Wednesday, December 7, 2011

At This Point Just Teach The Kids

There’s an article in the local paper this morning about charter schools and who gets and doesn’t get permission to run a school. The locals are getting restless because they don’t have control of most of the school system anymore and are having a hard time competing with national charter school organizations. I haven’t spoken about this issue for awhile but every now and then a reality check is needed. I would like to tell all my local friends that no one really wants you to run your own schools. New Orleans is now the proving ground for any charter program looking to show its value and we made it that way with years of failure and neglect. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

The people who are running our schools now will listen to you because they can’t piss you off too much but they don’t have to cater to your ideas and history because they have the grades of your kids prior to Katrina to show we don’t what we are doing. This is a stats driven society and there are a lot of people in our city who haven’t came to this conclusion yet. Bobby Jindal just got elected to his second term. This state is as red as it’s ever been. Very soon our superintendent and state board representative will be Teach for America disciples and our mayor endorsed them. His chief deputy mayor was the leader of Teach for America in the state so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what’s about to happen. The charter system is here to stay and the best thing we can do now is support the kids to make sure they have the best opportunities possible.

I’m a charter school parent and I love the school my kids attend but I am not necessarily pro charter schools. I can’t say that I am a big supporter of local control either. I’m for educated children of New Orleans no matter what. If the teacher most qualified for that task is a recent graduate of an Ivy League school or a twenty year teaching veteran from Algiers then let them do their job. At this point I just want the kids to make it because we are at a crucial time. We have to support whoever happens to be teaching them and hope they succeed.

The only thing I will add to this is that even though I accept the failures of the past and change in the system I am still a big believer in the fact that New Orleans natives can control their own destiny and do for themselves. If some of these groups from out of town receiving charters can’t make it work and kids are failing then I am going to turn pro local control really fast. I can’t support anyone who comes here to get paid and doesn’t teach our kids because they’ll be living somewhere else ten years from now while we are here trying to keep their failures off of the street and out of the cemetery. We don’t need anyone to help us do that. We are already experts at school failure.


suspect device said...

YES. This. This *exactly*. Great post, Cliff. NOLA schoolswere some of the worst in the nation, if not the worst, before Katrina and that's why the state had to step in with the RSD. After the flood, the OPSB ABANDONED the schools and refused to reopen -- no one seems to remember this.

Charter school arguments on a nationwide scale are one thing, but if it's charter schools that get the job done here, then hell yes, bring on the charter schools. The local school system can put up or shut up.

Dr. Beverly Anderson said...

Cliff, you might be interested in "Cherished Memories: Snapshots of Life and Lessons from a 1950s New Orleans Creole Village", a book I wrote about education in the 7th Ward.

It focuses on the impact the community had on the schools and vice versa, and should help make connections to today's schooling systems and how we can fix them.

I'd love to chat more about this with you. Feel free to visit my blog or find me on Twitter @authorbanderson!