Author Topic: Education Reform for Jacksonville  (Read 1217 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Education Reform for Jacksonville
« on: January 24, 2012, 03:06:04 AM »
Education Reform for Jacksonville

Armed with staggering statistics indicating 5% of low income 9th graders in Jacksonville eventually graduate with a college degree, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund (JPEF) has embarked on a plan to completely overhaul Duval County's public education system.  Metro Jacksonville shares a recent presentation on education reform by JPEF to the Jacksonville Civic Council.

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Re: Education Reform for Jacksonville
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2012, 09:24:05 AM »
Great article. Education has to be the most important focus in the city. Every year that goes by our horrendous school system contributes to a nation wide crisis in our education. This puts us further and further behind in the global economy. Interesting that they mentioned focusing on getting qualified school board members but how do you do that? On the surface it looks like the folks on the school board are qualified but it seems like the same rehash every year, with money being pulled from education how can they focus on reform when they can barely put text books in children's hands? I wish I had some answers but charter schools haven't fixed anything. I really think they need fresh creative thinkers to shake things up, change is too damn slow in this town.


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Re: Education Reform for Jacksonville
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2012, 11:13:31 AM »
Here's the latest in New Orleans' move to mostly charter schools after Katrina:
Charter school takeover decisions announced by state education officials
Published: Monday, January 23, 2012, 9:59 PM
By Andrew Vanacore, The Times-Picayune

State officials released final decisions Monday on which charter operators will take over some of the last remaining traditional schools in the state-run Recovery School District. And they provided new details about plans to expand options for students who hope to go directly into the work force, rather than to college.
john_mcdonogh_high_school.jpgView full sizeTimes-Picayune archiveThe Future is Now Schools, a national group, will take over all existing grades at John McDonogh High School on Esplanade Avenue.

Collegiate Academies, a group that runs a high school in eastern New Orleans, will start a new campus at George Washington Carver in the Upper 9th Ward, phasing in one grade at a time as the existing Carver High School phases out.

The Future is Now Schools, a national group, will take over all existing grades at John McDonogh High School on Esplanade Avenue.

The group that runs Dr. King Charter School in the Lower 9th Ward will take over at Joseph Craig Elementary in Treme.

And the Choice Foundation, which already runs two elementary schools in the city, will take over McDonogh 42, a charter school in Treme whose contract with the state was not renewed when it came up for review with the state board of education in December.

The decisions released Monday have been widely anticipated for weeks, and all are somewhat controversial -- as attested to by a clutch of sign-wielding protesters at a district press conference Monday afternoon.

In particular, questions about the fate of the city's historically black high schools -- Carver and John McDonogh among them -- have hit nerves. Even though many New Orleans high schools have struggled academically for years, they still have large alumni networks with strong loyalties and often mixed feelings about the city's turn toward autonomous charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately managed. In some cases, community groups with alumni ties have applied to oversee schools themselves and been turned down.

Patrick Dobard, who took over as head of the Recovery District last week, framed the latest takeover decisions as a critical step toward boosting academic results at the city's high schools, many of which have continued to struggle under state supervision.

"When we talk about high school students right now, we see that of 100 entering freshman, that only 57 will graduate, less than 20 will go to college and only eight will finish their degrees," Dobard said during a press conference in the school library at John McDonogh. "Those numbers are just horrific."

Along with new charter operators, Dobard unveiled a list of 20 industry associations and businesses that have signed on to help provide career-track programs. A group including the Louisiana Restaurant Association, Woodward Design+Build and ConocoPhillips will help shape new courses, provide adjunct faculty and offer internships and job interviews, Dobard said.

The specifics of where those programs will be located haven't been fleshed out yet. The district is promising to have them up and running by fall 2013. But Steve Barr, head of the charter group that's slated to move into John McDonogh, said he envisions a student-run café and even a bookstore in the building.

"We're not going to teach kids how to work in a restaurant or run a restaurant," Barr said. "We're going to teach kids how to own a restaurant."

Barr's group, The Future is Now Schools, was one of nine approved late last year by the state board of education to take over schools in New Orleans. Barr founded Green Dot Public Schools in Los Angeles in 1999, a nonprofit that now manages 16 charter schools in California and one in New York. John McDonogh would be his new group's first takeover.

The group has been knocking on doors in the neighborhood for months, and it managed to win a letter of support from the head of the John McDonogh Alumni Association, Kenneth Gill. The alumni group secured two seats on the school's board and a promise that the school will hold on to Principal Averil Sanders, who started just last year.

Still, other community groups remain at odds with the state. "We're not going to sit back and just let this go," said Alvin Jones, an alumnus who serves as president of the Dr. George Washington Carver Charter School Association.

As with other groups involved with the city's high schools, the Carver association's relationship with the Recovery District has soured. Jones said it was members of the group who initially lobbied for the district to keep the school open, despite plans to shutter the campus. They formed as a group at the invitation of district officials, who were putting together community advisory committees back in 2007 under a grant from the Walton Family Foundation. The idea, Jones said, was that the committee would eventually charter the school, but the Recovery District abandoned that approach.

Meanwhile, the group feels left in the lurch, having applied now three times for a charter from the state board of education and been turned down each time. Jones said the group does not want to manage the school day-to-day, just to ensure that community members are on the board of whatever group does.

Collegiate Academies, which runs Sci Academy in eastern New Orleans, offered to add Carver community members to its board, but it was not enough to win an agreement.

Morgan Carter, Collegiate's chief growth officer, said the group met several times with the Carver association, "offering to partner in the charter application, stating our intention to grow our board by adding members of the community surrounding Carver and uncovering a lot of common ground."

She added, "We plan to continue our outreach efforts and hope to build a strong coalition of community members to provide input prior to the open of our schools."


Andrew Vanacore can be reached at or 504.826.3304.
Sed quis custodiet ipsos cutodes (Who watches the watchmen?)


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Re: Education Reform for Jacksonville
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2012, 11:55:36 AM »
It's refreshing to see people talking about education reform beyond charter schools. It's also good to see some ideas that we could actually implement locally. The biggest problems with our education system aren't local, their statewide (and even nationwide).
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?