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Conservatively liberal, moderately well-educated, and highly opinionated...

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Charter Schools Approved (Again!)

Yet again, I’m writing about charter schools being approved for New Orleans. I think this time, though, it’ll stick. (Of course, the Teacher’s Union may yet throw a monkey wrench. They’re already throwing a “hissy fit”.) For what it’s worth, I think it’s a great idea, if only because it will redraw the lines of power in the educational system. The NOLA School Board has to be, bar none, the most dysfunctional “educational” entity I’ve ever seen.

The charter proposal passed Friday evening, and NOLA.com
has the story. While I’m cautiously hopeful that things might actually move forward this time, I’m confounded by some of the dissenting comments – many of which appear to have come from Algiers.

[One parent said] many families are still scattered and likely unaware of the fast-moving charter efforts. "Involve families that may be in shelters, that may be in hotels," she said. "All I ask for is equity and quality in education."
Does this comment somehow imply that chartering the schools will reduce the quality enjoyed by Orleans Parish students prior to the storm? You’ve got to be kidding me! And how about this guy:

Earlier this month, the Rev. Arthur Wardsworth and a group of other community leaders in Algiers challenged the board's vote on west bank charters, alleging lack of public input. The group won a court order that, until Friday, stalled the effort to open those schools as charters.

On Friday, Wardsworth urged the board to again "hold off and reconsider what we're about to do," suggesting still more community involvement is needed. "I will help you champion charter schools for those who want them. We're asking you to slow down."

What, exactly, is he afraid of? I suspect this group of people has a totally separate goal and agenda. I have no idea what it is, but Rev. Wardsworth et al have really caused some damage to the children of New Orleans.

Frankly, any parent from Orleans Parish who is considering whether to come home should learn all about the chartering idea. It's not a secret. If you decide to come home, get involved with the school(s) your children attend – that’s a large part of how it works. The schools are directed by their families’ community needs and goals. Here are several links on the subject.

US Charter Schools
Center for Education Reform
Charter Schools, ERIC Digest
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Get informed, and then get involved. If anything needs to change in New Orleans (and there are a number of little problems), it is the schools. I hope people take advantage of the opportunity handed to them by Katrina.

Earlier charter school blog entries and stories:
Charter Schools - Getting Out of the Box
New Orleans School Board Yanks Charter Plan