William J. Mathis, (802) 282-0058, mailto:email@example.com
Kristen L. Buras (404) 413-8030, firstname.lastname@example.org
URL for this press release: http://tinyurl.com/78flp7v
BOULDER, CO (March 20, 2012) – In its report, The Louisiana Recovery School District: Lessons for the Buckeye State, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute criticizes local urban governance structures and presents the decentralized, charter-school-driven Recovery School District (RSD) in New Orleans as a successful model for fiscal and academic performance.
Reviewing the report for the Think Twice think tank review project, Kristen Buras of Georgia State University writes that the report ignores the distinctive history of New Orleans and fails to provide evidence for its claims.
The review is published by the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education.
Buras, a native of New Orleans, is coauthor of Pedagogy, Policy, and the Privatized City: Stories of Dispossession and Defiance from New Orleans. Her research on educational reform in New Orleans has been published in Harvard Educational Review and Race Ethnicity and Education, and in edited books such as Schooling and the Politics of Disaster and The Assault on Public Education.
In her review, Buras notes that the Fordham report, which is written by Nelson Smith, lacks any consideration of the chronic under-funding and racial history of New Orleans public schools before Hurricane Katrina. No evidence is provided that a conversion to charter schools would remedy these problems.
The report also misreads the achievement data to assert the success of the RSD when the claimed gains may be simply a function of shifting test standards. The report touts the replacement of senior teachers with new and non-traditionally prepared teachers, but it provides no evidence of the efficacy of this practice.
Additionally, the report claims public support for the reforms, Buras writes, yet other indicators reveal serious concerns over access, equity, performance, and accountability.
“Ultimately, the report is a polemic advocating the removal of public governance and the replacement of public schools with privately operated charter networks,” Buras concludes. “It is thin on data and thick on claims, and should be read with great caution by policymakers in Ohio and elsewhere.”
Find Kristen Buras’s review on the NEPC website at:
Find The Louisiana Recovery School District: Lessons for the Buckeye State, by Nelson Smith, on the web at:
The Think Twice think tank review project (http://thinktankreview.org) of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) provides the public, policy makers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC is housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education. The Think Twice think tank review project is made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
The mission of the National Education Policy Center is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence. For more information on the NEPC, please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/.
This review is also found on the GLC website at http://www.greatlakescenter.org/.