Battle for Greater Gentilly High School Friday, Feb 25 2011 

Greater Gentilly High School

One of the first 5 new schools built in New Orleans after Katrina

Recently the Recovery School District  (RSD) in New Orleans embarked upon a community engagement campaign.   Meetings were scheduled in each of our 5 city council districts with the alleged purpose to get community input into building assignments.  The RSD claimed to want our input as to which academic program/charter we wanted to occupy the buildings in our communities.  I attended each of these meetings to observe and hear what the community wanted.  When the meeting occurred in my district, I chose to speak up regarding the new Greater Gentilly High School.

Just prior to the beginning of the meeting, RSD Superintendent Paul Vallas approached me and  asked if we could have a truce.  It was clear to me  that he didn’t want me to speak that night because  he said that I was going to “get what I wanted.”    He assumed that I wanted the plan to merge the Greater Gentilly High School with the Marshall Early College High School operated by the University of New Orleans’ Charter School Network.   Unfortunately, when I approached Paul Vallas about this last year, he decided that the merger would not happen.  Now that he has been negotiating with UNO  without my input, he assumes that the deal on the table is “what I want.”   I told him that I was forced to support a charter for this school because he did not keep his promise to our community to allow the decision making around this school to be driven by our Gentilly Community Steering Committee.  I told Mr. Vallas that we could not have a truce and that I would be speaking at this meeting.

Since this video was recorded, I have now completely pulled my reluctant support from the planned merger of Greater Gentilly High School and the Marshall Early College High School.   The UNO Charter School Network can not promise our community that it will keep the technology program that our community worked to establish at Greater Gentilly High School.   This is yet another example of the fake community engagement that is occurring in New Orleans.  There are several examples of  “fake” community engagement here in New Orleans.  I will share more of those examples over the next few weeks.


Priestly Charter School Surrenders Friday, Feb 25 2011 

Somehow this escaped me. Priestly Charter School surrendered its charter in December. Who knew?

I find it interesting that there has been very little conversation about this charter schools problems.   Priestly Charter School has failed to perform academically and now they are facing huge financial difficulties.  The Orleans Parish School Board is now responsible ensuring that the students are educated.  It is the Priestly board who will have to deal with the financial debt.

Parents Across America Friday, Feb 25 2011 

I know many of you joined our other Parents Across America Page. Facebook will be phasing out that page. If you haven’t done so already, please join this Facebook Community page to keep up with news about the current state of education in this country. We hope that you will also participate in posting helpful information and join movements that support a parents voice in public education.

NPN/OPEN Town Hall Forum Friday, Feb 25 2011 

Four school communities came together on Wednesday to talk about schools in their neighborhood. There were representatives from the Colton, Reed, Frantz and Priestly School Communities. Each group spoke about the difficulties they have had in getting their voices heard by the Recovery School District and the Orleans Parish School Board.