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

Joey Lehrman is a retired teacher with over 40 years of experiece in the New Orleans public school system. Since retiring, he has transitioned to sharing his experience and persepctive and all things New Orleans through a variety of blogs, newsites, and social networks.

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