Educators, community question decisions made during charter take-over

Educators, community question decisions made during charter take-over
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 5:25pm

Of the five charter operations coming in to take-over RSD schools four are from out of state, but those operators aren't the only ones that applied for the spots.

Bernice Carter has three grand-daughters, all of them are or were students at JK Haynes Elementary, and for a good reason.

"I found out that JK Haynes has been one of the longest, oldest established charter schools in the state of Louisiana, in Baton Rouge in particular, and it had an excellent track record. And this was a wholesome, family, smaller environment," explained Carter.

Carter said her girls thrived there, her only wish is that they could have continued with the same charter into middle and high school.

"If they did not get it or had not gotten it in this time, I don't think they would have lasted and done as well as they've done in the past. So they should, just basing it on experience, they've done very well. And I feel there's nothing but the best in store. the sky is the limit for them," said Carter.

But the charter was denied a chance to take-over one of the Recovery School District's high schools.

“Superintendent White said he recognized that we are a good school. Our track record is excellent. He just said that he didn't think we could take over a school. We could start a school, we just couldn't take over a school," explained JK Haynes principal Diana Haynes.

BESE member Carolyn Hill worked with the JK Haynes to help the organization attempt to obtain the necessary recommendation, she said she believes the charter wasn't given a fair shot.

"They already had in mind who they wanted to give the type 5 charters to and JK Haynes decided to put their name in a hat. And I totally feel that was a disrespect, not only to the school, but to the students, the teachers and the community activists that came out to support them," explained Hill.

NBC33 contacted the Department of Education and were told no one was available to answer our questions on camera. A statement released by a spokesman detailing the recommendation processed explained that the Department focuses, ”primarily on track record... and depends primarily upon test scores and national research such as the CREDO data out of Stanford University."

But for some the question remains, why choose an out of state charter over one that is homegrown?

"Honestly most of the charters that we approve are out of state, and I totally disagree with that because we have some reputable individuals here in the state of Louisiana that is educated to run a charter just as good as someone from out of state," added Hill.

The Department of Education also explained that it makes recommendations based on those groups that have proven successful elsewhere with similar student populations.

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