Wednesday, October 06, 2010

"The Problem With New Orleans' Charter Schools" (Updated)

That's the title of this Newsweek article. It spends time examining the numbers. Though education "reform" and "school choice" advocates nationwide have been holding New Orleans' charter school experiment up as a runaway success, the truth goes much deeper than their breathless press releases and powerpoints.

Especially for special needs students who are not recieving adequate attention or education.

It is the first national article I've read that is in any way critical of what is going on here. If you're intention is to really fix a problem, and really enact sustainable, long term reforms to better serve our nation's students, you can't just look at everything through rose-colored lenses.

Update: Thursday Breakfast

Jeffrey from Library Chronicles rightly adds to this conversation by pointing out this article at The Lens on charter school public accountability.

Basically, the taxpayers fund the charter schools, and as such, they are required to hold open meetings and follow certain sets of rules. The Lens investigated how well they follow the letter of the law, and many were found wanting.

If any charter school or school choice advocates out there wonder why those movements are viewed with suspicion, taking public money on one hand and claiming to be exempt from public funding rules on the other is one very quick way to erode credibility. If the charters are supposed to be doing it better and cleaner than the last system we had here, why are so many of them engaging in the same problematic behavior that plauged the system before?

Again, real reform requires open eyes and accountability. Responding rationally to questions and critiques is not only a necessary part of that process, it is a common sense approach to deep, sustained, long lasting reforms.

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5 comments:

jeffrey said...

And of course see also: http://thelensnola.org/2010/10/07/charter-school-transparency/

DADvocate said...

Reminds me, again, of when I was a juvenile probation office. Some of our kids were retarded. The Knoxville City School system did everything they could to avoid allowing these kids to attend their schools, including the school specifically for the retarded.

They're excuse was tht the kids in the correctional system were behavior problems. They essentially wanted these kids forced into correctional institutions until adulthood so they wouldn't have to deal with them.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Children with disabilities and children with behavior problems are often incorrectly lumped into the same category and addressed inadequately as you described. The inability of many public school systems to reasonably and sustainably handle both types of students is one reason charter schools have so much support among education reform advocates right now.

Seeing the same problems replicated and deeply entrenched in the reform model erodes my faith that these reforms are the solutions we need.

alli said...

aaaand the article has now been "disappeared" from the newsweek website!

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Three cheers for the "free press."