Don’t Turn Wilmington Into New Orleans. Here we have no Saints to come marching in… (at best just some Blue Rocks and ’87’S)….
New Orleans is held up as “the” model by reformers. Rodel, Markell and Murphy all cite it. It is “the” model being used by the current Delaware administration to allow the advent of large corporations to teach our kids, for a price…. for a price….
We can look at New Orleans and know what to expect for Wilmington…..
(Coincidentally a new book outlining the steps has been published on this and is review by Diane Ravitch here..) Those steps are:
“first steal their democracy, then steal their schools”
- Some 7,500 veteran teachers, three-quarters of whom were African-American, the backbone of the African-American middle class in New Orleans, were abruptly fired without cause,
- They were replaced by 6000 inexperienced young TFA recruits.
- Public schools were eliminated, even those that were beloved in their communities, some with fabled histories and vibrant ties to the neighborhood.
- Black teachers were erroneously blamed in newspapers opinion pages and multiple letters to editors for being somehow responsible for the poor condition and poor academic results of the public schools…
- Those in power in the state systematically underfunded the schools until the charters came; then the money spigot opened.
- New power elites distrusted local school boards as “politicized and ineffective,” and first undercut, then bypassed, preferring either state control, corporate boards, or appointed leadership.
- From corporate boards and state officials there was always the underlying assumption that “African Americans have no capacity for self-government.”
- The clearest beneficiaries are upper-class white (and a few black) entrepreneurs who seek to capitalize on public assets for their own advancement while dispossessing the very communities the schools are supposed to serve.
- Local African American communities tried to save the schools, which was important to the neighborhood, but with democracy no longer part of the solution, over their objection schools were handed over to KIPP.
- Charter schools did not hire veteran teachers, and none formed a union. They prefer to rely on the fresh recruits, “mostly “cheap” and white, who came with their carpet bags from outside the community.”
- State officials and education entrepreneurs used newspapers and media releases to shift the blame for poor academic results onto the city’s veteran teachers…
- White capitalists once again took power to control the children of African American families and took possession of schools that once belonged to the black community and reflected their culture and their aspirations.
- Inexperienced white recruits hired by the TFA would undermine the best interests of black working-class students and veteran teachers just to leverage a more financially stable and promising future for themselves.
- New Orleans is not a model for anyone to follow unless one is an entrepreneur. The entrepreneurs grow fat while families and children lose schools that once were the heart of their community.
- Once the heart of their community, neighborhood schools under corporate ownership have only one function: spit out test scores (which are worse now then before the transition).
- Consequently, after all of these: New Orleans’ Recovery School District is one of the state’s bottommost performing districts.
- Inner city schools are, or should be, democratic institutions, serving the needs of the local community and responsive to that community’s goals. Not some investor in New York City.
“first steal their democracy, then steal their schools”….
We can see it plain as day as was outlined on September 4th, 2014 with the Warner “show for the press” over their announcement of the takeover of 6 schools.
And so It begins.