Doing the Right Thing

right

Recently, I wrote that the times may be a changin’ with regards to charter schools and issues of equity.

Charter schools in New Orleans are in many ways at the forefront of this change. They are doing the right thing.

New Schools for New Orleans’s (awesome) new leadership is doing the right thing by investing $3.4 million in New Orleans schools. The goal of this investment is to further build the capacity of educators to serve students with special needs.

What are schools doing with the funds? Some examples below:

  • Sci High will strengthen its transition programs for students with special needs entering (8th to 9th grade) and leaving (12th grade) high school through the addition of staff and programming.
  • Collegiate Academies will establish two programs to support students with disabilities in post-high school transition: one for college-bound students who need more time to academically and/or socially prepare for post-secondary schooling, and one for 18-21 year old students to learn job and life skills.
  • Cohen College Prep High School will hire a transition coordinator to help match students with opportunities for job skills training, internships, and job placement according to their needs.
  • Crocker College Prep will create a self-contained special education classroom for students with moderate to severe disabilities focused on different areas of skill development.

The Recovery School District and the Orleans Parish School Board are also doing the right thing.

They created a $1.9 million citywide high needs fund to support schools serving student with exceptionally high needs. This is in addition to the work the Recovery School District has done to overhaul its finance formula to provide more funds to schools serving the hardest to reach students.

The federal government is also doing the right thing. The feds just awarded NSNO $2.4 million to invest in partnerships between human capital providers and CMOs to build the capacity of educators to instruct students with special needs.

There is so far to go in New Orleans.

But I’m constantly impressed by the heart, minds, and souls of New Orleans educators.

One thought on “Doing the Right Thing

  1. Margaret Lang

    Sorry if I’m cynical but 10 years later we’re “doing the right thing”? Doing the right thing would’ve been worrying about access to an excellent education for ALL children from the gitgo, not 10 years later when, for political expedience, the subject of special education can’t be pushed to the side any longer. The right thing and the hard thing would be city leadership that embraces all children, not leadership that seeks to support school leaders who want other places to put children who they choose to see as to hard for them to have at “their school(s)”. Yes the easy thing (not the right and hard thing) is to create those separate places (like the self contained place mentioned) and make them sound really nice, e.g., we’ll have specially trained staff, equipment,…and we’ll have these special, excellent programs. We do this to convince ourselves that we are so benevolent by creating these “special” programs. We are creating another generation afraid of people who are different because we have convinced them if you are a little different you need to be in a separate place away from others. The temporarily hard (because we have traditionally separated those who are different), but right thing to do, would be to support schools to embrace all children not sort and separate children. Separate is not equal and never will be. Put those millions of dollars to reeducate the educators you are talking about to embrace diversity in every city school. It’s the right thing to do. And, if we made a concerted effort, just tried, it may not be as hard as we think!

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