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

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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Charter Schools - Getting Out of the Box

I'm a firm believer in thinking "out of the box". In fact, that's frequently the best way to cut through Gordian Knots - like the snarly mess of the Orleans Parish school system (an abysmal pit).

Friday, the OP School Board voted to charter the Algiers schools.
All of them.

Not only that, but apparently the vision is much wider yet - ultimately encompassing all of Orleans Parish, with schools being chartered under grants and relationships with foundations, universities, etc.

This is some creative problem solving at work! Charter schools offer the potential for enormous flexibility and localized accountability, and in this case, will also help with some of the current financial woes. Turns out there's federal grant money available - apparently not part of the Katrina package - for charter schools.

I expect there will be some growing pains. For instance, the initial vision calls for the schools to be "all inclusive" - meaning each school will serve all students regardless of need. However, locally-focused oversight (particularly after schools in other parts of the parish get on their feet) will make it possible for Algiers to re-charter their schools later, to be individually targeted and focused to meet the more specific needs of the children in the community.

For now, the current school board members will serve as the charter board, BUT (phew!) they will rotate out and be replaced by local Algiers community members.

NOLA.com has the article, here.