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