New Orleans is definitely the ‘ground zero’ for education reform. The corporate reform model is conducting their ‘great’ experiment there as 80% of the schools in the ‘Recovery School District’ are charters.
If the experiment works it will be replicated throughout the country. Already, Memphis is starting to copy it. If the experiment fails, the whole corporate reform movement could fail too. Everything seems to be riding on New Orleans.
Not being down there myself, I can only rely on second-hand descriptions of what’s going on there. I’ve read press statements about what amazing things are going on there. About how only 18% of students now attend ‘failing’ schools vs. 60% before Katrina.
But I also hear from the other side. I hear stories about cheating and about excluding kids with special needs. The scores from the RSD are pretty low though they are, apparently, improving.
My question to people currently out there in New Orleans is: Is New Orleans the educational utopia depicted by the school leaders out there? Or is it more like the naysayers describe?
I really want to get to the bottom of this. If I didn’t have a wife, a 3 year old, and an 8 month old, I’d go down there for a year and find out for myself. But I can’t do that, so this has to be done remotely.
I just can’t imagine that things are that great. Teaching is such a difficult job. I don’t see how a bunch of rookie teachers are overcoming poverty through their hard work. It just goes against everything I’ve experienced about the job of teaching over the past 20 years.
Help me out here. If you don’t want to write it as a comment, you can email me at garyrubinstein -then the at sign- yahoo. What are CMs saying to each other about what’s going on out there?
I can get you a discount at Rubenstein’s department store on St. Charles Ave. and Canal St. Just tell them you know me.