Parents should enter the debate over "School Choice Week"

by Karran Harper Royal, Parents Across America- New Orleans

This week is being promoted as “School Choice Week” by the supporters of charter school expansion.  They have chosen a video interview with a New Orleans parent to promote school choice, but instead it shows how charters are making children the victims of school choice, not its beneficiaries.

In the video, the New Orleans parent admits:

  • She was FORCED to access a charter school because there were no other parish schools available.

  • She will be FORCED to further destabilize her children’s education by moving them again.

  • She admits that their current charter school is not addressing their special needs.

Essentially, she has NO CHOICE other than to move her children to yet another school, not to improve the school they are enrolled in.

Her children’s school, Esperanza Charter School, is the epitome of choice not driving school improvement.   Esperanza was taken over as a charter school because its first charter operator, UNO from Chicago, did not improve the academic performance of the school to state standards.

The new charter operator, “Choice Foundation” is failing her child by not addressing her child’s gifted needs.  Her only option is to move her child to yet another charter.  She has no POWER to improve the school and its services.

Sadly, the “Choice Foundation” just received another charter last month to take over yet another failed charter school in New Orleans.  Clearly “choice” in the form of proliferating charter schools is not driving school improvement, it is instead destabilizing children’s lives.

In the video, Eric Lewis, the Louisiana State Director of BAEO (Black Alliance for Educational Options) fails to recognize that the charter movement disregards the common good, and promotes erosion of our democracy by putting public dollars under the control of non-public entities.  The fact that BAEO chose this parent’s story to support school choice shows how clueless they are about what children actually need.  Listen closely to what he says.

Parents should acknowledge School Choice Week by sparking discussion on their facebook and twitter pages, while keeping your comments respectful.  The Twitter hashtag is #schoolchoiceweek  and here is the link to the Facebook page.  Their website is www.schoolchoiceweek.com

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