State Sen. Joe Bouie has sounded the alarm. Citing a Stanford University study and a legislative audit, the lawmaker says it is time to end the failed experiment that has gripped public education in New Orleans for nearly 16 years. Sen. Bouie has detailed his concerns in a letter to the Orleans Parish School Board. He has also laid out a plan of action and is calling on elected officials, community leaders, and the public to take a stand.
As a lifelong resident and state senator from New Orleans, I am contacting you with disturbing news about the status of the New Orleans Public School system’s 15-year Charter School Experiment. Our all-Charter system experiment has not only failed, but recent audit findings confirm it is also completely flawed.
After spending $6 billion of tax payers’ money to become the only all-Charter system in the State, a staggering 73 percent of our children are not functioning at grade level, compared to 67 percent in 2005, when the State took control of over 100 of our schools. Superintendent Henderson Lewis said, “When you look across all grade levels and subjects in Orleans Parish, just 27 percent of students tested at grade level in 2019. This is the fourth year of stagnant or declining test results.”
A Louisiana Legislative Audit completed earlier this year states that New Orleans Public Schools and the Louisiana Department of Education do not consider whether specific practices are responsible for positive or negative outcomes. And when determining which schools should be renewed, it is not considered whether specific practices implemented at a school are responsible for the positive academic outcomes.
In other words, elected school board members, this 15-year flawed experiment has yielded no best practices identified to improve student and school performance, no State protocol for Charter Law Compliance, and no student performance improvement. It has, however, yielded other devastating consequences for our children and our community.
According to a 72-page Stanford University report entitled “Whose Choice? Student Experiences and Outcomes in the New Orleans School experiment:”
Our schools are highly stratified by race, class, and educational advantage, operating very different types of schools to different types of children.