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60% Of New Orleans Schools Privatized. Sneak Peek of “No Child’s Behind Left” in action.

March 6, 2007

Just read an interesting article on Tompaine.com written by Leigh Dingerson of the Center for Community Change. In this informative Op-Ed piece Leigh Dingerson points out how the Bushtard regime has poured most of the post Katrina education dollars into the hands of for profit charter schools.Will Public Schools Reopen in New Orleans?

If you want a “sneak peak” of the Bushtards vision of future of America, you only have to look to the conservatards are ravaging New Orleans.

Playing School In Katrina’s Wake

Leigh Dingerson

March 05, 2007

Leigh Dingerson is the education team leader for Washington, D.C. based social justice nonprofit Center for Community Change . The Center recently published “Dismantling a Community,” that chronicles the transformation of the New Orleans Public schools system.

President George Bush traveled to New Orleans last week. Coincidentally, I was there at the same time. But like a tourist who just visits the French Quarter for Mardi Gras, the president missed the full story by only stopping in on one of the new, well-resourced charter schools in the city.

While much of New Orleans’ recovery was mired in post-Katrina red tape, anti-government advocates and for-profit education corporations, the Bush Administration rushed in to transform the New Orleans public school system into a market-driven smorgasbord.

In the 18 months since Hurricane Katrina, the infrastructure of the New Orleans public schools has been systematically dismantled and a new tangle of independently operated educational experiments has been erected in its place. This new structure has taken away community control and community ownership of all but a handful of schools. Instead, independent charter management organizations—virtually all from outside the state—are now running 60 percent of New Orleans schools.

There are no more neighborhood boundaries. In a market-based model, parents are considered “customers.” And they’re supposed to “choose” where to send their kids to school. But since every one of the charter schools was filled to capacity last spring, hundreds of parents have no choice at all for their kids. Families now returning to New Orleans are bringing 15 to 75 kids per day. Hundreds of kids with disabilities (who are often turned away from charter schools) are being placed in the under-resourced and over-burdened state-run Recovery School District. It’s their only choice.

This Balkanized school system is not closing a gap. It’s opening a chasm. This week, at Frederick Douglass High School (a state-run school), I read students the text of an advertisement for New Orleans teachers that was posted in CareerBuilders.com. The ad read: “Certified teachers will teach in the city’s charter schools. Uncertified teachers will teach in the Recovery School District.” One student, a senior at Douglass, jerked her head up at this line. “What?” she asked. Then she just shook her head, hung it down and muttered, “It’s like we’re experiments.”

The Bush Administration was instrumental in creating this new chasm between the “haves” and the “have nots” in New Orleans. Rather than create the world-class public schools that all New Orleans kids have deserved for so long, the Bush Administration invested in an ideological experiment to make a pro-privatization, anti-public education statement.

Mr. Bush didn’t talk to the astute and articulate students at Frederick Douglass when he visited the Crescent City last week. They might have taught him something about experimenting with children’s futures. The Mardi Gras beads still sparkle in the streets, Mr. President, but you have to get out of the tourist district.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. DKM permalink
    March 8, 2007 3:25 pm

    We have to get rid of this Fool While we still have a country

  2. March 9, 2007 1:18 pm

    Sounds like BS to me. 50% of kids in NOLA were already in private schools before Katrina because the schools were so poorly funded.

    Sounds like now they have someone else to blame.

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