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 →

Everybody Loves Lawrence

But do they love her for the right reasons?

lawrenceOh Lawrence, you city by the Spicket, you. It seems like only yesteryear that everyone who was anyone was writing the damndest things about your poorest-burg-in-Massachusetts self. And here you are – not just grown up, but blown up. The edupreneurial set suddenly can’t get enough of you. Your story is even bandied about across the pond. And who’s that I see checking you out from a few states over, Lawrence? Why if that isn’t New York looking you up and down… Continue reading →

The Case of the Disappearing Data

Louisiana’s Nancy Drew gets her hands on those elusive ACT scores…

Nancy_Drew_80_211EduShyster: Let’s get right to the question that’s on all of our minds. Is that John White as handsome as he looks in his pictures?

Mercedes Schneider: Well, it depends on how you define handsome. I personally find honesty to be an attractive trait…

EduShyster: You broke a big story over the weekend. Somehow you managed to get your hands on Louisiana’s 2014 ACT scores, which the state Department of Education didn’t seem to want to release. What do the numbers tell you?

Schneider: They’re terrible. I go over them in more detail here, but what you need to know is that the composite ACT score for the schools in New Orleans’ Recovery School District dropped from the year before, and that for individual high schools the scores are in the 13, 14 and 15 range. For comparison’s sake, to get into Louisiana State one needs an ACT score of 22—a minimum of 19 in math and an 18 in English. But what really stands out to me is that the students in New Orleans who took the ACT in 2014 were in 3rd grade when Katrina hit. Even if you have students who didn’t return to the city for two years, that means they’ve been attending these charter schools since 5th grade. That’s how long they’ve been subject to this experiment. You look at these numbers and it’s clear why John White didn’t want them to be made public. Continue reading →

Cristal Ball

A look ahead at some of the trendiest trends of 2014…

Why it seems like only yesterday that we were All Hailing the EduPreneur, raising our wassail boxes to his (and her) unique ability to *do well* by *doing good.* So what does 2014 have in store for us? Will it be as disruptive, innovative and excellent as its predecessor, or will it be even more disruptive, innovative and excellent? What new jargon will climb to the very top of our *must spout* list? And how much leftover wassail will it take before we all forget that 2014 was supposed to be the year of universal proficiency? Here’s a peek… Continue reading →