Monday, September 19, 2011

Making a pledge to students and familes: RSD Superintendent John White

Great stuff is happening in New Orleans.  Here's an op ed by new super John White:


Recently, two announcements were made about public education in New Orleans. One stated that Recovery School District students -- most of whom attend open-admissions charter public schools -- had improved on the ACT by nearly two points over the past four years, equivalent to a 100-point gain on the SAT.

Another, from an advocacy group, criticized "the ways charter schools have negatively affected our children."

As in many cities, public education here is rife with debate. Having been a part of those debates elsewhere, I believe there is a better path in New Orleans.

That path starts with understanding the progress this city's children have made. Five years ago, only 23 percent of RSD students in New Orleans scored at or above "basic" on state tests. This year, 48 percent of students achieved that mark. Among special education students, the number in New Orleans jumped from 11 percent to 36 percent.

That is the highest rate of progress in Louisiana.

This progress happened because communities and educators took charge of their schools, converting traditional district-run schools to charter schools, where decisions are made by educators and community members rather than by bureaucrats. Parents in New Orleans choose their schools; teachers draft proposals for new school designs; community members sit on boards. This city, more than any other in America, has put power in the hands of the people closest to the kids, and this has been done primarily through charter schools.


Making a pledge to students and familes: RSD Superintendent John White

Published: Wednesday, September 07, 2011, 8:47 AM

By Contributing Op-Ed columnist The Times-Picayune

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