Despite what you may have heard, most charter schools are not incentivized to take the hardest to educate students. Charter schools live or die by their scores and how they are perceived by the public. Perception can be changed with misleading advertising rather than inproved performance. Improved performance can be achieved by simply improving how you select or selectively exclude students. Louisiana and LDOE via RSD are in the charter business now. This creates a direct conflict of interest. To show how effective the department’s current strategies are, it is important to show charter schools (which they are backing and sometimes running) in a positive light ( to bask in the reflective glow themselves). Conversely, LDOE has an interest in seeing traditional public schools do poorly. These factors explain the many gyrations and permutations of school performance scores, cut scores, grading scales, and subterfuge surrounding the release of data. LDOE’s goals are not aligned with supporting students or school districts. Their goals are aligned with supporting charter schools and disparaging traditional public schools and they support these goals well. Independant charter school goals are also not aligned with improving student performance or supporting the districts they reside in. Their goals are aligned with convincing (the right) parents that they are a better choice, and traditional public schools are garbage. Until we align the goals of the gatekeepers with students parents and school districts, we should expect glitzy advertizing, confusing meaningless metrics, and an LDOE backed drive to put traditional public schools out of business (to expand their charter budiness). Far too often this misalignment of values and goals is overlooked in the big picture of biased studies from charter backed research outlets like CREDO and the Cowen Institute, in their pursuit of finding miniscule statistical differences in performance to support a total charterization agenda.
The study Mercedes describes cleary illustrates how this misalignment translates into poor results and dubious actions. I question whether the goals can ever be properly aligned -especially when you have a very partial LDOE and BESE board providing cover and covering up all the charter misdeeds.
I have written several posts to date on the Educational Research Alliance of New Orleans (ERA) and its founder, Doug Harris.
ERA is conducting a number of studies on the privatization of most of New Orleans’ schools following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and which has culminated in a 100-percent-charter Recovery School District (RSD) in New Orleans by 2014.
In 2014-15, the remaining Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) consists of six direct-run schools and 14 charter schools, with with four of the 14 charters being “selective admission” schools— which means these school are (by definition) not open to the public.
Thus, the term “school choice” could well mean that it is the school that exercises greater leverage when it comes to choosing, not the parents.
ERA is studying this “choice”– with results that sometimes are not pretty for the “choice” advocates.
On January 15, 2015, Harris released his first report…
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