A reader in New Orleans responded to the post about the failure of the school-closing strategy in New York City with the following comments. Despite the constant repetition of the story about the “miracle in New Orleans” by Arne Duncan and the media, the New Orleans district continues to be one of the lowest performing in a low-performing state. You may recall that Secretary of Education said that Hurricane Katrina was the best thing that ever happened to the education system of New Orleans. It’s hard to produce a hurricane to wipe away public education, as happened in New Orleans. Next best to accomplish that goal is a national strategy of closing schools and opening new schools, especially charters, supported by many foundations and the U.S. Department of Education.
Message: Don’t believe the hype:
While the New York story played out differently because of the players. local and state politics the script for the wrong-headed school reformers is basically the same. In New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina we changed the criteria for failing schools thus declaring more than 100 public schools as failing and turned it over to the free market (charters). Just like New York the reforms created a failure, seven years later the New Orleans reformed school district ranked 69 out of 70 of all the school districts in the state taking mandated standardized tests last spring. Equally as disturbing, the high poverty schools in the reformed school district in New Orleans scored lower than the high poverty schools in several cities across Louisiana in 11 of 12 areas tested. The bottom line is that despite the billions of dollars from the federal government and foundations, firing of all those old bad teachers, no teacher union and no local elected school board the New Orleans reforms failed miserably.
But despite their failure, the Governor and the state department of education is taking its failed model to school districts across the state and have recently passed a ill fated voucher program that will take put more state funds in the private sector and fail more children.
Unbelievable but True!!!