It appears as though hurricane-battered New Orleans will be forfeiting control over its own public schools:
Despite objections from a teacher union and some members of the New Orleans delegation, a Senate committee Thursday advanced Gov. Kathleen Blanco's proposal to let the state take over almost all New Orleans public schools.As one might expect, the teachers union is hoping mad over this one as the takeover may void all collective bargaining agreements.
Louisiana education officials can already take over perennially failing public schools — as graded under the state's accountability program — anywhere in the state. Under the proposal Blanco outlined last week, that power would be expanded in New Orleans, where any school performing below the state average (roughly 95 of 108 measured in the last round of accountability scores) could be taken over by the state's "Recovery District" and put into the hands of a university, foundation or other independent entity.
A New Orleans Democrat, state Sen. Ann Duplessis, won approval for the legislation Thursday in the Senate Education Committee for the governor. But not everyone in the New Orleans delegation supports it.
"It's a farce," said Duplessis' House colleague and fellow Legislative Black Caucus member Karen Carter, D-New Orleans. Carter said the measure has not been well thought out, is being rushed through the current special legislative session, and was cobbled together without enough consideration for or from teachers.
At this time, all New Orleans public schools are closed, the teachers are laid-off (without pay) and what few schools that will be openining in the next few months will all be charter schools which are set to operate independently of the local school system office.