Students in New Orleans Speak Out

Students in New Orleans speak out, and ask some hard questions…

IMG_1120 Early Friday morning students arrived at their schools only to find that it was no regular morning. Pasted on the walls all around the schools were large black & white posters. But these were not your typical posters. These posters had facts, questions, and statistics regarding New Orleans public charter schools and their inhabitants — former students, teachers, principals, and CEOs. Some posters had questions on them that referenced the firing of over 7,000 teachers post-Katrina: *The black math teacher from 2004 who lived in your neighborhood, where are they?* And some questioned the salaries of school principals and administrators compared to the quality of the schools they run: *Your principal makes $100,000 a year, but why is your school only a ‘D’ school?* These are only a few of the many posters that were found at several high schools across the New Orleans area, including Lake Area, Sci Academy, Warren Easton, and Landry Walker. Continue reading →

In Chicago, Hunger Striking to Save a School

Why are Chicago parents on a hunger strike to save a neighborhood school? Because after five years of fighting, they’ve run out of options... 

By Jeanette Taylor-Ramann
IMG_3755What’s happening in Bronzeville isn’t just about Dyett High School. There’s an agenda to push out black and brown low income and working families in the city of Chicago. If you look at the big picture, that’s what this is about. You don’t only have police brutality. You don’t have only have a decrease in public housing in the city and the closing of public schools. The neighborhood school is the last stable institution that we have. When you have good neighborhood schools, they service the neighborhood. They keep kids off the street; they help parents when they’re struggling and having issues in the home. That neighborhood school is a support system for the community, and the powers that be know that. 
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No Education Summit for You!

How is The 74’s Education Summit 2015 like a school of choice? 

Teacher Penny Culliton with her ticket to the 74's Education Summit.

Teacher Penny Culliton with her ticket to the 74’s Education Summit.

Greetings from sunny New Hampshire where I’m spending 9 hours with Campbell Brown, six GOP presidential candidates and a great many young staffers from education reform groups. Did I just type that? I meant to say *public.* Except that not all of the public is welcome at the 74’s Education Summit apparently. Teacher Penny Culliton, who teaches English (shout out!) at Mascenic Regional High School, was turned away at 8:15 AM despite having a ticket and a registration confirmation. The official reason: like a school of choice, The 74 makes its own rules and can accept or reject anyone it chooses. Fortunately an alert bystander captured the exchange. Now it’s back to work for me. Next up: Joel Klein!

You’re Fired!

Teachers at Chicago’s Urban Prep Academies voted to form a union—then a whole bunch of them got fired…

urban prep mainIt’s back to school season, reader. Which means that all over the land teachers are returning to their classrooms, armed with the $513 worth of school supplies they purchased with their own money. Well, not all over the land. Sixteen Chicago-land teachers at Urban Prep Academies won’t be returning to the charter network this fall because they were suddenly let go at the end of the school year :( Note: the firings had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that almost all of the no-longer-working-at-Urban-Prep-teachers were involved in a successful effort to form a union. Continue reading →

Big Easy, Hot Mess

Why New Orleanians are turning against the city’s education reform experiment…

Blue_House,_N._Robertson_St._4500_Blk,_New_Orleans_LAHere is all you need to know about the New Orleans schools before Hurricane Katrina hit, ten years ago this summer: they were awful. The schools were awful, the school board was awful, the central office was awful—all of them were awful. At a recent conference held to tout the progress made by the schools here since Katrina, Scott Cowen, an early proponent of the all-charter-school model that exists here now, described New Orleans’ pre-storm schools as mired in *unprecedented dysfunction.* In other words, they were awful. Continue reading →