Raynard Sanders: Our Schools Aren’t Better Yet! No, It Aint My Fault . . .
Raynard Sanders is an educator and author based in New Orleans who has long observed the effects of reformy policies. In an op-ed for the New Orleans Tribune, he spots one of NOLA’s reformy institutions trying to dodge its own bad record.
Some years ago, Rebirth Brass Band recorded “No it Ain’t My Fault”. It went on to become standard for New Orleans Brass Bands. That song comes to mind when reading Patrick Dobard’s, former New Orleans Recovery School District Superintendent, op-ed in The Advocate on August 22, 2021, entitled, “ As we move beyond pandemic, we need a new commitment to better schools”.
Needless to say, an article from a former Recovery School District Superintendent asking for better schools is really puzzling in that the mission of the Recovery School District was to create good schools after Hurricane Katrina. Just as a quick refresher in November 2005, then Gov. Blanco declared that a state takeover would create a “new birth of excellence and opportunity” for the city’s schoolchildren. State officials promoted the takeover plan identified the mission of the state-run Recovery School District (RSD) as creating a “world-class” school system in which “every decision focuses on the best interests of the children.”
In just reading the title of Dobard’s op-ed “commitment to better schools”, leads one to think that Dobard either has amnesia or he thinks the citizens of New Orleans have amnesia.
The content of Dobard’s op-ed continues with more bewildering claims statements from an individual whose job was to create world-class schools in New Orleans. The op-ed begins by stating that our children’s lives and learning are impacted every day by longstanding inequities. He goes on to say that fewer than 2 in 10 Black children in this state are meeting the state’s standards. Then he cites the importance of teachers in offsetting the impact of the inequities that children face. Dobard then says that we need to use data to fuel a more equitable division of resources to all our children. We need help offset this inequity with strategic funding and training. The op-ed closes with plea to policymakers and stakeholders to move out of the pandemic by taking time to focus and and make decisions driven by reality and not rhetoric.
Dobard’s op-ed is truly confusing given his work and others in creating the school district he so harshly criticizes in his op-ed.
Let’s do another quick refresher.