Study: New Orleans Principals Admit to Manipulating Student Selection Monday, Mar 30 2015 

We have been telling all who would listen that there are problems with how school select students. Competition has made those students who need the highest quality education, a liability to schools. This insanity shows why every school in this city should have to enroll students from the neighborhood without being able to select them. If there are seats open after enrolling students living within 1 mile of the school, then open those seats up to the OneApp. Right now only 2 schools give preference to enrollment of neighborhood students, and those 2 schools are in mostly White neighborhoods. Some think that having all schools in the OneApp fixes the problem of some schools screening out some kids. Actually, OneApp does not help the situation when parents are discouraged from placing certain schools on their OneApp. The only thing that fixes this is forcing every school to take students living near the school and opening extra seats up to this game of chance called OneApp.

deutsch29

I have written several posts to date on the Educational Research Alliance of New Orleans (ERA) and its founder, Doug Harris.

ERA is conducting a number of studies on the privatization of most of New Orleans’ schools following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and which has culminated in a 100-percent-charter Recovery School District (RSD) in New Orleans by 2014.

In 2014-15, the remaining Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) consists of six direct-run schools and 14 charter schools, with with four of the 14 charters being “selective admission” schools— which means these school are (by definition) not open to the public.

Thus, the term “school choice” could well mean that it is the school that exercises greater leverage when it comes to choosing, not the parents.

ERA is studying this “choice”– with results that sometimes are not pretty for the “choice” advocates.

On January 15, 2015, Harris released his first report…

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Don’t Close Schools, Fix Schools! Wednesday, Mar 18 2015 

Children should not be punished because adults violated the law.

Children should not be punished because adults violated the law.

For many years parents and special education advocates have alerted the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) of special education violations in the charter system in New Orleans. Years before the creation of the Recovery School District (RSD), I did the same with the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB). In my experience as an advocate, the problems we saw with OPSB schools and special education, pale in comparison to what we see now with this new landscape of public education in New Orleans. Worse yet, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the LDOE believes that an adequate solution to the special education violations at Lagniappe Academies, is to close the school. These same entities did not exact that punishment on other schools in New Orleans that also violated special education laws. The Southern Poverty Law Center detailed numerous violations over a period of several years in multiple schools, in their federal complaint and subsequent federal lawsuit. Yet, not one school in New Orleans over the last 4 years was closed due to special education violations. Nor is closing schools an element in the Consent Decree to correct those violations. When I think back to my own children’s schools, even on my maddest day at McMain High School, when the principal refused to provide an accommodation that my son needed, I never saw closing the school as the solution to that violation. It is illogical to me to close a school to fix a special education violation.   I do not support closing schools, as a form of accountability, not even the closure of charter schools. There are better solutions that punish the violators, and do not destabilize the education of children. I support corrective action plans to correct the problems so that children can get special education services they need. I support revoking charter contracts and returning schools to the elected school board as an option that shows that the department of education is tough on special education violations. It should be the decision of the elected school board whether or not to seek a new charter operator or run the school as a direct operated school. The department of education has had it’s chance at operating public education as a business, and when charter schools fail to uphold the law, it’s time for their participation in the experiment to end in a responsible way that protects children.   When the state department of education failed to provide adequate monitoring and oversight of Lagniappe Academy and other charter schools in New Orleans for years, it set the stage for the alleged egregious violations at Lagniappe Academies. The  (LDOE) Louisiana Department of Education does not have the staff or the funding to look deeply into every charter school to uncover special education violations that are not exposed by parent complaints or whistleblowers, but it should if it wants to continue to recommend charter schools as a solution to our troubled public education system. Clearly such a wide open, market based system of independent, privately managed charter schools with expanded autonomy, deserves a robust system of monitoring and oversight. The Louisiana Legislature, The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Louisiana Department of Education share equally in the blame with the Lagniappe Academies Charter Board and administration for the violations discovered after being tipped off by 2 former Lagniappe Academies employees. In a system built on the idea of choice, there is a responsibility to protect the choice parents have made, not punish them for being in a city where over 90% of the schools are charter schools.   There is something fundamentally flawed with an education reform strategy that closes schools rather than fixing them.  Never has this been made more clear than now as parents at Lagniappe Academy prepare to look for new schools for their children because adults failed to create the kind of landscape of public education that values every child. I call on everyone to rethink closing schools as accountability. Contact your elected officials, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the State Department of Education today and encourage a more child centered approach to education reform.

To New Orleans RSD Parents: TOPS Isn’t Happening for Your Children Wednesday, Mar 18 2015 

Just last night I was told that at one charter school in New Orleans that a 53 is considered a C. If this is true, when adding up quality points for a grade point average, this could mean that these students would meat the GPA standards for a TOPS scholarship. Since TOPS money comes from our tax revenue, wouldn’t that be fraud? Quality points should be standard across the state for purposes of TOPS, right? Even with a rigged GPA, clearly a number of students in New Orleans won’t be earning TOPS because of their low ACT scores. One would think that students who have been in the “reform” school since 5th or 6th grade would score well enough on the ACT to earn TOPS and be able to enter Louisiana’s 4 year university system. It seems to me that ACT data is an indication that perhaps the reforms aren’t all that successful after 11 years of having a Recovery School District in this state.

deutsch29

On February 9, 2015, New Orleans Recovery School District (RSD) “architect” Leslie Jacobs declared victory for RSD growth” via “recently released” 2014 ACT scores.

Also, on February 9, 2015, I challenged Jacobs’ “enormously improved” portrayal of New Orleans RSD in this post.

Among the issues I challenged were the low rates of RSD graduates eligible for scholarships through the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS), as concerns scholarships to both four-year colleges/universities and two-year, community colleges.

Four-year TOPS requires a minimum GPA of 2.5 in core subjects and an ACT composite score at the state average, which by current TOPS standards is 20.

Two-year TOPS tech requires a minimum GPA of 2.5 in core subjects and a minimum ACT composite of 17.

In my February 9, 2015, post, I noted that three RSD high schools had not even one graduate eligible for even TOPS two-year tech. I…

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Un-Masking the Faces Behind the Post-Katrina “Flim Flam” at John McDonogh Sr. High, Part I Sunday, Mar 15 2015 

John McDonogh H.S. is the poster child school that depicts how “Reformonsters” took over our schools, w/o care 4 children. #nolaed

whodatresearcher

Post-Katrina Time Line of John McDonogh Sr. High School

In 2007, students from all over the city join John McDonogh's marching unit, photograph taken by Elizabeth K. Jeffers The year of John McDonogh’s reopening, students from all over the city joined John McDonogh’s marching unit. As a result of intense pressure, John McDonogh was the first RSD direct run high school to have the band instruments and after school insurance for students. — photograph taken by Elizabeth K. Jeffers

Nov.  30, 2005     The State of Louisiana seizes control over 107 New Orleans Public Schools, including John McDonogh Senior High School, in legislation known as Act 35.

Spring and Summer 2006 John McDonogh community members and former faculty members meet across the street from John McDonogh at the Musician’s Union to press for the re-opening of John McDonogh as a public school.

Sept. 2006     John McDonogh re-opens under the RSD.

Oct. – Nov. 2006     DNIA Education Committee, including many of the John McDonogh…

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Louisiana Charter School Audit Reveals Faux-Accountability Saturday, Mar 14 2015 

Clearly the LDOE isn’t auditing nor monitoring it’s charter schools, otherwise these parents would not be paying the price for their sudden act of caring about special education violations. http://bit.ly/NOLAChoice2

deutsch29

In October 2012, I sent the following email to Louisiana Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera requesting a performance audit of Louisiana’s charter schools. I did so in response to having read the US Department of Education’s audit of charters in Arizona, California, and Florida:

request for La. charter schools audit

From: Mercedes Schneider <deutsch29@aol.com>

To: dpurpera <dpurpera@lla.la.gov>

Date: Fri, Oct 26, 2012 11:51 p.m.

Attachment: US Dept of Ed Charter Audit

Mr. Purpera, attached is the US inspector general’s audit of US Dept of Ed’s oversight charter schools in California, Florida, and Arizona. As you will note from reading, the US Dept of Ed is seriously lacking in their rigor in their management of both charter school educational quality and fiscal responsibility.The lack of rigor evident in management of California, Florida, and Arizona charter schools is likely problematic in Louisiana, as well. First, there is notable turnover in the charter…

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Answering a Challenge for “Full Disclosure” of My *Secret Funding* Saturday, Mar 7 2015 

Attention: Not everyone is in this for the money. Get over it. Some of us have personal convictions that fuel us, not philanthropists.

deutsch29

On March 4, 2015, I wrote a post about a Louisiana teacher promoting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in the op/eds and who happens to be under contract with the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) as a paid “common core expert.”

The teacher did not disclose that she is being financially compensated specifically for promoting CCSS.

money money

I took issue with both the compensation and the failure to disclose.

On March 6, 2015, I had a comment connected to the above post awaiting approval. It was written under the name, SickOfYourNonsense.

Here is what Sick had to say:

I think it’s time for full disclosure from you.

Who has been paying you under the table to keep our children tied to low standards and the worst curriculum in the nation,

Who has been paying you at all?

Setting aside the spitting-lizard tone of the above comment, allow me to…

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