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
Charter Schools 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
Saving John Mac Wednesday, Aug 6 2014
2 Open Letters to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
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)
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Ed Reform in New Orleans…Truth Does Not Match Rhetoric Saturday, Sep 14 2013
In a recent story by The Lens , the keynote speaker made an impression on a particular charter school leader. I really do hope more privatizers “get it.” It’s important for those pushing charter schools and privatizing of public education to understand that their simplistic approaches prolong real solutions our children so desperately need. Their propaganda has swayed the court of public opinion, legislators and funders into believing that removing children from schools in their communities has totally transformed the public education system in New Orleans into something that works. This illusion of school choice that they are pushing is just the opposite of what Jeff Duncan-Andrade said to a room full of charter school supporters at the recent Louisiana Association of Public Charter School Conference. To think that by simply taking children out of their neighborhoods, and dressing that up as “school choice,” it would transform a school system, is irresponsible. I’m glad they had someone like Duncan-Andrade speak at their conference. As an education advocate and public school parent, I’ve tried to tell charter supporters that this was flawed thinking, to no avail. What’s important now is what these charter school advocates do with what they heard from Duncan-Andrade.
I am glad that Elizabeth Ostertag of the Net Charter “Alternative” School felt that Duncan-Andrade’s message hit home. Ostertag was thinking of the recent murder of 18 year old Leonard George. George lived about a mile away from where I live in a quiet Gentilly neighborhood. Situations like this always lead me to make a quick calculation about how old the child was right after Hurricane Katrina. I then wonder about the child’s post Katrina educational experience. How many different schools has he attended since returning after the storm? Why was this young man at this school to begin with? The Net is an alternative school. What went wrong in George’s post Katrina educational experience that precluded him from attending a traditional high school. Based on reports from family and neighbors, it sounds like his Mother, Christine George, a police dispatcher, who was also slain, was a wonderful person . So let us not do the “blame the parent” thing. Post Katrina, Leonard George would probably have been in the 5th or 6th grade. These 8 years after Katrina have been enough time to transform how he learns, if you want to believe the old public school system messed him up. Based on his address, he may have been a student at Bienville Elementary School, Nelson Elementary School or maybe even Waters Elementary School. However, none of those were options in his neighborhood right after the storm. Even if they were open, he would not have been guaranteed the right to attend any of those schools because we no longer have a right to the school closest to our homes, or a neighborhood schools. The KIPP Believe Charter School would have been the middle school if it had come back to that area post Katrina. KIPP Believe currently operates in the uptown area of New Orleans, not the area that served students from Phillips Junior High School, the school KIPP “tookover.” Nelson has become a charter school and it still struggles as a “D” rated school. Bienville was not opened until recently as Arthur Ashe Charter school, it too is a “D” rated school. The nearest high school is the “C” rated Lake Area high School, which is an early college high school, or the “F” rated John Mc Donogh High School. John Mc Donogh is now a charter school operated by Future is Now Schools and was recently the subject of a reality series on the OWN network. However, George ended up going a little further away from home to attend The Net, an alternative school, why? I would guess that school options and his personal adjustment to post Katrina living were factors in his life that contributed to him being at The Net.
I was moved to tears by another news report about a trio of young perpetrators of crime recently. For every one of these tragedies with our young people, whether they are the victim or the perpetrator, I want you to look at how this post Katrina education landscape complicates the lives of these young people. It is time that those pushing the privatizing of public education, to the exclusion of neighborhood schools, start to recognize the part they play in the stress our young people and their families are dealing with. Perhaps the loss of Leonard George will lead more charter school supporters to rethink their position and begin to value what many of us value was we work to rebuild our lives after the horrible Katrina Disaster. A sense of belonging in our own neighborhoods, surrounded by the people we know care about us goes a long way in helping us adjust after the disaster. A horrific disaster was not the time to experiment with dismantling a public education system. It was a time to give the children a since of connectedness and normalcy. I wish charter school advocated operated by an oath to “first do no harm.” There was much to fix in our school system, but the price paid in the lives of children is too high a price to pay for the mediocre results we are seeing 8 years after the state takeover of public education in New Orleans.
In fixing a public education system, it was hoped that we will no longer see young victims and perpetrators of crime the way we are seeing them in New Orleans today. It was hoped that our city would benefit socially and economically from the drastic changes and infusion of additional public dollars brought on my the state takeover. It was hoped that the lives of the people would be positively impacted and we all would be able to see the improvement without ever knowing the test scores of schools. Instead, in New Orleans, poverty has risen and in the last two weeks we’ve seen children die from violence or the conviction of children from being perpetrators of violence. Something is very wrong with the education reform picture in New Orleans. Our truths do not match the rhetoric of success.
Privatize!! Privatize? Tuesday, Nov 1 2011
Let nothing in this world evade Jindal’s plan to steer business to his cronies
Federal grant writers, and those who review the applications, rely on obscure language when applications are written and when terminated. The current rescinding of an $80 million grant to Louisiana is a case in point.
The original grant approval was based upon Louisiana’s agreement to bring high-speed Broadband to universities, K-12 schools, hospitals, libraries and other hubs in unserved and underserved areas of Louisiana. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency awarded a grant for a project that proposed to construct 900 miles of new fiber-optic infrastructure. The new network would have connected with the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative, a more than 1,600 mile network connecting Louisiana and Mississippi to a national network.
A year after the state began the project NOAA, with $5.3 million of the initial $15 million in state funds and $431,747 in federal funds already spent, the State took control and changed the entire plan to rent rights-of-use from commercial providers. Problem is that there are no commercial providers to provide the services required, no 900 miles of fiber-optic and few commercial providers willing to invest $90 million to do so. Shades of the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1930s when most farm and rural town families could get no electricity from existing electrical generating stations whose management believed it would take too long to recover the investment cost.
The federal rescission document includes in its reasoning the “…response outlines a solutions-based procurement approach that leaves key determinants to be provided by entities responding to its IRU (Indefeasible rights of use) RFP (Request for Proposals) and therefore does not provide the details required.” The withdrawal of grant letter also notes that the state “does not include information related to the methodology used for revenue projections related to fiber leases…”
If this sounds familiar one might remember how the administration unlocked the door to immeasurable riches by uncapping the number of charter schools allowable, or by granting charters to for-profit virtual schools that will make at least $1,500 profit on every student taken from traditional or other bricks-and-mortar charter schools.
The underlying assumption is that private interests will ALWAYS perform better than any government effort.
One might be caused to wonder how Lafayette Academy, in New Orleans, was forced to recover half of the $750,000 paid to for-profit education manager Mosaica by going to court to prove the company failed to perform. Or how Baton Rouge’s 100 Black Men were forced to fire for-profit Edison Learning when that company said it needed another $1 million to meet teacher payroll before the school year ended, and the end result was the schools they ran performed worse on state tests than did the prior school board.
Anything that lets private business interests into reap a harvest of state or federal tax collected funds is allowable. The Governor’s Office of Risk Management was working just fine and costing the state budget but $1.4 million a year. All of government was self-insured and the program operating efficiently. But, privatization brought a company that was to be paid up to $68 million over five years. That, after six months, was judged not to be sufficient so the price tag was raised to $75 million. At that point a company in Ohio (that was not the low bidder) bought the Louisiana-based company. We don’t know what the sales price was, but adding that $7 million in contract had to help justify the cost. Then the Ohio company realized it could come out even better financially if it sold itself to a company across the Pacific in India.
Then of course there is the much fought over move by the Jindal administration to sell out four prisons. The legislature raised sufficient havoc with that proposal that the Governor postponed action. The fact that the federal government is charged more, by one of Jindal’s chosen buyers, to operate its Oakdale prison than it costs to operate any of the four state-run prisons is apparently not relevant.
The same kind of initiative was tried in the effort to sell the Office of Group Benefits which successfully runs, on less than 3% of premiums, the health insurance coverage for state and local employees and state retirees. The low cost, plus the build-up of $500 million in reserve that is dedicated by the State Constitution for the purpose of insuring employee coverage are testimony to the soundness of the agency. Yet, the administration still harbors the intent of selling it out.
Perhaps it is interesting to note that the Jindal administration could not get its act together to take the offered $60 million in pre-K grants, but when the recently passed TOPA constitutional amendment freed up $80 of the general fund appropriation no thought was given to using the additional cash for the 56,000 eligible LA4 children. Instead Gov. Jindal urges that it be put into the kitty to lay fallow until some company comes along and needs to be lured to set up shop in Louisiana.
This is a guest blog by:
New Orleans: Beachhead for Corporate Takeover of Public Schools Friday, Oct 28 2011
The national media consensus is that New Orleans has discovered the miracle cure for urban education. Their conclusion is largely drawn from data provided by the Louisiana Department of Education, which obviously has a vested interest in emphasizing the good and ignoring the bad in the post-Katrina education changes. New Orleans is important in the national education debate, but not for the reasons we commonly hear; it is important because it is the beachhead for a national movement to remove schools from local democratic control and accountability. The privatization trade-off is that the public sacrifices control of schools for a privatized system that delivers better education for the same tax dollar. While the citizens of New Orleans certainly lost control of their schools, it cannot be said that they have received a better education, if that also means an equitable education, nor can it be said that it came at the same cost.
The corporate education forces that advocate a free-market business model have developed a “beachhead” strategy in New Orleans. Taking advantage of the evacuation of 90% of the population after Katrina, they set in motion educational changes that bypassed the elected school board and destroyed virtually all local democracy and accountability. They hoped to use New Orleans as a showcase for a model school system they could imposed throughout the nation; one based on privatizing public schools into charter schools and shifting dependence from veteran teachers to temporary and inexperienced Teach For America (TFA) recruits.
At the heart of the beachhead strategy was a quiet policy of subsidizing select charter schools to provide them with additional instructional resources and incentives to ensure increases in high-stakes test scores. But the flaw in the subsidy system was that the showcase model “successful schools” could not possibly be replicated on existing revenues throughout the district let alone throughout the nation. The corporations and foundations had only enough funds to bankroll a display system in one city—not in 50,000 schools nationwide.
From the outside, it appeared that the charters and TFA have “done more with less” when in fact—if they did more at all—it was through massive subsidies from the state, corporations, and foundations, all largely concealed from the public.
The funds to prop up test scores at all the state-controlled schools and charters rolled in by the millions after the state takeover of most of New Orleans schools. In a state that never spent much on public education, suddenly the takeover superintendent was given a blank check; he promptly doubled the expenditure per student. Teacher salaries were increased 50% in three years; the Broad foundation gave one KIPP school $150,000 to pay students up to $50 a week to behave (it worked: Angelina Jolie toured the school and remarked on how well behaved the students were). One charter school spent twice per pupil as the state funding formula by using corporate and foundation subsides. In-kind subsidies flowed into the charters: AmeriCorps volunteers were used as teachers although they were classified as tutors; Konica-Minolta annually handed out $180,000 in private high school scholarships at one KIPP school ensuring that it would attract hundreds of applicants to cherry-pick from; Bill Gates made a $3 million grant to plan charters and train charter CEOs and the U.S. Department of Education recently awarded $33.6 million to develop more charter schools in Louisiana
The outcome was a handful of showcase charter schools that the corporate reform advocates market as the norm. It was crucial for the corporate education reformers that New Orleans school privatization appear to succeed at all costs. Still, a dual school system emerged of privileged charters for a few and the vast majority of students in struggling schools. The new education system was like a Ponzi scheme: great profits were returned to a few at first, but in the end, the architects of the system could not sustain the flow of benefits to the majority. This month the state released a new grading system that gave a “D” or “F” to 83% of the state-controlled schools in New Orleans.
Why would Gates and Broad and Duncan promote a deeply flawed and unequal subsidized system as a national model? Because privatizing education is primarily about shifting education from the public to the private sector, and especially removing control of public education from urban Black governance. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that, John White, the new Superintendent of the state-takeover schools, “declared the old model of elected school board in urban districts to be a failed idea.” Urban, is this case, means minority-controlled.
One of the lessons of New Orleans is that once the schools are privatized, they are never returned to local public control. The worse, chronically failing charters have simply been given to another charter operator. Although the state legislature in 2005 promised to return the seized schools once they were brought up to standard, that promise was broken in 2008 when the law was quietly changed to allow the state superintendent to put conditions on the return of the schools. Those conditions in effect guaranteed that schools would not be returned. New Orleans is a case study in the misuse of the original concept of charter schools which were intended to provide autonomy to create replicable innovations at the same cost to tax payers; the charter movement was hijacked by the free-marketers who simply wanted control of education and the profits that come with that. Instead of serving the students with the greatest needs, showcase charters boost test scores by discriminating against special needs students and recruiting high-skills students and using special disciplinary policies to force out low-performing students.
The public can’t be blamed for the skewed view of the New Orleans education changes. The first year that post-Katrina promotional test scores were published by the local Times-Picayune, the paper published only the top charter school scores. They did not publish the scores of the “dumping schools” within these charter networks where, in one case, 93% of the students failed the 4th grade LEAP promotional test.
New Orleans is at the center of the national debate on education because it was forced to trade democratic control of education for the illusory benefits of increased efficiency and lower costs—the promise that privatization always makes. The danger is that rest of the nation will forsake its local control of schools in exchange for the same illusion. In the end, the charter and on-line schools will make billions and leave the public with schools that perform at the same level but cost more as foundation and corporate subsidies disappear. It’s a classic bait-and-switch game played on a financially stressed nation searching for low-cost solutions to high-cost problems.
New Orleans is not, as charter advocates would have us believe and Louisiana charter law mandates, an ”experiment,” in which methods are scientifically tested and bad ideas are discarded: to the contrary, it is a carefully planned, ideologically-driven corporate takeover of public education that ignores its failures and emphasizes marketing over evidence-based science. The free market has no problem selling products that don’t work as long as they turn a profit.
Hurricane Katrina was the perfect storm for the corporate education movement: No democracy, no unions, and a goal of 100% privatization of all public schools. It is no mystery why they chose New Orleans as their beachhead.
Guest Blog by:
Lance Hill, Ph.D.
Southern Institute for Education and Research
The Deception of the “Lottery” at Lycee Francais and Audubon Schools The Misuse of Charter Schools — Part II Wednesday, Oct 5 2011
Research on Reforms, Inc.
October 2011 Dr. Barbara Ferguson and Karran Harper Royal
Charter schools are tuition-free, independently-operated public schools that admit students based on a lottery if more apply than can be accommodated. However, the lottery is skewed at Lycee Francais de la Nouvelle-Orleans Charter School and Audubon Charter School, each located in uptown New Orleans. Lycee Francais’ pre-kindergarten children, whose parents pay $4,570 tuition, are able to re-enroll into the tuition-free kindergarten, skipping any lottery. At Audubon, children whose parents pay $9,050 for a private pre-kindergarten, enter Tier 1 of the lottery and enroll first into the tuition-free kindergarten. Charter schools are to be open and accessible to all children. Skewing the lottery in favor of children whose parents are able to pay for pre-kindergarten is a misuse of the charter school concept.
To read the entire article, please go to: http://ResearchOnReforms.org/html/documents/DeceptionoftheLottery.pdf
Broken Promises: New Orleans Public School Reform Thursday, Aug 25 2011
Students, teachers, parents, community members and the press are invited to join the John McDonogh Alumni Association, Parents Across America NOLA, the Downtown Neighborhood Improvement Association, and the Esplanade Ridge/Treme Civic Association in front of John McDonogh High School, 2426 Esplanade Avenue, at 5:30 PM on August 29, 2011 to commemorate the sixth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, to review the state of public education in New Orleans six years later, and to set a course to save our schools.
Taking the fate of John McDonogh Senior High as an example of the failed policies and broken promises of the Recovery School District, advocates for children, teachers and community schools will gather to pray and to demonstrate our investment in our children and our schools. We will be asking hard questions about the ways charter schools have negatively affected our children and about the scandals and failures of charter schools and RSD-run schools. Together we will assert our right to a democratic voice in how schools are rebuilt, what schools are rebuilt, and who runs the schools in our communities.
We will look at the betrayal of public trust in the past six years as the RSD has held community meetings, promised public engagement and then disregarded the wishes of parents and stake-holders again and again. We will examine the false choices that the school district has offered parents and children and the way school choice has divided schools from their communities and from parental oversight and involvement. We will condemn the political influence, waste and lack of foresight that has characterized the rebuilding and renovations of schools thus far and demand a fair, equitable and transparent process going forward. We will expose RSD’s deliberate and systematic neglect of certain schools to justify takeover and closure. We will stand up to save John McDonogh and all of our schools from autocratic decisions made by unelected, out-of-touch and out-of-town administrators.
Please join with us on Monday, August 29, 2011 at 5:30 PM in front of John McDonogh High School to advocate for the right of every New Orleans public school child to real recovery, real reform, real improvement and real choice in their schools.
The Political Theatrics of False Community Engagement: Who’s Playing Whom in Education Downtown? Thursday, Jul 28 2011
“Make art that matters!”