Adults fail kids AGAIN with broken promises because of the “A” word . . .

Almost half of Kennedy’s graduating class of seniors weren’t eligible to be promoted during this year’s commencement exercises held in May, according to reports from the Lens last week.  Consultants were hired, resignations tendered, stories written, and social media platforms exploded with finger-pointing and blame being targeted at “the charter” system of public schools in New Orleans. Whether you support charters or direct run district schools, the common thread that must exist in any education system is the “A” word . . .(and no, not Autonomy); it’s ACCOUNTABILITY!  It’s a concept that has been weaponized inconsistently by the Orleans Parish School District over the last 3 years.

See, accountability is supposed to force the Charter School Board of Directors to make sure that the School Leader or Principal clearly understands that no instances of fraud, corruption, or malfeasance rise to the level of a full blown scandal.  Accountability is supposed to force the Principal to communicate unequivocally to his or her staff that grade changing is not allowed . . .EVER! Accountability is supposed to force the Superintendent to meet with Charter School Board of Directors to convey clearly that grade changes, fixes, or modifications aren’t allowed, unless exigent circumstances exist to warrant a grade change according to District policy.  And, accountability should force the Orleans Parish School Board members to speak publicly about how this tragedy will never happen again. Instead, what we’ll likely hear from the Superintendent, the Orleans Parish School Board members, the Charter School Board of Directors, and school Principals is the other “A” word; Autonomy! Unbridled autonomy has created a culture and environment of a passive governance model that lends itself to the “tail wagging the dog” and instances of fraud that have been unearthed at Kennedy and is highly likely occurring at other schools as well.

It’s time for the Orleans Parish School Board and the Charter School Board of Directors to wake up, engage, and hold school and network leaders ACCOUNTABLE, before the tragedy occurs.  This “wild, wild West” atmosphere that currently exists in the New Orleans Public School system will continue to encourage fraud, corruption, and malfeasance unless accountability becomes the north-star of governance principles in our city public schools.

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