Schools in New Orleans have experienced a three-year drop in their state ratings The Lens reported. The city has experimented with charter schools post-Hurricane Katrina, and naturally, charter schools get the blame for the decline.
Scores at some schools tumbled. Mahalia Jackson Elementary School dropped almost 30 points to a score of 50 on the state’s 150-point scale. That’s a D.
Sylvanie Williams College Prep fell about 22 points to 32.4, an F. It was the second-lowest elementary school score; the one with the lowest score, McDonogh 42, has been turned over to another charter operator.
Charter networks KIPP New Orleans Schools, New Beginnings Schools Foundation, ReNEW Schools and Algiers Charter operate a combined 23 schools. Only one of them improved its School Performance Score from 2016 to 2017.
Overall, New Orleans schools slid 14.2 points, from a B to a C.
The three-year drop appears to confirm education leaders’ fears about what would happen when tests aligned with tougher standards were introduced in 2015. Those tests are the primary factor in elementary School Performance Scores.
Some school leaders say those standards have caught up with the city’s schools, which have generally have gotten better since the state took over, closed and doled out schools to charter management organizations after Hurricane Katrina.
Others think charters were slower than traditional school districts to adopt curriculum aligned with the more rigorous standards. District-wide School Performance Scores dropped for 34 percent of traditional school districts in the state from 2014 to 2017, compared to 65 percent of New Orleans schools.
This year, 34 of the city’s 84 schools with School Performance Scores (not all schools have grades that take state tests) were rated a D or an F. Eighteen of them, including three alternative high schools, have had a D or an F three years in a row.
I’m not a fanboy of charter schools, and I think educrats have seen them as a silver bullet answer to what woes public education. There are some excellent charter schools, and there are bad ones.
I will say this, requiring charter schools to adopt Common Core hamstrings the flexibility that is supposed their greatest strength.
Also, here again, we see a refusal to admit that perhaps the standards and aligned-curriculum are to blame. Maybe they are to blame not due to being tougher, but because they are poor. Being surrounded by scapegoats must be nice.