Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Landmark charter special ed suit settled in Louisiana.

Post-Katrina New Orleans
Remember when Sec. Duncan called Hurricane Katrina, “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans"? A suit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center disputed that verdict, and shows that Duncan must have been ignoring, among other things, the plight of thousands of the district's special-education students when he made that idiotic assessment.

Governor Jindal and the state of Louisiana have now agreed to settle the landmark special education suit, agreeing that the state did not adequately educate children with disabilities in the fragmented network of charter and district schools that sprung up in New Orleans after the hurricane.

Duncan's positive view of the privatization/charter-ization of schools in Louisiana has been complimented by a host of embedded research groups. Most of these have ignored the consequences of racial resegregation and the displacement of thousands of families after the hurricane, which had a major impact--especially on N.O. schools. One Tulane research institute even had to issue a public apology for using discredited, so-called "Value Added Models" methods in assessing the progress of the privately-run charters.

Under the settlement agreement, the state must develop a plan to make sure all children suspected of having a disability are identified and evaluated. The state would also require charters to describe plans "for offering the full array of related services to students with disabilities who are or may come to be enrolled in the school," when applying for their initial charter or for renewal.

Okay, I'm not a lawyer. But it seems to me that Duncan is just a culpable as the state of Louisiana, since he put the official stamp of approval on this pattern of discrimination. 

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