The non-profit's leader, Chris Meyer, was previously an administrator in the state-run Recovery School District. When New Schools launched last April, the RSD appeared ready to hand over the keys to the 7 schools it runs directly in Baton Rouge as soon as Meyer and his team had the charter school operators and resources in place.
Nearly a year and a half later, New Schools has picked half a dozen of what it considers to be the best charter operators in the country -- including Yes Prep and KIPP, which, as The Lens has reported, arefamiliar names in New Orleans. Backers have committed roughly $15 million in seed money. This fall the Recovery School District is starting the process of matching up the operators with buildings where they can start charter schools in Baton Rouge.
Journalist Sarah Carr spent a year chronicling the lives of a skeptical teenager, a fresh-faced teacher, and a veteran principal in three separate charter schools in New Orleans for her new book, “Hope Against Hope.”
Some of the same players who orchestrated the makeover of public education in the Crescent City after Hurricane Katrina are trying to do the same thing in Baton Rouge, without the prompting of a natural disaster.
Supporters of the movement hold up charter schools as the salvation of American education. Critics say the overhaul will lead to its ruination. What Carr found was a lot of gray.
For-profit public school management is on the decline across the country. In 2007 about half of charter schools that entered into management contracts did so with a for-profit company. Three years later, that number fell by 25 percent. In New Orleans, all of the for-profits that came in to manage charters after Hurricane Katrina are now gone. Opposition to for-profit public schools in Mississippi is growing fierce.