Sunday, June 1, 2014

Making history or making mistakes?

It has recently been publicized, first through The Washington Post, that The Recovery School District has officially closed the last of its schools, making New Orleans the first city in the country to be completely charter (with the small exception of a few open enrollment schools in Orleans parish, mention in the Times Pic article here). Many people are proponents of the charter system. To the average outsider, charter schools in New Orleans seem to have improved the performance of it students, at least improving school SPS scores above a failing rank; however, few people, know much about the differences between charters, charter management organizations and district run schools. In New Orleans, the conversations are quickly becoming moot.

Many eyes have turned to our city as an example of the charter done right but are we really making history or making mistakes that the children of the city will have to pay for? Charter schools were supposed to open up school choice by allowing families to send their children to any school in the district, not just the one closest to them. What has happened is the school have since been franchised to owners who have few people to answer to. Some people might say that absolute power corrupts absolutely; can this happen to the charters and their boards? Jessica Williams wrote an interesting article on the topic at "The Lens. New Orleanians might want to take a closer look.