Stop saying it’s “best for the kids” when it’s really about ignoring the black community
Communities shouldn’t accept the flagrantly negative tradeoffs that come with school reform.
Reform can only be sustained by the very communities that use them. That’s the bottom line for New Orleanians involved in the current effort to bring charter schools in the Recovery School District back into the New Orleans Public School District. The public has the rights to good schools and good governance. And if it isn’t the bottom line and for the rest of the country, it should be.
The charter movement was supposed to be about greater autonomy for schools. It doesn’t require tearing apart school districts, dividing educators and removing basic voting rights of citizens. But all of these things happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. So what if we have higher test scores. The goal isn’t to myopically improve schools; the goal is to improve community.
Elected officials seem to agree. Louisiana State Senator Karen Carter Peterson, in consultation with district and school leaders introduced senate bill 432, which sees to the return of RSD schools back to the Orleans Parish School Board by 2018. The bill is receiving little to no opposition.
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The meat of the bill is that that “the local school board shall not impede the operational autonomy of a charter school under its jurisdiction.”
Many prominent educators are on board as well.
“The most important factor is the unification of our school system for our city,” said Jamar McKneely, CEO of Inspire NOLA Charter Schools. “I believe that our citizens deserve the right to democracy, to actually be in control of our current school system, and as a city we have to move there as early as possible.” McKneely, who was part of a panel hosted by 100 Black Men of New Orleans, also points to inequities that are created by having two systems. He has charter schools in both Orleans Parish and the RSD.
In a statement announcing the 100 Black Men’s The Time is Now! initiative, chapter president Jonathan Wilson stated, “The time is now for us to bring the conversation to the public and seek unified action by our school board and other local elected officials to bring the schools back to our community’s control.”
Even stalwarts of the New Orleans charter movement don’t see the Stop saying it’s “best for the kids” when it’s really about ignoring the black community - The Hechinger Report: