Tuesday, November 26, 2013

School choice in New Orleans: schools have big strategy sets

In New Orleans (as in New York City), some schools have big strategy sets. The Times-Picayune reports: Two New Orleans high schools said they were 'full' -- then enrolled more students

"the data raises troubling questions about whether these two schools are truly "open admission" campuses or are secretly cherry-picking students. "I think it's a fact that school leaders of certain schools are deciding who gets a seat, and I don't think that's serving students well," said Caroline Roemer Shirley, head of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools.
McMain Principal Bridgette Frick admitted taking in more freshmen after officially declaring the class full. She said she let in students who came to sign up at the school in July, after McMain was freed from OneApp.
So, too, did McDonogh 35 Principal Gerald DeBose. He said the school independently boosted ninth-grade enrollment beyond its initial number to offset an unexpected loss of students in 10th and 11th grade.
The Orleans Parish School Board allowed the schools to fill any open seats on their own over the summer. However, Recovery School District data show they were overenrolled well before then."
"In most parts of the country, charters run their own application lotteries. But suspicions arose in New Orleans that the lack of oversight left room for individual schools to prioritize some applicants over others, even though almost all are "open admission," meaning they have no stated entry requirements. 
"The state Recovery School District introduced OneApp in 2012 to address these and other issues. It applies to all New Orleans public schools in both the state-run district and about half of those overseen by the separate Orleans Parish School Board. The exceptions, for now, are Orleans Parish School Board charters that choose not to participate until their charters come up for renewal.

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