New Orleans is supposed to be the lodestar of the Corporate Reform Movement (or as I call it, the Disruption Movement), but the experiment in privatization is a costly failure, as Tom Ultican demonstrates in this post.

The old, underfunded school system was corrupt and inefficient. The new one is expensive, inefficient, and ethically corrupt because of its incessant boasting about what are actually very poor results.

Comparisons between the old and new “systems” are dubious at best because Hurricane Katrina dramatically reduced the enrollment from 62,000 to 48,000. As Bruce Baker pointed out in reviewing a recent puff study, concentrated poverty was significantly reduced by the exodus of some of the city’s poorest residents, who resettled elsewhere.

Ultican cites Andrea Gabor’s studies of the New Orleans schools to show that the lingering heritage of segregation and disenfranchisement has been preserved in the new all-charter system. The schools that enroll the most white students have selective admissions and high test scores. The majority of schools are highly segregated and have very low test scores.

Be sure to open this link and scroll down to “Individual School Performance,” where you will see that the majority of charter schools in BOLA perform well below the state average.

Do not look to New Orleans for lessons about school reform. But do admire it as a shining example of propaganda and spin paid for by Bill Gates and other billionaires who don’t like public education, democracy, or local school boards.