A Case Study of How Charter Schools in New Orleans Are Putting Children at Risk Beyond the Classroom Wednesday, Apr 15 2015 

A very good blog post on the truancy issue in New Orleans.

Brice A. Miller, Ph.D.

I remember one time when I was in the 8th grade my friend Derrick and I decided to leave school and go walk around the Lake Forrest Plaza shopping center. I’m not sure where I got the idea from, but I admit, I was the ringleader. The plan was to walk down two blocks from our school, Andrew J. Bell Junior High, catch the Galvez (bus) to the St. Bernard (bus) to the Express 95 (bus) to the Plaza. It sounded fun, but in actuality was dumb and poorly executed. Firstly, there were a lot of buses we had to catch. Secondly, the Plaza was way out in New Orleans East where I lived and Bell was downtown in the 6th Ward.

Thinking nobody would notice us was ill-conceived, although it seemed perfectly planned at the time. Secondly, we never planned for truancy. During that time, both the New Orleans…

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Refuting the Myth of the New Orleans School Miracle: Children Lost after Hurricane Katrina Wednesday, Apr 8 2015 

“Today Reckdahl reports a bigger than usual cohort of young adults seeking the GED, students, she surmises, who dropped out during the post-Katrina chaos. She also describes a number of community organizations that have sprung up to offer support and stability to young adults still trying to get their lives together.” I always think about just who is not in the statistics when I see those reports of miracle improvement in New Orleans. I know several families that have moved away after fighting to come back to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. those families moved away due to their struggle to navigate the newly reformed public school landscape.

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Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans almost ten years ago, as school was just beginning in the fall of 2005. Ever since, we have been trying to piece together the meaning of what happened to New Orleans’ children and to what was once the New Orleans Parish Schools—a school district that was abruptly dismantled in the late fall right after the hurricane and after a new law passed in Baton Rouge permitted the state to take over most of New Orleans’ schools.  A mass experiment in charterization was undertaken, launched with money from Margaret Spellings in the U.S. Department of Education with added help from philanthropists such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. All the teachers and school employees were laid off and later their positions eliminated.  Today virtually all of New Orleans’ schools have become privately managed charter schools in what became the Louisiana Recovery School District.

The dominant…

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John White Says More Public High School Grads Went to College–But Not to State Schools! (Part 1 of I Think 2) Monday, Apr 6 2015 

My question is why hasn’t the Recovery School District been able to produce more students scoring high enough to enter 4 year colleges in universities in our state? Why after 9 years in Post Katrina New Orleans where the RSD has not had a teacher’s union or school board to contend with, where they have had extra tax dollars and philanthropic dollars, has the RSD failed to produce better results? The supporters of privatization keep comparing the RSD results to pre Katrina. That is an apples to oranges comparison considering they are comparing neighborhood schools to a forced parent choice system and many of the variables in tests and test scoring have changed. Even the grading scale for how we rate schools has changed as well as about twenty thousand of our poorest children did not return to the city, it’s impossible to make comparisons. So, let’s compare the RSD to itself over time? In doing that, the RSD has not been a successful entity. After taking in 107 schools scoring below the state average in 2005, at the end of 2014 only 4 RSD New Orleans schools are above the state average. John White can spin these graduation numbers however he wishes, but the bottom line is that he is the captain of a sinking ship when it comes to the RSD.

LA Higher Ed Confessions

While everyone was having fun with my last post (which I will admit was a bit of April Fool’s fun on my part, and the attention was a little embarrassing considering the uber-serious tone of most of my writing), a few people were also finding my post, John White’s Spinning Wheel of ACT Scores: More Students Are Qualified to Go to College Except When They Actually Try to Go, where I expose how many of our high school graduates are no longer qualified to attend our state’s universities as a result of the GRAD Act-linked four-year admission criteria which were (almost) fully implemented last year.

Well, maybe it was coincidence, or maybe Mr. White and Friends found my blog, but don’tcha know, yesterday we got treated to this piece of good news from the data spinners mavens at the Louisiana Department of Education aka Louisiana Believes (What We Tell…

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John McDonogh Flunkie “Manager” Steve Barr Is Doing Just Fine in Los Angeles Monday, Apr 6 2015 

If anyone thinks #nolaed should be followed as some kind of #education reform, think again. What happened at John Mc is the poster child of what’s wrong with the education reforms in New Orleans.

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The Los Angeles (LA) Times has a column entitled, “Chat and Selfie.” On April 4, 2015, the column featured “education rabble rouser Steve Barr.”

The column featured Barr taking a “selfie” “in front of his Silver Lake (Los Angeles) home.” In California, of course, because that is where he lives.

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Steve Barr’s Los Angeles “Selfie”

Barr is in Los Angeles– not New Orleans, where he decided in 2012 to long-distance “manage” the over-100-year-old John McDonogh High School– and decided in 2014 to long-distance ditch the project after two years of doing nothing.

McDonogh was supposed to be renovated. Nothing happened. (Photos below from Crazy Crawfish’s October 2013 posting on McDonogh.)

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Rat feces/termites?/rotting wood

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Asbestos

Asbestos, rat feces, rotting wood, and in October 2011, we have then-Recovery School District (RSD) superintendent John White basically telling McDonogh parents, students, and staff that renovation was contingent upon test scores rising. In the…

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