Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Two-tier schooling in New Orleans

NPR is running a two-part series on schooling in post-Katrina New Orleans. Charter schools are scoring higher on test scores than the resource-starved schools in the Recovery District. But many argue that this has more to do with the kids they exclude that it does with teaching/learning. What both have in common is a nearly 100% African-American population of students in a town where whites boycott the public schools—charters or no charters.

Statistics show that Recovery District schools have nearly twice as many students with disabilities. Jones says schools like hers are known to have more behavior problems. "I am concerned that the charters are pushing their problem children onto us," she says.Although charter operators deny this, you hear this complaint all the time here. Still, the Recovery School District will convert four more underperforming schools into charters by next year. But the issue remains sensitive — so much so that the district would not let NPR visit one of the very lowest-performing schools. Officials feared that would send teachers a message that their school had been targeted for conversion.

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