Do We Still Need A Recovery School District? Tuesday, Oct 14 2014 

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 5.39.09 PMI was invited to guest host The New Orleans Imperative Radio Show on Monday, October 13, 2014.   We asked the question:  Do we still need a Recovery School District?  You can listen to a rebroadcast of this show at:  The New Orleans Imperative 

What are your thoughts?

Those New Orleans *Miracle* Charter AP Outcomes Wednesday, Oct 8 2014 

edutalknola:

It’s always a very good idea to look past the Louisiana Department of Education’s press releases and check out the raw data. The press release is usually focused on making really bad news look good.

Originally posted on deutsch29:

On October 8, 2014, New York teacher Gary Rubinstein wrote a post on Louisiana’s May 2014 Advanced Placement (AP) outcomes. His post is aptly entitled, Louisiana Still Ranks Second to Last in AP Results. 

Of course such news must be spun; therefore, Louisiana Superintendent John White twists the result into Louisiana Among Nation’s Most Improved States on Advanced Placement Scores

As Rubinstein shows, Louisiana has ranked only higher than Mississippi on passing AP outcomes for the past three years. Not sure how consistent second-to-last equals “most improved.” But then, I am not a liar by trade.

In his post, Rubinstein includes a handful of scores on our New Orleans Miracle Schools. He was able to obtain such scores from a search engine in the Times-Picayune.

White does not do search engines. He has sabotaged the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) to such a degree that I doubt he has…

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Some Sad truths about RSD’s Grad Rate and Dropout numbers Friday, Oct 3 2014 

edutalknola:

It’s time for all of us to call on our state legislators and demand fraud audits of every school within the RSD including it’s charters. It’s clear that the Louisiana Department of Education cannot be trusted to audit schools it’s had a direct hand in operating or schools under it’s jurisdiction for oversight as charters. It’s time for this RSD charade to be shut down. Less than 10 of the RSD New Orleans schools are performing above the state average. They took 107 schools from the Orleans Parish School Board almost 10 years ago because they were below the state average. Who holds the RSD accountable for holding onto our schools or giving them to private non profit boards for all this time without getting at least to the state average? The initial RSD legislation for the takeover in 2005 was meant to give the schools back after 5 years assuming they would fix them in 5 years. Instead of giving them back, they gave them away. This is a racket!

Originally posted on Crazy Crawfish's Blog:

I have been warning LDOE for years that something fishy is going on with the grad rate across the state. John White, Chas Roemer and Reformers would just have you believe that “raising the bar” and having “higher expectations” for students is the only thing that Louisiana lacks. They ignore decades of history and Louisiana’s extreme poverty as contributing factors. It’s no coincidence that those who tell poor people poverty is not a factor that impacts academic success come from the most affluent segments of our society. Both Chas Roemer and John White attended some of the most prestigious and expensive private schools in the country and have parents with long entries in Wikipedia. Just average folks, like you and me, ya know? These folks tell us all we need to do is raise our standards, our benchmarks, and “Believe”.

When you operate this way in good faith (let’s pretend…

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Jim Arnold: Copy Louisiana? What a Joke! Tuesday, Sep 30 2014 

edutalknola:

Copy Louisiana, LOL, LOL, LOL, I hope Georgia listens to this guy.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Jim Arnold, former superintendent of Pelham City public schools in Georgia, has a message for Governor Nathan Deal, who is running for re-election. Governor Deal thinks Georgia needs a “recovery school district,” like the one in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Jim Arnold says Governor Deal is wrong.

Arnold writes that Louisiana is a low-performing state and Néw Orleans is a low-performing district.

“Louisiana, where Advanced Placement exam results for 2013 are ahead of only Mississippi, is known more for LSU football and Duck Dynasty than public education…..

“The vast majority of charters in Louisiana, except for those with a selective admission process, are rated D or F by their own state. The New Orleans Recovery School District that Nathan Deal suggested we emulate was rated as one of the lowest performing districts in the state.
This plan was part of the “bait and switch” campaign in Louisiana to increase the number…

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The New Orleans Imperative Rebroadcast – September 29, 2014 Tuesday, Sep 30 2014 

edutalknola:

Yesterday I joined Dr. Raynard Sanders on his radio show, The New Orleans Imperative to discuss the recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Education that they were opening up an investigation into the Civil Rights complaint filed by the Coalition for Community Schools and C-6. I am a member of the Coalition for Community Schools. You can listen to a rebroadcast of the show at The New Orleans Imperative online.

Originally posted on theneworleansimperative:

Last week the U.S. Education Department Office of Civil Rights announced that they have opened an investigation into charges that the Recovery School District’s policy of closing and chartering New Orleans public schools violated the civil rights of African-American students. This investigation is the result of complaint filed by last May by the Advancement Project and two local education advocacy groups, Coalition for Community Schools and Conscious Concerned Citizens Controlling Community Changes. Karran Harper Royal of the Coalition for Community Schools joined us this morning to discuss the investigation.

Also on this morning’s program, Dr. Mark Naison of Fordham University joined us to discuss the claim by education reformer$ that public education has failed poor and minority children.

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New Orleans School Justice Hotline Tuesday, Sep 30 2014 

edutalknola:

Call the School Justice Hotline and let us know what your confers are related to public education in New Orleans.

Originally posted on theneworleansimperative:

TNOEER-1 copy

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RSD School Construction Overspending and Substandard Concrete: Time for Jindal Admin to Expand Its Audit Sunday, Aug 10 2014 

edutalknola:

It’s long past time for real oversight and accountability with the Recovery School District. If these construction issues had happened with OPSB driving the train solely in control of the post Katrina rebuilding money, the media would be doing weekly articles on this chaos. It’s time that our legislators end this charade of so called reform called the Recovery School District.

Originally posted on deutsch29:

As of June 18, 2014, Louisiana State Superintendent John White has found himself to be the focus of Office of Contractual Renewal (OCR) and Division of Administration (DOA) investigation for his questionable methods regarding Louisiana’s assessment contracts.

White has publicly complained that such is evidence that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is out to get him. White’s buddy, Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) President Chas Roemer, a career politician, tries to deflect focus from any White/BESE wrongdoing by dismissing the entire situation as “politics.”

(I’m sure it’s mere coincidence that Roemer the Politician Who Hails from a Family of Politicians and Who Has Been Calling Out Jindal for Behaving Like a Politician *just happens* to be featured in this August 9, 2014, News Star heart-warmer about how he has no future political aspirations… “for now.”)

The problem with White’s complaints and Roemer’s curt dismissal is that…

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Saving John Mac Wednesday, Aug 6 2014 

2 Open Letters to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

The Recovery School District has neglected this school for too long.  It's time to return it to the Orleans Parish School Board

The Recovery School District has neglected this school for too long. It’s time to return it to the Orleans Parish School Board

John Mc Donogh High School  was one of the first high schools to open in the Recovery School District after Hurricane Katrina.  Almost from the beginning,  the John Mc Donogh community sought to work with the Recovery School District (RSD)  to improve the school and instill in it, the kinds of programs that the community knew were necessary for the success of the children in New Orleans.  At every turn the community’s efforts were rebuffed, eventually in favor of chartering the school under Future is Now Schools.  The RSD closed John Mc Donogh High School at the end of the 2013-2014 school year.  The John Mc Donogh Steering committee has never given up and will never give up.  It has garnered the support of the Orleans Parish School Board in requesting the return of John Mac and has secured more than 500 signatures on a petition.  Members of the steering committee and attorney Willie Zanders appeared before the July 30, 2014  Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) committee of the whole to request the return of John Mac.  Attorney Willie Zanders  presented 9 very compelling reasons why the BESE should return John Mc Donogh High School to the jurisdiction of the Orleans Parish School Board in his July 30, 2014 Open Letter.

(Be sure to click on the links in the letters)

BESE Committee members listening to the testimony of community members

BESE Committee members listening to the testimony of community members

 

During the July 30, 2014 BESE meeting, Vice President James Garvey stated that the board needed to seek a legal opinion to determine if it has the authority to return the school, or was this a decision to be made by Recovery School District Superintendent Patrick Dobard.  Attorney Willie Zanders lays out a very thorough analysis that shows that BESE does indeed have the authority to return John Mac to the Orleans Parish School Board in an Open Letter dated August 4, 2014.

Support the John Mc Donogh High School Steering Committee by liking their Facebook Page and signing the petition.

 

 

RSD One App Chaos Continues Update 7/11/14 Friday, Jul 11 2014 

Today parents exiting the Family Resource Center at Lake Area High School  are saying that RSD One App staff  is telling them that there are not 4th and 8th grade seats in the system.  This is disputed by representatives of two schools who have shown up on the site.  Representatives from Tubman  and Milestones schools both say they have seats available in those grades and can also accommodate siblings.  Parents have been told by RSD One App staff that sibling preference can no longer be accommodated and some parents are forced to split up their kids.  Apparently there is still confusion.

Parents are also saying that they are being told that only Landry-Walker and Cohen College prep have seats available.  Parents living in New Orleans East are unhappy with these options.  You may remember that the Recovery School District closed Reed high school which is in New Orleans East.  Had they not done so, Reed high school would be an option for parents in New Orleans East. Cohen and Landry Walker are very far away from these parents homes.  It seems that the RSD is forcing parents to choose these two schools, which in effect means there really isn’t choice at all.  The parents we spoke to wanted to choose Mc Main High School, Mc Donogh 35 High School, Karr High School. and Wright High School, yet those choices were full.  Many also wanted to choose Warren Easton High School, but Easton does not participate in One App. 

I encourage all parents to contact schools to see if there are seats available before going to Lake Area High School and getting in line.

Many parents are being turned away because they don’t have the necessary paperwork.  I would be helpful if the RSD would create a phone message clearly stating what paperwork parents need to bring.  The paperwork requirements should be posted on the door of every school in New Orleans so that parents would have access as well as be placed on the front page of the RSD website. It is unacceptable to have people wait in long lines to only find out that they have to leave and come back.

We are seeing more Latino parents in these lines and we are told that Spanish speaking translators are on site to help parents enroll their students.

If you are concerned about this chaotic process and want to work with other parents to recommend solutions to the Recovery School District, leave you name, email address and cell phone number on our School Justice Line 504-365-3006.  We will inform you of the next meeting to work on solutions.

If you are as outraged by this week’s RSD One App Enrollment process, please call your state senator and state representative today and demand solutions for the dysfunctional Recovery School District.

Still Waiting in Lines, Nine Years Later Wednesday, Jul 9 2014 

July 9th, over 800 parents try to enroll their children in public schools in New Orleans through the Recovery School District's One App process.

July 9th, over 800 parents try to enroll their children in public schools in New Orleans through the Recovery School District’s One App process.

 

Nine years after the state takeover of our schools, parents find themselves standing in line for education.

This post was going to be very different. I was going to write about how my day started. I just deleted what I’d written because of a text I received from a parent today.

In the text she writes:

“I don’t think I will be there tomorrow I can’t handle all those people. I have flash back from Katherine when we had to stand in line for food &water for our children in the heat now we have to do it for education . So every Charte school can get a head count to get there money that’s not beneficial to our Kids .”

No, I did not correct Katherine, I know she meant Katrina nor fix the spelling and grammar errors. It’s a text message, not a business letter. I simply cut pasted her text message into this post. This is a real, living breathing parent, who wants the best for her child, just like all of the parents I saw today.

The Recovery School District was not prepared as about 800 parents showed up to enroll their children in school through their common enrollment process called One App.  I wonder if the RSD understands that they are re-traumatizing New Orleans parents, over and over again as they try-out running a school system, and get it wrong, over and over again. It reminded me also of a time several years ago when there weren’t enough seats for children in January of 2007. We’ve been here before, for me, it’s another post Katrina flashback.

Then my phone rang.   After this call I wanted to delete what I had just written, but I didn’t.  This call was the second of the day from a parent I’d  met earlier at the Recovery School District Family Center. She’s a lovely mother who is totally blind. (her words, not mine) She spent more than 3 hours standing in the hot sun with her 8 year old, only to be turned away and told to come back tomorrow to a different location.

Lovely Parent

 

While that might be an inconvenience for most, it’s a true hardship for this mother. Many of our parents have transportation challenges, and for this mother it’s no different. Well, maybe it is, she’s blind so she can’t just get in her car or hop on a bus without assistance. She needed to get someone to bring her to the every where she needs to go and have them wait with her, or find someone else to bring her home. If that were not challenging enough, what she shared with me next, knocked me off my feet. To be in today’s lines, also meant that she had to make sure there was a nurse at home with her 18 month old who has cerebral palsy, a feeding tube and a brain shunt. It won’t be easy for this mother to simply show up tomorrow.  She asked me to “put her business in the street” if it will help her get a 2nd grade spot at Behrman Charter school. She’ll accept Alice Harte Charter School also. These are her choices. She said she can’t  put her child “just anywhere” because she has ADD and she needs teachers who really understand how to work with a child like hers.

 

Parents want to be able to choose the school that best fits their children’s needs. After all, we’ve all heard about this all choice system in New Orleans. This is now a system of choice. We have charter school proponents who say that if a parent doesn’t like their current placement, they can choose another one tomorrow. Today’s long lines in the hot New Orleans sun shows us that it’s just not that easy. At the request of this spunky visually impaired mother, I put her request on Twitter about 6 hours ago. I’m still waiting for a school to let me know that they can’t help this parent. I’m still waiting for the One App office to make some reasonable accommodation for this parent with a disability so that she won’t have to wait more hours for a seat that may not even exist.

Come back tomorrow and wait some more.

Nine years after the takeover, I don’t think it’s too much to ask of the state controlled, Recovery School District,  to provide high quality choices for parents, who are trying to educate their children in the newly transformed, open enrollment, choice driven public school system in New Orleans.  Certainly, it’s unconscionable that the RSD would have parents wait hours in the hot New Orleans sun for education just like they waited nine years ago for food and water in those days after Hurricane Katrina.

I sure hope this pain in my chest goes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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