Thompson: Modest Success In New Orleans
I cannot deny my bias in regard to the prodigious effort to rebuild New Orleans schools. From 2005 to 2010, per student spending was increased by over 60%. Many of America's most talented and committed young educators have dedicated themselves to putting those resources to good use. If they failed to even achieve modest improvements, all Americans would have to take a doubly hard look in the mirror. So, I applaud Matthew DiCarlo's fair-minded analysis of New Orleans charters in the Shanker Blog, and I hope that the glass is half full. Among 47 non-selective charters, 16 have improved reading scores more than comparable neighborhood schools, while nine have done worse, and 22 have not shown significant differences. DiCarlo notes that those charters serve about half as many special education students but, even so, we should study the successful charters to identify what worked for them and even ask whether some of their lessons are ready to be scaled up. It is hard to see how New Orleans provides evidence that the charterization of Philadelphia schools, for instance, would help them recover from its self-inflicted hurricane. I will soon be posting on the failure of "reform" in Philadelphia but, for now, we should be gracious in regard to New Orleans - which may be reformers' greatest success to date.- JT (@drjohnthompson) image via.