Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Louisiana Charter School Extensions Announced

By Joey Lehrman | Email the Author | Follow on Twitter 

The Louisiana Department of Education announced the renewal of charter contracts with fourteen schools scattered throughout New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Perhaps the most significant detail from Saturday's announcement is that no charter school had its contract revoked.

As part of their agreement to retain greater autonomy from school board oversight, which allows operators to control staffing decisions and curriculum design, new charter schools are subject to regular reviews by their authorizing body. For most, that's the
Recovery School District, the state run body that was created to direct the redesign of the state's lowest perofrming schools. The remaining schools are authorized directly by the state's Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

According to an
article by Danielle Dreilinger of nola.com :

The state charter evaluation is based largely on academic performance. New charters are evaluated in their fourh year and either shut down or granted a one-year extension.  The schools are then re-examined the following year - or, for older charters, in the final year of their active contract - and either shut down or renewed. Renewals may run for three, five, or 10 years, depending on the school's letter grade.
A New Trend?

In the context of discussing progress in educational reform, perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the announcement is that no charter operator had its contract revoked, a first in the past several years for the state. And although the charter movement remains controversial, due to issues of equitable access, the loss of the neighborhood school (and its associated costs), and school performance, it is growing increasingly difficult to argue against the data-driven metrics that reflect genuine academic progress.

What do you think about the school choice movement in Lousiana? In addition to the role of charter schools, the school choice movement is also impacted by the growth of the
school voucher program as well. Are we moving towards a system of greater access and educational quality, or are we continuing to stagnate in a system that favors some while leaving too many behind? Post your comments below!

The Re-Authorized Charter List

In advance of BESE's vote next week on 14 other one-year extensions, here is the current list of charter's to be re-authorized:

New Orleans Charters 

One-year probationary extension (recommended)
  • Edgar P. Harney*
  • John Dibert Community School*
  • One-year extension (recommended)
  • Esperanza Charter School*
  • Gentilly Terrace*
  • International High School**
  • KIPP New Orleans Leadership
  • KIPP Renaissance High School
  • Lagniappe Academies*
  • Morris Jeff Community School
  • ReNEW Cultural Arts Academy*
  • ReNEW SciTech Academy*
Three-year renewal
  • James Singleton*
  • Lafayette Academy
  • Lake Area New Tech Early College High School
  • Milestone SABIS**
  • William Fischer*
Five-year renewal
  • ARISE Academy
  • McDonogh #28 City Park Academy*
  • McDonogh #32*
  • Medard H. Nelson
  • Success Preparatory Academy*
  • Samuel J. Green
10-year renewal
  • Landry-Walker High School
Baton Rouge Charters

Three-year renewal
  • Madison Prep**
Five-year renewal
  • Kenilworth Science and Technology*
* Failing in 2012
** BESE charter; all other schools are in the Recovery School District

Saturday, November 23, 2013

NET School Profile Reveals Ongoing Crime in Education Issues

By Joey Lehrman | Email the Author | Follow on Twitter

The NET Charter High School, located in Central City of New Orleans, works with a very unique student population. Recruiting some of the city's most disadvantaged youth, NET staff have developed an innovational school structure that attempts to work with students around their busy schedules to earn a high school diploma before the age of 21 (the age at which the state will stop funding their public education).

But in addition to the pride the school has earned over the 26 students that have successfully graduated since the school opened 2 years ago, the staff and students continue to quarrell with the deep violence that continues to grip the streets of New Orleans and which has claimed the lives of 5 of its students. And according to a recent NOLA.com profile of the school:
The school's staff know it comes with the territory, as hard as that is to face. 'We go out and recruit kids who are highly at risk for this happening,' Ostberg says. 'And sometimes it does.'
Click here to read the Times-Picayune's profile of the NET Charter High School.

What this 40-year-veteran of the public education system finds unique and motivating about the NET model is that they work with students around their schedules. In a city where 1 in 4 still don't have a high school education, I witnessed far too many students that weren't successful under the traditional school model. But rather than adapt, most administrators and teachers continue to try and force a traditional student to fit the traditional mold.

Educators both locally and nationally could learn real lessons from these educators that are fighting to work with those that have been forgotten by the system. The current system clearly just doesn't work for everyone. So we must force ourselves to consider every variable that we control, and adapt each one to meet the exact needs of the students at a point that works for the student, not for the system.

What do you think?


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Controversial Immigration "Game" at UT Sparks Debate

Controversial Immigration "Game" at UT Sparks Debate

By Joey Lehrman

A conservative student group at the University of Austin-Texas has developed a fake game designed to inspire a conversation about immgration in the United States. Members of the Young Conservatives of Texas will be roaming campus wearing t-shirts that read "illeagal immigrant." Other students will be encouraged to "catch" the student and turn them in for a $25 gift certificate.

Click here for coverage of the issue from nytimes.com

What do you think of the game? Lorenzo Garcia, the group's leader, has publically stated that the purpose is to inspire a conversation about immigration. But, to this blogger, it seems like there are many less offensive ways to educate the public about immigration and to bring diverse viewpoints together to talk about it. A blog is just one of those examples.

Thanks for reading!

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According to a post this morning from the The Daily Texan, the "Catch an Immigrant" game has been cancelled due to widespread criticism and controversy... perhaps the Internet really can connect people and inspire real change!


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

More Violent Crime in New Orleans with Joey Lehrman

More Violent Crime in New Orleans with Joey Lehrman

A 24-year-old man was found stabbed to death inside a burning house in the Fairgrounds neighborhood. So although our politicians and business leaders continue to profess that New Orleans is stronger than ever, we still have a very deep and dark issue that continues to go addressed.

You can read the Times-Picayune coverage of the story here.

Joey Lehrman
Joey Lehrman
I'd like to hear from my readers on this question: What can individuals do to help stem the violent crime problem in New Orleans? It's potentially an easier question to answer for politicians (rebuild the education system, expand recreational opportunities for our youth, increase economic opportunities for adults). But what can a parent or an individual community member do in their daily life to help resolve this devastating issue?

Thanks for reading!
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