Ramona, New Orleans, and the Decades-Long View

Good morning, CharterFolk.

Thanks to many of you for kind words about Sunday’s post remembering Ramona Edelin.

Of all the things I learned from Ramona, near the top of the list was recognizing that, in order to appreciate the full accomplishment of the charter school movement, much as it takes to appreciate the full accomplishment of Ramona’s remarkable life …

… one must take the decades-long view.

So it was natural that I thought of Ramona when I saw this article about the decades-long progress that charter schools have made in New Orleans.

Louisiana’s Department of Education shows the progress that has been made over decades.

Now, are there aspects of our work in New Orleans that haven’t been good enough?

Did we make some mistakes?

Has there been setback since Covid?

Absolutely.

But should we see the New Orleans experience in the aggregate as somehow not a great step forward?

Not if we take, as Ramona coached us to do, the decades-long view.

Now, years after local control returned to New Orleans …

… short-term thinking re-emerges.

The idea that, unlike charter schools that are authorized by third-parties, the school district will field a team and play referee at the same time.

Call it the Saints version of the Chiefs’ play.

It’s an idea taking us back toward a brokenness that can only be seen if you take the decades-long view.

It’s why:

In “the Era Beyond the Beginning” we will need a policy agenda that looks to the future with a decades-long view.