Factual errors abound in the piece. Here's one: "Since the fall of 2005, the schools have been slowly climbing out of the cellar."
In truth, the climb had begun several years before Katrina. Test scores in all but a handful of the city's schools were on the rise before the storm - a fact conveniently ignored by the education "reformers" who've treated the city like vultures tearing the carcass of a not-quite-dead animal.
Here's another: "Last year, the school district was able to spend $15,500 per pupil..."
Wrong. It's the Recovery School District - those schools seized by the state - that have the largesse. District schools, those still under the authority of the Orleans Parish School Board, must make do with thousands less. Yet they seem to be doing about as well as the RSD schools in providing services to the children of the city.
To USA Today's credit, the newspaper allowed United Teachers of New Orleans President Larry Carter to respond.
Carter makes four important points in his op-ed:
- The funds spent on charter schools lack accountability.
- Charter schools in the city often rely on traditional public schools to provide special education services.
- Charter schools don’t provide the same insurance and retirement benefits to educators as regular public schools.
- Charter schools can create a gap between Haves and Have-nots in the city, leading to "the creation of a separate but unequal, semi-private school system."
The United Teachers of New Orleans supports charter schools that are accountable
to the public, ensure educational equity, are open to all students,and give
their employees a real voice in decisions.
The question is, how many charter schools can meet those standards?