Thursday, July 21, 2016

"Unambiguous success"

Interesting word choice as Uptownmessenger lays out Ben Kleban's resume here. Kleban, who is the founder of New Orleans College Prep charter network, qualified to run for Orleans Parsish School Board this week.
New Orleans College Prep received the charter for Sylvanie Williams Elementary School in 2009, followed by Walter L. Cohen High School in 2011 and then Lawrence Crocker Elementary in 2012, and now is expecting a total of more than 1,500 students this year across its Uptown campuses. Cohen has been the network’s most unambiguous success, rising from one of the lowest-rated failing schools in the city to a B school performance score last year and boasting a 100-percent college-acceptance rate for graduates three years in a row.
The article doesn't mention that just a couple years ago the "unambiguous success" was the site of a student protest against the controversial firings of teachers and staff during the transition to College Prep's management. Maybe that alone doesn't throw a whole lot of ambiguity into Cohen's performance score. But it is a sign that such metrics may not provide us with the only gauge on a school's "success." This was the topic of Andre Perry's address to the Rising Tide conference a few short years back.
Standardized test scores may be rising in the city’s public schools, but those gains on paper do not translate into any meaningful improvements in the lives of the city’s poorest students, said former New Orleans education official and activist Dr. Andre Perry. Challenging school reformers’ beliefs that a wholesale restructuring of the education system will create a better society, Perry added that all social conditions that plague New Orleans’ poor and African-American neighborhoods still persist even after 10 years of school reforms.

The best first step the city can take to real improvements for the African-American community, Perry said, is to begin searching for a way to reconcile with the thousands of teachers who were wrongfully fired after Hurricane Katrina.
This fall's OPSB election is important. It happens just as the local school board prepares to accept control over the vast majority of the system back from the state run RSD. Here's who has qualified so far.  There are a lot of administrative voices in there. It would be nice to see more candidates who represent teachers and parents get involved too. 

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