York City School District continues to move through a financial recovery plan that includes the possibility of someday converting schools into charters, if internal reform doesn’t work as the plan requires.
Officials have said new collective bargaining agreements are necessary for internal reform to work financially, and the city teachers’ union recently rejected a contract proposal. So the all-charter option seems to loom larger.
Given that, I thought York-area folks might want to read more about what’s happening in New Orleans, where the Recovery School District will become the first district in the country to be completely made up of charter schools next year. The move has advocates and critics.
This isn’t to say that if York went all-charter, it would work the way it does in New Orleans, where the takeover of schools kicked into higher gear after Hurricane Katrina. But it’s interesting to look at the issues at play in another district.
- The Washington Post reports that as the last traditional public school closed in the Recovery School District, there are mixed opinions and results.
- The Times-Picayune says that of 89 public schools in New Orleans, only 5 will not be charters next fall, and those are under the separate Orleans Parish School Board.
- And, NPR reports that the “nation’s largest experiment with charter schools” is expanding.
I caught up with a New Orleans group in 2013, when the all-charter idea was first being discussed, when I was working on a story about what would happen to the school district if York ended up going all charter. New Orleans was cited as an example in the YorkCounts report that first suggested all charters, but during the recovery process, Philadelphia’s Renaissance schools (an initiative that turns low-performing schools into charters) were discussed more often as a model.
Also of interest: Below is a document that was provided to the Community Education Council in April, which I obtained through a Right to Know request. It lays out a potential timeline for seeking charter operators for schools, should the York City School Board decide to do that. Chief Recovery Officer David Meckley could recommend the board move forward with a request for proposals in June.
(Click on the box with four arrows in the bottom left corner to make this document bigger.)