History Rewritten: Masking The Failure of the Recovery School District

Kristen Buras and Raynard Sanders

With public schools in Orleans Parish once run by the RSD “returning” to the Orleans Parish School Board in July 2018 nearly 13 years after they were ripped from local control, now is a good time to remind everyone exactly who has been in charge of public education here and with what results.

A Failure on All Fronts: What We Really Need to Know About SCHOOL UNIFICATION

Raynard Sanders

Almost- All-Charter New Orleans : Not “Better Way to Run Schools

Mercedes Schneider

How to Make New Orleans Market Ed Reform a Success: Hide RSD Failure Inside an OPSB-RSD Data Blend

Mercedes Schneider


How Valid are the Louisiana LEAP tests?

                                                                                        Michael Deshotels

School reform in Louisiana was supposed to eliminate social promotion and the awarding of worthless high school diplomas.

Don’t Believe Reports that New Orleans is Regaining Control of its Schools

Ashana Bigard

Pundits say Louisiana has finally returned control of New Orleans charter schools to a locally elected school board, and that they are now accountable to the city’s residents. But New Orleanians will tell you: that’s not the case.


It’s Worst Than I Thought

Several years ago researcher Michael Deshotels asked the Louisiana Department of Education for the rubric they used to determine what was “passing” and “failing” score on the state’s annual standardized tests. Naturally they refused, after threatening a law suit they released the rubric (cut scores) to Mike.
To our surprised we found out that students were given passing scores in with having merely 23% -33% proficiency on parts of the tests. Since then he has has been annually publishing the cut scores for parents and community to see how well students were doing on the annual state state tests.
In this article Mike states that he miscalculated this year’s cut scores and the results are unbelievable……….. so much for high standards in Louisiana.


What New Orleans Tells Us About the Perils of Putting Schools on the Free Market

Gary Sernovitz a former charter school board member in New Orleans describes the challenges his charter school faced in the free market.


Judge Rules that the Louisiana Voucher Program is Unconstitutional

Judge rules that the far-reaching Louisiana Voucher Program is unconstitutional. Last spring Gov. Jindal rammed through the state legislature several controversial education bills in record time, one of these bills was an unlawful voucher bill.  The administration and the legislature did this despite the pleas from  hundreds of citizens, teacher unions and professional organizations, in fact they passed these bills with little or no public debate.  Education reformers usually ignore local, state and federal policy in their quest to privatize public education.


If it Quacks it’s A Duck draft

Architects and promoters of the state’s inequitable poor performing school system ask for a commitment for equity, transparency and academic excellence from Orleans Parish School Board candidates.


Paper on 2012 SPSk

Charles Hatfield of Research on Reforms annual analysis of 2011-2012 LEAP scores.


Charter School Shame
It is clear that the education reforms in New Orleans has failed academically and been a wonderful cash cow for charter operators management companies, but what has gone relatively under the radar are the daily abuse to children in many charter schools. Below are examples of tactics used in some of New Orleans most popular charter schools that are counterproductive to learning and more importantly can have long time damage to children’s self esteem and confidence. It also raises the question of what is the motive of such inhuman practices on children?

New Orleans Charter Uses Shame Sign and Shunning:

KIPP uses “miscreant” shame sign and shunning:

Original article about New Orleans Charter Posting Shame Signs

Reasons for Judgment June 20 2012

New Orleans Judge Rules that Public School Employees Were Illegally Fired!!!!!

Attached is a copy of the Reasons for Judgement in the firing New Orleans Public School teachers post Hurricane Katrina issued by Civil Court Judge Ethel Julien on June 20, 2012. The info in this Judgement not only tells a terrible story where public school employees jobs were not only illegally fired but also how calculating state and local education officials were in destroying public schools in New Orleans. The behavior of state officials were unethical and clearly out of order. More then a year before Hurricane Katrina then state superintendent Cecil Picard began a campaign to control the operating funds for New Orleans Public Schools. The findings in this Reasons for Judgement are horrific and validates that the education reform movement was resource driven ($$$) and had nothing to do with improving student achievement.


One of the fears of privatizing public education is enrollment practices of charter schools which deny student admission based on their race and class. The lack of a true accountability system for the large number of charter schools in New Orleans creates an environment where discriminatory enrollment practices can flourish.

Oprah- backed Charter School Denying Disabled Collides with Law

Bloomberg Newsweek reports on a charter school in New Orleans supported by Oprah Winfrey that does not serve special needs children.

Louisiana skipped key standardized testing analysis in 2009

Journalist Mikhail Zinshteyn of American Independent magazine discusses his recent article, Louisiana skipped key standardized testing analysis in 2009-2010, cites budget woes. The article focuses on how the Louisiana State Department of Education did not conduct an erasure analysis of the state’s standardized test scores for the 2009-2010 academic year due to budget cuts.

Response to John White % of Failing Schools ROR June 2011
Each year the Louisiana State Department of Education does a annual announcement
of unprecedented test score gains in the schools created by the educational
forms post Hurricane Katrina. Their message is picked up by the media and often
used in validating the taking of schools in New Orleans and converting the
schools to charters. As usual, external groups analysis tell a much different
story with their schools performing poorly nationally and compared to schools
outside New Orleans. This year their claims have been focused on the large decrease in the number of
failing schools compared to schools pre Katrina. As usual, a proper analysis has revealed the actual results of the performance of the public schools in New Orleans. Read the Research on Reforms report on the unfound success touted by state education officials.

Pr. Rel. — D.W. — All that glitters is not gold
Read a press release issued by the Coalition for Louisiana Public Education that disputes the academic progress on this year’s LEAP scores as touted by the Louisiana State Department of Education.

Hatfield TP Respoonse 5-16-11

This is a commentary and challenge to The Times‐Picayune’s editorial on May 13, 2011 entitled “Education reformer Paul Pastorek moves on: An editorial.” The editorial glorified the achievements of theRecovery School District (RSD), glowingly reporting unprecedented progress in turning around failing schools. The editorial stated that there were significantly fewer failing schools now than prior to Katrina. While the TP praised Mr. Pastorek, it went on to disparage the Coalition for Louisiana Public Education as “some obstructionists… looking to taking advantage of the moment” with respect to educational reform.

Our Gated Public Schools edit 4

This article, Our Gated Public Schools, appeared in The New Orleans Tribune’s May edition. It describes how the charter schools in New Orleans successfully lobbied the state education board to allow them to continue to cherry-pick the best students for their schools rather than admit neighborhood students. This action insures that students in Recovery School District schools will continue to ride buses to and from school for more than 3 hours daily.

Hatfield RSD Propaganda 2011
Charles Hatfield weighs in on the state education officials “unfound” claims of tremendous academic progress of Recovery School District schools (charter and traditional).


Dr. Raynard Sanders tell us about the saga of the Thurgood Marshall Middle School students who were kicked out of their building on the first day of school In the spring of 2005, Thurgood Marshal Middle School was the highest academically performing middle school in New Orleans. In the spring of 2007 Recovery School District officials announced that the school would re-open in the fall in its newly renovated building, student registration began shortly there afterwards. On the first day of school, students and parents were met by officials from the Recovery School District who told them that the Marshall school was being moved and that students would be bused to a school building in the lower 9th ward. Parents were never given any explanation only that two charter schools were would be in their building.

Dingerson Unlovely 2007

Noted Educational Researcher Leigh Dingerson essay, Unlovely; How a Market Based Education Experiment is Failing New Orleans Children, touches several issues that define public education post Hurricane Katrina. She explains the fundamental problems with having a market driven educational system, the article also gives a great descriptive time line of events that happened to public education in New Orleans right after Hurricane Katrina.

Schools_with_SPS_GE_60 2005

In November 2005 the state legislature passed ACT 35 essentially taking over more than 107 public schools in New Orleans. In taking these schools state officials changed the standard for academically unacceptable schools for just public schools in New Orleans, thus allowing the existing policy of a school performance score (SPS) of below 60 for the rest of the schools in the state. With ACT 35 schools in New Orleans not having a 87.4 were declared academically unacceptable, this file shows all the schools that had a SPS over 60 in New Orleans. While some of these schools re-opened as charters many of them never re-opened, if any of these schools would have been in other parish in the state they would not have been declared a failure. The teachers, staff and principals of these successful schools were eventually fired.


Educational Researcher Dr. Barbara Ferguson discovers serious problems with the reporting of students LEAP scores by the Recovery School District; 1500 hundred student’s test scores missing from one school year to the next school year.

Hatfield – RSD Academic Crisis

Education Researcher Charles Hatfield tells us about the poor academic performance of the Recovery School District for the 2008-2009 school term.

7th_grade_cohort_overview LDOE

7th_grade_grad_rate_analyzed LDOE

In this memo from the Louisiana State Department of Education’s Strategic Research and Analysis Department, state officials admit to lying about minority student progress on the LEAP test in Louisiana. They also admit that from 2002-2008 the graduation rates for Black students decline and that the “graduation rate Black male is absolutely dismal”.

Inaccurate Data 8-2-09

Dr. Raynard Sanders tells us how the Recovery School District spins student data on high school graduation rates to tout success that didn’t happen.

New Orleans Charter Schools 8-3-10

Dr. Raynard Sanders discusses the problems with the charter schools in New Orleans as it relates to the original intent of charter schools. He also gives recommendations on how to make Ne Orleans charter schools more equitable and accountable.

Sam Abrams, Visiting Professor at Teachers College Columbia University, article The Children Must Play: What the U.S. Could Learn from Finland about Education Reform. The New Republic, January 28, 2011.

Legislative Audit Report of the LDE June 2008

Legislative Audit Report 2009

Legislative Audit Report 1-4-11

La. legislative Audit Report 3-10-10

As state and local education official tout that the Louisiana Recovery School District as the national model for turning around urban school that are plagued with poor academic performance and fiscal irresponsibility, they have received critically damaging reports from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor for gross fiscal mismanagement for the past three years. Read the above Auditor’s reports that illustrated continual violations of state policy by the Recovery School District/Louisiana Department of Education.


Michael Deshotels article, Louisiana Turnaround Zone, takes a look at the Recovery School District graduation rates and how the academic performance of their high poverty schools compares to the academic performance of high poverty schools in Louisiana not in the Recovery School District.


Families and Friends of Incarcerated Children and The National Economic and Social Rights Initiative reports are the high explusion and suspension rates of schools in Louisiana.

2010_SPS – Lt. Grade – Karran Royal

The academic status of public schools in New Orleans for the 2009-2010 school year – this chart list each school’s demograhpic indicator; direct-run/charter, charter authorizer, school performance score, perofrmance letter grade, charter renewal term and achieved growth (Louisiana Deaprtment of Education).

2 thoughts on “Research”

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