I have even more interest in the New Orleans Recovery School District than ever, because while nobody was looking, the idea of such a school district seems to have skulked its way into Pennsylvania.
New Orleans is a reformster's dream, a school district where all of that messy democratically-controlled local public school system could be swept away, clearing the ground for edupreneurs to start sweeping up some of that sweet, sweet money.
The idea has spread. I've probably spent the most space here on Tennessee's Achievement School District. The idea of these districts is to set up a system in which local control and democratically-elected boards can be completely circumvented and some bureaucratic-corporate entity gets to decide which eduprofiteer gets to cash in. These kind of districts are truly the privatizers' dream, a happy land where students and families are simply conduits for generating tax-based revenue without regard for community, democracy, educational quality-- well, anything at all except those sweet, sweet piles of cash.
Not every location has been so fortunate as to be hit by a deadly and destructive hurricane, so in every place that's not New Orleans, crafting a narrative of public school disaster has taken a little longer. It takes a while to slowly starve a school district into submission or to generate the kind of BS Test scores that allow little boys to cry out about public school wolves. But reformster efforts to create disaster have begun to pay off.
In the meantime, reformsters have also done their best to sell a narrative of NOLA success. The RSD is awesome! Everyone is happy! Student scores are way up! It has been both horrifying and depressing to see how thoroughly this narrative has been adopted, leaving people like Mercedes Schneider and Crazy Crawfish to get out the story of what is really happening down there. This is a critical talking point-- New Orleans is the test of every reformster idea and they must sell it as a crown jewel in order to keep moving their programs forward. What Americans come to believe about the New Orleans Recovery School District is going to shape what comes next in the struggle for public education in this country.
That's why I'm asking for help for a friend. Reformsters are spending millions upon millions of dollars promoting and pushing the narrative of the Miracle Revival of New Orleans Schools, while the truth has to depend on people working for $0.00 in their free time to get the word out.
Jennifer Berkshire (Edushyster) proposes to travel to New Orleans and get the stories that aren't being told by speaking to the actual live human citizens who are living through this privatized democracy-free school system. Unlike the reformster crowd, Berkshire does not have zillionaire backers, or even pedestrian millionaire backers. If you care about this stuff, if you think that voices speaking up for democracy and public education and quality education and students above profits-- if you believe all that stuff matters, this is a critical point at which you can chip in.
The Beacon is a site for crowdsourcing journalism projects. It gives anyone with worthy work to do a way to meet the expenses of doing that work without having to make a deal with the corporate devil to do it.
We are spread out and with limited resources. But if, for instance, each of the people who follows this blog on Facebook kicked in ten bucks, Berkshire would more than meet her target. I've pledged. Heck, my mom has pledged. You should do the same. Wherever you are, whatever your situation, this is a concrete way to help the cause of public education in this country at the critical juncture of a very important story-- a story that is unlikely to be covered well by much of the regular media.
This is your chance to help. Follow the link, make a pledge, help the real story of New Orleans get out. This matters.