I have been reading about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s promoting the Recovery School District (RSD) as an example of the success of his educational reform package. I am not sure how Jindal qualifies “success” since a disproportionate number of RSD-run schools earned a D or F as a 2012 school performance score. So, I went to the RSD website to see how this issue of “success” might be treated.
Here’s is the RSD tactic: Ignore the school letter grade situation completely.
You read it right. The RSD makes no mention of school letter grades on its website. It does offer links to “school performance” and even uses the term “school performance scores.” The RSD site offers charts and graphs with the numeric school performance scores. Why, then, does the site not include the letter grades?
In 2010, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education President Penny Dastugue defended the then-new school letter grade system by saying, “People can relate to grades.”
According to the information posted on the Louisiana Department of Education website for 2012, 60 schools are designated as being RSD schools. Out of 60 schools, 51 received a D or F letter grade. None received an A.
Being “transparent” with such information would reveal the truth, and the truth is bad for business.
If the RSD website publicizes its letter grades, then the world will clearly see that the state-run RSD does not live up to what LDOE also continues to promote on its website: “…The Recovery School District (RSD) is a leading reform model for educators around the country and even around the globe as they search for solutions to transform low-performing schools.”
According to LDOE’s own letter grade standard, state-run RSD schools are not “transformed.” The state with its self-proclaimed reformer rhetoric may control these schools, but the state, by its own standard, is failing. RSD success is a lie.
In order to truly understand what exactly occurs in RSD, state and national media need to travel to New Orleans and other RSD locations and talk to RSD students and parents. The state and national media need to investigate the effects of revolving-door charters on student well being and community stability. The state and national media need to expose the disconnect between what so-called “reformers” are showcasing as success on one hand and hiding via information-twisting and omission on the other.
Mercedes K. Schneider, Ph.D.
applied statistics and research methods