Two New Orleans charters, both from the Algiers charter chain, are closing. Read the article to see what is happening to the students. They are moved around like pieces on a giant checker board.

A few months ago, the Education Research Alliance of Tulane University published a report about the success of the New Orleans charter model (Formula: get a natural disaster to wipe out high-poverty neighborhoods and many schools, reduce enrollment by 1/3, change the overall demographics, fire all the teachers and bring in TFA, eliminate the union, replace public schools with private charters, open selective charters for the “best” kids, segregate the poorest black kids, put the structure under an uncritical State board elected with help from out-of-State billionaires, and VOILA! A school miracle!).

But not quite.

Bruce Baker pointed out that the ERA’s glowing report about the privatization of NOLA ignored the significant addition of new funding and the reduction of concentrated poverty after Hurricane Katrina, which together might have accounted for any gains.

Mercedes Schneider analyzed the NOLA data and found that New Orleans has the state’s highest performing schools (selective admissions) and the state’s lowest performing schools. Forty percent (40%) of the charters in the New Orleans district are failing schools, rated as D or F by the state. This latter group enrolls high numbers of poor and black students.

Not a model for the nation, if you care about equity.

According to the data in Mercedes Schneider’s report, the two schools that are closing have 670 students. Only two are white. More than 95% of the students in these schools are poor.

From the article about the closure of the two charters:

Two charter schools located in Algiers are set to close next June after failing to meet the standards required for charter renewal. The Algiers Charter Schools Association announced it will close William J. Fischer Accelerated Academy and McDonogh No. 32 Literacy Charter School in 2019.

In addition, McDonogh No. 32 students will relocate to the Fischer campus on Wednesday (Oct. 24) when the Algiers Charter network returns from fall break. School leaders decided to house both schools in the campus at 1801 L.B. Landry Avenue for the remainder of the school year because of low enrollment at both schools.

In an Oct. 5 letter to parents, Algiers Charter Interim CEO Stuart Gay said the changes are part of an effort “to stabilize our classrooms through the 2018-2019 school year and to ensure the best academic year possible for our students.”

Though the two schools will be under the same roof, students will keep their respective uniforms and the schools will operate individually, each with their own principals, according to relocation details provided by the charter network on its website. McDonogh No. 32 Pre-K, kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms will be located on the first floor of the Fischer building. All other McDonogh classrooms will be located on the second floor.

Additionally, all McDonogh No. 32 students who are currently in 8th grade will receive a McDonogh diploma. Students grades K-7 from McDonogh No. 32 and Fischer will receive “closing school priority” in OneApp, the city’s centralized enrollment system, for next school year. That means Fischer and McDonogh No. 32 students will be first in line when schools start filling seats for the 2019-20 school year, even ahead of other priority students like those with siblings already enrolled or who live close to a school. That priority is only given to students exiting closing schools.

The academy was one of four schools in the city that serves students expelled from other schools.

Tammi Griffin-Major, Algiers Charter’s chief of staff, declined to comment Tuesday morning on the changes and planned closures.

Financial audits from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office show Algiers Charter Schools Association had $45.3 million in revenue last year. Its expenses were more than $44.9 million. The network currently operates four schools — Fischer, McDonogh No. 32, Martin Behrman Charter School and L.B Landry-O.P. Walker College and Career Preparatory High School.

Miracle? Not for these children.