HOMEWORK: Arkansas legislators and Little Rock voters should read this article about the myth of the New Orleans charter school miracle and ask people in charge if such a 'miracle 'is in the works for Little Rock.
Proponents of privatization of public education — charter schools, vouchers and so forth — often claim a great success story in New Orleans, where the Katrina disaster led to characterizing of virtually all public education in the city.
The evidence grows that there is no charter miracle in New Orleans. Read this from Common Dreams, s
purred by an NAACP session on charter schools. The NAACP has called for a charter moratorium on account of many concerns. (So have people in Little Rock, where the state controls the schools, wants $600 million more in additional taxpayer spending and continues to promote new charger schools — including some from New Orleans — that drain still more students away from the Little Rock School District.)
In New Orleans, the complaints include fewer qualified teachers, arbitrary student rules, questions about school quality, long bus rides, occasional food shortages. Schools are segregated by race and economic status. New Orleans now spends more on administration and less on teachers than it did pre-Katrina. 86 percent of students no longer attend schools closest to their homes. Supposed lotteries for admission mask screening processes that allow schools to select better student bodies. Services for disabled students are questionable.
This account is crammed full of information about the myth of New Orleans. It should be, at a minimum, homework for Arkansas legislators. But they tend to get all their materials from the Walton Family Foundation and its enablers at their subsidized pro-charter unit on the campus of their university in Fayetteville.
Little Rock voters — asked to add 14 years and $600 million to their property tax bills in a May 9 special election — should again demand some answers from Johnny Key, who controls Little Rock schools about whether he wants to replicate the New Orleans miracle in Little Rock. He does not make himself available to public questioning, however.
UPDATE: Speaking of school choice:
Washington D.C. joins Louisiana with study findings
that show kids who got vouchers to go to private schools did WORSE than those who stayed behind.