The Recovery School District is spending millions more than it should to bus children out of their neighborhoods to the lowest performing schools in New Orleans. In a recent report on WWL TV, the Recovery School District spends $1800 per student on transportation. That’s double what Hinds County Mississippi spends per student. It would be almost acceptable if the Recovery School District was bussing children to higher performing schools. However, since these costs are for the RSD direct run schools alone, which are the lowest performing schools in New Orleans, thousands of children are bussed out of their neighborhoods to schools that are lower performing than schools they could actually walk to. The RSD calls this school choice. When you combine this story with my recent post: The Myth of “Choice” in New Orleans: How the Recovery School District, Through the Charter School Movement Has Cheated Nearly 5000 New Orleans Students Out of Access to Real “Choice”, one wonders if this “system of choice” benefits children or the adults who stand to make money off of the backs of poor children.
Two years ago News 21 explored transportation in New Orleans Public Schools and very eloquently depicted the cost to children when they are transported out of their neighborhood schools. Nearly two years later we see that the costs to children and the monetary cost of this grand experiment in New Orleans Public Schools are much too high. How long will we pretend that this is working or even that it’s worth it? We need a return to neighborhood schools as a right of first refusal. It will save money and really give parents access to school choice.