Well, it has been 10 years since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the RSD took over public schools. There are no public schools left in New Orleans today. Sadly, what is left in place is not quality, equitable education for every child but a patchwork of uncertainty, churning, and failure. It has been 2 years since the ASD took over schools in Memphis, and even the ASD's professional PR team can't hide that the ASD's TCAP scores are lower now than they were as public schools 2 years ago. Even harder to ignore, entire communities in Memphis and Nashville are irate over their public schools being taken from them and given to out-of-state charter operators.
Only a fool would call this "recovery," "achievement," or "success."
The Louisiana Department of Education may be able to manipulate cut scores on their own state's tests, but they can't do so for the National ACT test. Since they couldn't manipulate the truth, Louisiana simply didn't release the state-wide ACT results to the public as they normally have. They kept the ACT scores a secret. A big ugly secret... until a high school teacher in New Orleans found out the truth.
Mercedes Schneider is a high-school teacher by day and a ruthless researcher & writer by night. She holds a phD in statistics and isn't afraid to dive into data that the average person would have no clue about. She's published books and knows her stuff. She'd requested the ACT information from her state, which normally should be a simple process to request information, but to no avail. Then, she got a break from an anonymous source who works for a college in Louisiana.
Schneider found out why it was no wonder that Louisiana hid the ACT test results! After 10 years of "reform," the results were undeniably awful. Scores were dropping. Students in New Orleans weren't anywhere near ready for college and career. Schneider writes, "The RSD Class of 2014 was in third grade when Katrina hit. The state has been in charge of their education since then, and this is what they have to show for their test-score-driven, charter-friendly, Teach-for-America-friendly, so-called 'education.' Nothing remotely touching 'college ready.' A sham."
The Recovery School District hasn't recovered any child's education, (oh, but it did make some charter school investors some nice, cushy salaries). Read Mercedes Schneider's articles and see all the data for yourself. If you think plummeting ACT scores are a "success," then we have some ocean-front property right here in TN to sell you!
Why is this information about Louisiana important to Tennessee? Well, 400 miles north of New Orleans in Memphis, TN, the ASD is following in the RSD's footsteps and using the RSD's game-plan. 300 more miles away to the east, the more profitable public schools of Nashville are the next targeted prize for the ASD. This is important for legislators and the public to understand. Tennessee if following a failing plan.
Also important to know: Louisiana has vouchers. They are a dismal failure there. Read Mercedes Schneider's article about how their state can't get private schools to accept them. Their state is literally bribing schools and parents to use the unwanted voucher system. What a mess. What a waste.
Tennessee is following a failing plan. We should learn from their mistakes.
Educate yourself on what is happening. Watch these short videos on "The Perfect Storm" and see for yourself what reality is like in New Orleans now after 10 years of recovery, reform, vouchers, and charters: