Charters are the “new normal” in New Orleans, writes Richard Whitmire on Real Clear Education. Ten years after Katrina transformed the city’s schools, 95 percent of public school students attend charters.
Nationally, 5.8 percent of students attend charters.
Data on attendance, graduation rates or test scores don’t tell the full story, writes Whitmire.
Take KIPP Central City Academy, which replaced a low-performing school that was a football powerhouse. It’s the highest performing middle school in the Recovery School District — and it has a football team, cheerleaders, a marching band and majorettes.
At Arthur Ashe Charter School, part of the FirstLine charter network, 37 percent of students have “learning challenges.” That’s sustainable because the new school funding system in New Orleans provides more money for students with special needs.
There is no “backfill” controversy over adding students in later grades, he adds. All the schools backfill and all take mid-year transfers. Students coming out of the judicial system are assigned to a school via a “round robin” system run by the RSD.