Charter Schools Louisiana New Orleans Scandals Fraud and Hoaxes

Mercedes Schneider: More Holes in the Louisiana Charter Myth

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By now, you may be feeling “reform fatigue” in relation to stories about Néw Orleans. But since the propagandists never sleep in their boasts about the glories of privatization, this is a story that remains important in our civic life.

Mercedes Schneider reviews a study of charter school performance on NAEP, conducted by Francesca Lopez and Amy Olsen of the University of Arizona.

Schneider writes:

“One of the primary problems with Louisiana’s state-run, all-charter Recovery School District (RSD) is that the same state that is in control of data (and the official word on its data) is also committed to representing its state-run district in the best light.

“For this reason, independent analysis of data on Louisiana’s schools is particularly valuable, especially when the researchers are able to procure data independently of the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE)….

“In order to make clearer comparisons between traditional public school students and charter school students on the eight-grade 2011 NAEP, Lopez and Olson controlled for socioeconomic status, special education status, English language learner status, and ethnicity of students as well as the ethnic and socioeconomic makeup of the schools.

“Regarding 2011 NAEP eighth-grade math, the five states with the greatest discrepancies between charters and traditional schools (with the traditional schools outperforming the charters) were Massachusetts, DC (counted as a state in this study), Texas, Rhode Island, and– with the largest discrepancy by far– Louisiana.

“As for the 2011 NAEP eighth-grade reading, the five states with the greatest discrepancies between charters and traditional schools (with the traditional schools outperforming the charters) were Massachusetts, Florida, Illinois, DC, and– once again with the largest discrepancy by far– Louisiana.

“On the 2011 NAEP in both math and reading, eighth-grade students in Louisiana’s traditional public schools outscored their charter-school counterparts by between two and three standard deviations.”

Schneider says the post-Katrina reforms was “too much ‘white’ done to the black community.”

“New Orleans charter success is white-privileged-blown smoke and state-controlled mirrors. However, a more realistic, sobering word is surfacing, and the frayed, marketing edges of all-charter, state-run RSD are getting increasingly more obvious to the American public despite the likes of John White and Campbell Brown.”

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