"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Orleans Public School Children Wait-Listed While Charter Schools Bar Their Doors

For the poorest citizens of a devastated New Orleans who were hoping to hear some encouraging words this week from their President, they will have to wait. They will wait, just like 300 of their children who are now waiting and wait-listed because there is no place for them in the very sick Recovery School District.

But there are some in the Big Easy that the Decider and his Secretary of Education have not forgotten: the 17 new charter schools that the privatizing President hopes will serve as a model for the nation. They enjoy new everything and a mandated teacher-student ratio of 1:20.

In the meantime, there are the children of the Recovery School District, those children from the public schools prior to Katrina who were on the NCLB list of failures. The Recovery District (another Orwellianism) is still 73 teacher short of what they need for their legal limit--a 1:25 teacher-pupil ratio. These children are now jammed into 18 schools, with 300 wait-listed while waiting for seats that have been refused them by the charter schools.

We can know, of course, that when Spellings sends in Jay Greene and other Walmart scholars from Arkansas to do her comparative research on test scores between the charter students and the rest who are waiting for a place to sit down, the new charter schools are going to win that contest. If true comparisons show charters no better than the publics, which true comparsions have shown, then the Secretary will create some phony, manipulated comparisons. Anything to crush the enemy--the public schools.

Phyllis Landrieu, the Orleans Parish School Board president who prayerfully thanked Katrina's merciful destruction of the public school system a few months back, must be giving thanks once more for the overcrowding in the Recovery Schools that her 17 charter schools will be competing against when the LEAP comes to town once more in March.

Asked if they'd consider increasing class sizes to help offset crowding in the Recovery District, Orleans Parish School Board President Phyllis Landrieu said it's too early to say.

"That's not something we can answer quickly," she said. "The board will have to talk about that."

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