive director of the Network for Public Education, a nonprofit advocacy group.
Burris was named the 2010 Educator of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York State, and in 2013, the National Association of Secondary School Principals named her the New York State High School Principal of the Year. Burris has been chronicling problems with modern school reform and school choice for years on this blog. She has previously written about problems with charter schools in California and a number of other states.

By Carol Burris
New Orleans, post-Katrina, is undoubtedly the most cited example of the success of state takeovers, charters and choice.
Former education secretary Arne Duncan once said that Hurricane Katrina was the “best thing” that ever happened to education in the city (though he later apologized). The New York Times’s opinion columnist David Leonhardt recently praised the city in his series on New Orleans school reform. And the City Fund, led by Neerav Kingsland, the former chief executive of New Schools for New Orleans, uses New Orleans as a tool to pry open the coffers of philanthropy for its portfolio approach of school governance — one that would Continue reading: The real story of New Orleans and its charter schools - The Washington Post



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