It has been said that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. 

Well, NOLA Public Schools must be certifiably insane; because here we are — 17 years deep into a so-called education reform movement; and this year’s recently released school performance scores continue to reveal the what we have long known — this reform was and is a farce and a failure. 

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina,  laws were rewritten to make the takeover of public schools in Orleans Parish easier. The minimum school performance score needed to escape being considered a failing school was raised from 60 to 87.4 so that more public schools in New Orleans could be taken over by the Recovery School District. Veteran teachers were summarily fired without cause. School buildings and resources were turned over to quasi-private charter management organizations. Our children were and still are bussed all over the city. 

Then in 2019, the reformers really dug in, and the Orleans Parish School Board got out of the business of operating schools all together, turning over every campus to a charter operator and an unelected and unaccountable board. 

And all of this for what?

If any of this maneuvering would have resulted in success, we would have nothing to say.

But there are 65 charter schools loosely operating under the cavalier control of the Orleans Parish School Board, and based on the 2022 school performance scores released in November by the Louisiana Department of Education, more than half of them are D and F schools. In other words, they are failing or close to it. In fact, if the SPS of 87.4 that was purposefully raised to take over public schools in 2005 were applied right now all but four of the 65 NOLA public schools could be taken over TODAY! 

Let’s say it again, another way — if the same standard that was intentionally changed to takeover and destroy public education in Orleans Parish in 2005 were applied to the 65 public charter schools operating under NOLA Public Schools today, a full 61 of those schools would be considered failing by the state RIGHT NOW! 

All of the teachers and administrators should be fired without cause; their buildings and resources should be turned over to the RSD; their students and the money that follows them should be scattered to the wind.  

Of course, that’s not going to happen. In order to mask the failure of this corporate takeover of public education masquerading as a reform movement, the minimum SPS has been lowered over the last decade and half, indicative of the fact that this so-called reform has never been about improving educational outcomes for our children. 

And the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has refused to revisit its accountability policy.

That is because this reform is and has always been about power and control over resources, contracts, assets and the dollars that follow every student. It was never about the students.

It is time to stop playing with the children of Orleans Parish. Nearly 54 percent of the schools in the all-charter NOLA Public Schools earned D or F ratings in the 2022 School Performance Scores. Another 26.4 percent are barely getting by with C ratings.  Only nine campuses, less than 24 percent of NOLA Public Schools earned an A or B letter grade. 

So we ask: Where’s the reform . . . the change . . . the miracle results touted as the public school system in Orleans Parish was pillaged and plundered in the wake of Hurricane Katrina?

We know the truth. The miracle was a mirage. The narrative has been and is still being muddied today as folks dare to talk about modest gains in academic success in Louisiana while more than half of the public charter schools in this city, the most populous city in the entire state, are D and F schools.

Those of you looking for some folk to recall, ought to start with BESE and then work your way to the Orleans Parish School Board. It’s time to recall this reform! It is time to return public education in New Orleans to real local control so that another generation of children are not left by the wayside.

We have literally been repeating the same thing for at least 15 years! We don’t know what else to say. 

So we are going to just sit the 2022 school performance scores for NOLA Public Schools right here. You can look at them for yourselves.

2021-2022 SCHOOL PERFORMANCE SCORES FOR
NOLA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

SCHOOL LETTER
GRADE
SCHOOL
PERFORMANCE
SCORE
Mary Bethune Elementary Literature/TechnologyC63.1
Benjamin Franklin Elem. Math and ScienceD57.7
Elan Academy Charter SchoolD59.6
Harriet Tubman Charter SchoolD54.7
Paul Habans Charter SchoolD51.8
Fannie C. Williams Charter SchoolF45.3
Morris Jeff Community SchoolC66.8
ReNEW SciTech Academy at LaurelC61.9
ReNEW Dolores T. Aaron ElementaryC61.9
ReNEW Schaumburg ElementaryD56.6
Mildred Osborne Charter SchoolF46.8
Success @ Thurgood MarshallD53.8
Akili Academy of New OrleansD51.9
Abramson Sci AcademyC70
G W Carver High SchoolC68.5
Livingston Collegiate AcademyD59.4
Walter L. Cohen College PrepF48.6
Martin Behrman Charter Acad of Creative Arts & SciD51.3
Lord Beaconsfield Landry High SchoolD50.7
Sophie B. Wright Institute of Academic ExcellenceC73.9
KIPP BelieveD57.1
KIPP MorialD59.8
KIPP Central CityD55.6
Frederick A. Douglass High SchoolB85.5
KIPP LeadershipD56.1
KIPP EastD55.6
Booker T. Washington High SchoolC67.9
John F. Kennedy High SchoolD55.9
Samuel J. Green Charter SchoolC62.1
Arthur Ashe Charter SchoolC62.9
Phillis Wheatley Community SchoolD51.9
Langston Hughes Charter AcademyD58.8
Edward Hynes Charter School – LakeviewA96.1
Hynes ParkviewT52.1
Foundation Preparatory AcademyF43.3
Lafayette Academy Charter SchoolT48.4
Esperanza Charter SchoolF47.6
Homer Plessy Community SchoolC61.4
Rooted SchoolC65.3
YACS at Lawrence D. CrockerT45.9
Dr. Martin Luther King Charter School for Sci TechD52.8
Audubon Charter SchoolB84.2
Einstein Charter School at Village De L’EstD52.5
Benjamin Franklin High SchoolA132.4
Alice M Harte Elementary Charter SchoolB77.5
Edna Karr High SchoolB78.9
Lusher Charter SchoolA120.1
Eleanor McMain Secondary SchoolC74
Robert Russa Moton Charter SchoolF37.8
Lake Forest Elementary Charter SchoolA111.7
New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics HSB75.8
ENCORE AcademyF48.6
Bricolage AcademyC67.2
Wilson Charter SchoolD59
Sarah Towles Reed High SchoolC61
Einstein Charter Middle Sch at Sarah Towles ReedD56.8
Einstein Charter at Sherwood ForestD56.9
McDonogh 42 Charter SchoolF44.3
Audubon Charter School – GentillyF49.8
Rosenwald Collegiate AcademyF44.8
Dwight D. Eisenhower Charter SchoolD58.8
Living SchoolC60.1
McDonogh 35 Senior High SchoolC69.5
Warren Easton Charter High SchoolC74.7
Pierre A. Capdau Charter SchoolF47.2

The New Orleans Tribune

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