NOLA has TFA, Charters, Vouchers, well just about everything. Secretary Arne Duncan has said that Hurricane Katrina was “the best thing that happened to the education system” in NOLA. However, they have their data on lockdown. Is that suspicious? hmmmmm. What could they possibly be cloaking?
Originally posted on Crazy Crawfish's Blog:
Recently we’ve seen a rash of publicity coming out of New Orleans and from Leslie Jacobs about the New Orleans turnaround miracle. According to her press releases and op-ed pieces in the Time Picayune and Baton Rouge Advocate, New Orleans leads the both the state and nation in graduation rate. That would be some wonderful news . . . if it were true. I think this claim needs to be examined a little more closely and not just accepted as fact, and I will explain why.
For many years, New Orleans provided some of the worst data of all of Louisiana’s parishes, even before Katrina. I know this, because I was the one who had the thankless task of reviewing and pointing out obvious omissions – trying to get at least the outright ridiculous data fixed. Many of their schools failed to report discipline actions or attendance, or rather, some of their lowest performing schools were reporting perfect attendance, for every single student, and zero suspensions and expulsions, year after year. We had no audit or enforcement arm with any teeth at LDOE, and this parish was not the only one doing this, so this type of poor data was reluctantly tolerated. Most years, prior to Katrina, they had trouble sending in any data at all, and were always sending data down to the wire come submission time, forcing us to accept what they gave us or delay reporting anything for anyone.
After Katrina, in 2005, New Orleans was wiped out just as the 2005-2006 school year was beginning. Their data systems were under water, as were most of their hard copy student files, as were any residents unlucky enough to end up stranded in the city. This was a very stressful time for everyone, where everyone was forced to evacuate, and in some cases evacuate again after Hurricane Rita ripped another hole in Louisiana in western part of our state. During this time we had to start making data collections monthly and tracking where all these students were going. Many of them ended up in the other states, 48 of them plus DC if I recall correctly. Most of our evacuees from New Orleans ended up in Houston and Baton Rouge. Into this vast chaos came the charter schools, and the RSD, Recovery School District, was born.