In her book, Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space, Kristen Buras has researched the New Orleans Recovery School District (RSD) since 2005. With a 2015 publishing date, it is hot off the press.
A major theme to her research is that the New Orleans RSD is a Southern strategy to use market-based reforms to give control of public schools, attended by Black children in Black communities and often taught by Black teachers, over to well funded white entrepreneurs.
Over the next couple weeks I will be posting Buras’s well researched and convincing argument. Following is an introductory summary to the book.
In New Orleans:
• Charter schools have taken over or replaced traditional public schools with little input from community members.
• CMO’s in education entrepreneurs have acquired immense decision-making power as well as power over local, state, and federal education funds.
• Charter schools often engage in selective admission and retention of students.
• Veteran teachers have been fired while human capital edu– businesses such as TFA provided new and transient recruits.
• Entrepreneurial leaders in the system are generously paid.
• Privately managed charter schools have access to upgrade facilities at public expense.
• Unregulated charter school autonomy allows corruption to go unchecked and “reformers” to prosper in the process.
• Charter school development is not necessarily driven by performance or evidence as traditional but promising public schools are closed to make room for unproven startups.
• There is a racial dynamic to all of this as mostly white entrepreneurs and recruits attempt to impose “reform” and capitalize on black working-class communities.
• Charter school development has generated lawsuits and community resistance.
• This reconstruction of public education has the support of most local state and federal policymakers despite its anti-democratic tendencies.