August 23, 2006


New year, new school concepts in New Orleans: Charter schools, student input, hope - and controversy - are hallmarks of the revamped school system to come. (Stacy A. Teicher, 8/24/06, CS Monitor)

Parents face potentially bewildering choices: There are 31 autonomous charter schools, some monitored by the state and others by the local Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB). Only five schools are still operated directly by OPSB. Seventeen schools are run by the state-controlled Recovery School District (RSD). After Katrina, RSD's authority was expanded by the legislature so it could take control of schools that had performance scores below the state average, even if they were meeting yearly progress goals. That gave the state authority over more than 100 schools.

"Individual parents might say, 'Oh, this school looks a little better ... but public education has always been a local responsibility, and long term you need an engaged community," says Theresa Perry, a professor at Simmons College in Boston and part of the National Coalition for Quality Education in New Orleans.

If they voted for Republicans and universal vouchers they could revolutionize the school system in a more orderly fashion.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 23, 2006 7:44 PM

Out w/the froggie way and in w/the anglo-saxon way.

Only took 300 years and a brisk wind............

Posted by: Sandy P at August 23, 2006 8:37 PM

" ... but public education has always been a local responsibility ..." and so it was, but doncha know, it wasn't fair! Some localities had better schools than others, so during the cultural revolution of the mid-sixties when liberals came into their own, state and federal departments of education controlled by the teachers unions were created and began collecting and redistributing school taxes.

Local school boards lost control of their schools and in order to receive funding were forced to follow the dictates from above. An immense bureaucracy was created. Costs skyrocketed while our public schools once the envy of the world went down the slippery slope to mediocre uniformity. Mission accomplished.

Posted by: erp at August 24, 2006 5:50 AM

If you joined the reality-based community you'd be aware of the recent Department of Education study that showed that charter, private, and parochial students perform no better than public school students.

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at August 24, 2006 7:10 AM

Yes. Given who we send to those schools it's a stunning victory for proponents.

Posted by: oj at August 24, 2006 7:48 AM

Rick, You're making it entirely too easy for me to prove me point … a department of education study … and you take their findings seriously.

Posted by: erp at August 24, 2006 8:51 AM

Vouchers in New Orleans? After what Mary Landrieu said about vouchers in D.C., it would be poetic justice.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 24, 2006 10:46 AM