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

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Vallas Brings Camelot to New Orleans Charters

Yes, it's the return of Camelot, but instead of a land of justice, bravery, truth, and romantic adventure, it is disciplinary consequences, physical restraints, and the chain of command of a new Camelot, the one that Paul Vallas has brought to two "restructured" schools of the New Orleans Recovery School District.

In his previous post as head of Philadelphia's schools, Vallas allowed Brien Gardiner, now alleged to be one of the leading thieves in the ongoing Philly charter school scandal, to acquire the first contracts for Camelot Schools LLC, a Texas based company that operates schools on what may be described as the junior penitentiary model. At Camelot Schools, parents must "enroll" their children through Intake, and first period everyone is signed up for Personal Searches. Seriously--check out this pdf overview of Camelot's "alternative" model reform schools. One paragraph of the 37 pages is devoted to curriculum. Want to guess what constitutes the rest?

NCLB sanctions have made it possible now to turn the poorest schools over to private contractors to incarcerate those children who somehow have not chosen the street over the company lockdown schools. And these new test-til-you-puke chain gangs offer the perfect training for a future behind the steel doors of the adult for-profit prisons that represent one of the real growth industries that cannot be exported--yet. It will be worth watching what Vallas does next, when the LEAP scores come in on his corrupt corporate solution for the children we have thrown away.

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