The following is from an explanation of the unfair, unethical, and anti-public school reality on the ground in NOLA schools. It is from the Executive Summary of THE STATE OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN POST-KATRINA NEW ORLEANS: THE CHALLENGE OF CREATING EQUAL OPPORTUNITY by the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota, a report released in February 2010:
Rebuilding of the public school system in post-Katrina New Orleans has produced a five “tiered” system of public schools in which not every student in the city receives the same quality education.
In the new system, public schools operate under five distinct governance structures that serve different student populations: Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) traditional public schools (which educate 7 percent of the city’s students); OPSB charter schools (20 percent); Recovery School District (RSD) traditional public schools (36 percent); RSD charter schools (34 percent); and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) charter schools (2 percent).
Public schools in this tiered system do not compete on a level playing field because schools in each sector operate under different rules and regulations.
The “tiered” system of public schools in the city of New Orleans sorts white students and a relatively small share of students of color into selective schools in the OPSB and BESE sectors, while steering the majority of low-income students of color to high-poverty schools in the RSD sector.
In 2009, 87 percent of all white students in the city attended an OPSB or BESE charter school, while only 18 percent of black students did so.
In contrast, 75 percent of black students attended an RSD school (charter or traditional public) in 2009, compared to only 11 percent of white students.
Although nearly all schools in the city were high poverty, OPSB and BESE charters showed the lowest shares of high-poverty schools—67 and 50 percent—in the city. In contrast, nearly all RSD schools were high-poverty schools.
Racial and economic segregation hurt even the limited number of students of color who are in the OPSB and BESE sectors.
Students of color were much more likely to attend a high-poverty school than white students in these two sectors. For instance, in 2009, students of color in OPSB charter schools were nearly 12 times more likely to attend a high-poverty OPSB school than white students.
PERFORMANCE OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN THE NEW ORLEANS METROPOLITAN AREA:
The “tiered” system of public schools in the metro creates a tiered performance hierarchy and sorts white students and a minority of students of color into higher performing schools while restricting the majority of low income students of color into lower performing schools.
School performance varies significantly across OPSB, RSD, BESE and suburban schools but not so much between charter and traditional schools.
OPSB schools rank highest for the most part followed by BESE and suburban schools, with RSD schools lagging behind.
School performance varies significantly across sectors because schools in each sector do not compete on a level playing field.
OPSB and BESE schools in the city provide some of the most advantageous educational settings in the region. However, they do so mostly by skimming the easiest-to-educate students through selective admission requirements that allow them to set explicit academic standards for incoming students. They also shape their student enrollments by using their enrollment practices, discipline and expulsion practices, transportation policies, location decisions, and marketing and recruitment efforts. These practices certainly contribute to the selective student bodies and superior performance of these schools.
Suburban public schools—charters and non-charters—also provide good educational settings and outcomes. Suburban traditional schools are less likely to be segregated by race or income and test scores reflect this.
RSD charter schools still skim the most motivated public students in the RSD sector despite lacking the selective admission requirements OPSB and BESE charters have.They do so by using their enrollment practices, discipline and expulsion practices, transportation policies, location decisions, and marketing and recruitment efforts. These practices almost certainly work to increase pass rates in RSD charters compared to their traditional counterparts.
As a result of rules that put RSD traditional schools at a competitive disadvantage, schools in this sector are reduced to ‘schools of last resort.’ This sector continues to educate the hardest-to-educate students in racially segregated, high-poverty schools.
Keep in mind this last point. Despite the actively-racist fixing, finagling, recruiting in and pushing out, the charters are having a tough time holding on to their test score advantage over the public school dumping ground they have created for purposes of unfair comparison.
School performance varies much less between charter and traditional schools in each sector.
OPSB and suburban charter schools do not outperform their traditional counterparts. RSD charter schools do outperform RSD traditional public schools but the margins are modest and are narrowing for fourth graders.