For many years parents and special education advocates have alerted the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) of special education violations in the charter system in New Orleans. Years before the creation of the Recovery School District (RSD), I did the same with the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB). In my experience as an advocate, the problems we saw with OPSB schools and special education, pale in comparison to what we see now with this new landscape of public education in New Orleans. Worse yet, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the LDOE believes that an adequate solution to the special education violations at Lagniappe Academies, is to close the school. These same entities did not exact that punishment on other schools in New Orleans that also violated special education laws. The Southern Poverty Law Center detailed numerous violations over a period of several years in multiple schools, in their federal complaint and subsequent federal lawsuit. Yet, not one school in New Orleans over the last 4 years was closed due to special education violations. Nor is closing schools an element in the Consent Decree to correct those violations. When I think back to my own children’s schools, even on my maddest day at McMain High School, when the principal refused to provide an accommodation that my son needed, I never saw closing the school as the solution to that violation. It is illogical to me to close a school to fix a special education violation. I do not support closing schools, as a form of accountability, not even the closure of charter schools. There are better solutions that punish the violators, and do not destabilize the education of children. I support corrective action plans to correct the problems so that children can get special education services they need. I support revoking charter contracts and returning schools to the elected school board as an option that shows that the department of education is tough on special education violations. It should be the decision of the elected school board whether or not to seek a new charter operator or run the school as a direct operated school. The department of education has had it’s chance at operating public education as a business, and when charter schools fail to uphold the law, it’s time for their participation in the experiment to end in a responsible way that protects children. When the state department of education failed to provide adequate monitoring and oversight of Lagniappe Academy and other charter schools in New Orleans for years, it set the stage for the alleged egregious violations at Lagniappe Academies. The (LDOE) Louisiana Department of Education does not have the staff or the funding to look deeply into every charter school to uncover special education violations that are not exposed by parent complaints or whistleblowers, but it should if it wants to continue to recommend charter schools as a solution to our troubled public education system. Clearly such a wide open, market based system of independent, privately managed charter schools with expanded autonomy, deserves a robust system of monitoring and oversight. The Louisiana Legislature, The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Louisiana Department of Education share equally in the blame with the Lagniappe Academies Charter Board and administration for the violations discovered after being tipped off by 2 former Lagniappe Academies employees. In a system built on the idea of choice, there is a responsibility to protect the choice parents have made, not punish them for being in a city where over 90% of the schools are charter schools. There is something fundamentally flawed with an education reform strategy that closes schools rather than fixing them. Never has this been made more clear than now as parents at Lagniappe Academy prepare to look for new schools for their children because adults failed to create the kind of landscape of public education that values every child. I call on everyone to rethink closing schools as accountability. Contact your elected officials, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the State Department of Education today and encourage a more child centered approach to education reform.
Don’t Close Schools, Fix Schools! Wednesday, Mar 18 2015
Uncategorized charter schools, Choice, Ed reform, education, Education Reform, LDOE, louisiana department of education, new orleans public schools, New Orleans Schools, One APP, Recovery School District, RSD, state department of education 7:06 am
To New Orleans RSD Parents: TOPS Isn’t Happening for Your Children Wednesday, Mar 18 2015
Uncategorized 3:31 am
Just last night I was told that at one charter school in New Orleans that a 53 is considered a C. If this is true, when adding up quality points for a grade point average, this could mean that these students would meat the GPA standards for a TOPS scholarship. Since TOPS money comes from our tax revenue, wouldn’t that be fraud? Quality points should be standard across the state for purposes of TOPS, right? Even with a rigged GPA, clearly a number of students in New Orleans won’t be earning TOPS because of their low ACT scores. One would think that students who have been in the “reform” school since 5th or 6th grade would score well enough on the ACT to earn TOPS and be able to enter Louisiana’s 4 year university system. It seems to me that ACT data is an indication that perhaps the reforms aren’t all that successful after 11 years of having a Recovery School District in this state.
Originally posted on deutsch29:
Also, on February 9, 2015, I challenged Jacobs’ “enormously improved” portrayal of New Orleans RSD in this post.
Among the issues I challenged were the low rates of RSD graduates eligible for scholarships through the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS), as concerns scholarships to both four-year colleges/universities and two-year, community colleges.
Four-year TOPS requires a minimum GPA of 2.5 in core subjects and an ACT composite score at the state average, which by current TOPS standards is 20.
Two-year TOPS tech requires a minimum GPA of 2.5 in core subjects and a minimum ACT composite of 17.
In my February 9, 2015, post, I noted that three RSD high schools had not even one graduate eligible for even TOPS two-year tech. I…
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Un-Masking the Faces Behind the Post-Katrina “Flim Flam” at John McDonogh Sr. High, Part I Sunday, Mar 15 2015
Uncategorized 10:23 am
John McDonogh H.S. is the poster child school that depicts how “Reformonsters” took over our schools, w/o care 4 children. #nolaed
Originally posted on whodatresearcher:
Post-Katrina Time Line of John McDonogh Sr. High School
The year of John McDonogh’s reopening, students from all over the city joined John McDonogh’s marching unit. As a result of intense pressure, John McDonogh was the first RSD direct run high school to have the band instruments and after school insurance for students. — photograph taken by Elizabeth K. Jeffers
Nov. 30, 2005 The State of Louisiana seizes control over 107 New Orleans Public Schools, including John McDonogh Senior High School, in legislation known as Act 35.
Spring and Summer 2006 John McDonogh community members and former faculty members meet across the street from John McDonogh at the Musician’s Union to press for the re-opening of John McDonogh as a public school.
Sept. 2006 John McDonogh re-opens under the RSD.
Oct. – Nov. 2006 DNIA Education Committee, including many of the John McDonogh…
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Louisiana Charter School Audit Reveals Faux-Accountability Saturday, Mar 14 2015
Uncategorized 9:08 am
Clearly the LDOE isn’t auditing nor monitoring it’s charter schools, otherwise these parents would not be paying the price for their sudden act of caring about special education violations. http://bit.ly/NOLAChoice2
Originally posted on deutsch29:
In October 2012, I sent the following email to Louisiana Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera requesting a performance audit of Louisiana’s charter schools. I did so in response to having read the US Department of Education’s audit of charters in Arizona, California, and Florida:
request for La. charter schools audit
From: Mercedes Schneider <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: dpurpera <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, Oct 26, 2012 11:51 p.m.
Attachment: US Dept of Ed Charter Audit
Mr. Purpera, attached is the US inspector general’s audit of US Dept of Ed’s oversight charter schools in California, Florida, and Arizona. As you will note from reading, the US Dept of Ed is seriously lacking in their rigor in their management of both charter school educational quality and fiscal responsibility.The lack of rigor evident in management of California, Florida, and Arizona charter schools is likely problematic in Louisiana, as well. First, there is notable turnover in the charter…
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Answering a Challenge for “Full Disclosure” of My *Secret Funding* Saturday, Mar 7 2015
Uncategorized 10:25 pm
Attention: Not everyone is in this for the money. Get over it. Some of us have personal convictions that fuel us, not philanthropists.
Originally posted on deutsch29:
On March 4, 2015, I wrote a post about a Louisiana teacher promoting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in the op/eds and who happens to be under contract with the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) as a paid “common core expert.”
The teacher did not disclose that she is being financially compensated specifically for promoting CCSS.
I took issue with both the compensation and the failure to disclose.
On March 6, 2015, I had a comment connected to the above post awaiting approval. It was written under the name, SickOfYourNonsense.
Here is what Sick had to say:
I think it’s time for full disclosure from you.
Who has been paying you under the table to keep our children tied to low standards and the worst curriculum in the nation,
Who has been paying you at all?
Setting aside the spitting-lizard tone of the above comment, allow me to…
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Do We Still Need A Recovery School District? Tuesday, Oct 14 2014
Those New Orleans *Miracle* Charter AP Outcomes Wednesday, Oct 8 2014
Uncategorized 10:50 pm
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
Uncategorized 11:52 pm
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
Uncategorized 12:48 pm
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
Uncategorized 11:27 am
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.