School takeover by Steve Barr and the Future Is Now charter school causes student walkout in New Orleans: Is this what we want Seattle?

This is the article and press release from the Louisiana Justice Institute. Two weeks after the school year started, the New Orleans School District allowed these charter operators to take over the school.

Students at Walter L. Cohen in New Orleans began a walk out/protest on October 4th, 2012 when their teachers and administrators were dismissed and the announcement was made that Future Is Now Charter (Steven Barr, formerly of Green Dot in California, and Gideon Stein) would be taking over the governance of the school. A press conference is to be held today, Monday, October 8, at 3:00pm.

This is against the firing of Cohen teachers and administration and the take-over by Future is Now (FIN) charter. Decisions about the governance of the school, including New Orleans College Prep being housed in Cohen’s building, must be reversed and remade to include students and parents of Cohen. Cohen students and parents must be made a part of all decisions about Cohen.

Official Demands Written by Walter L. Cohen Students on October 7, 2012:

1. Resources and Building repair for Walter L. Cohen High School.

– Photos of building providing evidence of different conditions between NOCPREP and Cohen

2. Graduate Exit Exam (GEE) and End of Course (EOC) waivers given caused by disruption learning.

Students must not be penalized for missing seat time until our demands are met.

3. Students cannot be bought and sold. Walter L. Cohen students and parents demand real “CHOICE” to determine the governance of the school. Any previous decisions made determining the governance of Cohen should be reversed and required to go through parent/year 2012-2013 fired must be reinstated. We need written documentation demonstrating why student/teacher/administrator committee.

If the decision is to return the school to Walter L. Cohen under Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB), New Orleans College Prep students will be welcome. ALL CURRENT STUDENTS GRADUATE FROM WALTER L. COHEN.

4. ALL Teachers, administration and faculty must be retained. Any faculty member from school any faculty members were dismissed. We need written documentation of any reprimands of faculty members. In the future, if a faculty member is to be dismissed, written documentation and a plan must be created and followed.

ALL teachers and administrators must be fully certified by the state of Louisiana (which must be documented online at Out of State Certifications are acceptable.

5. Data from Future Is Now on all schools they managed:

– Student testing history

– Suspension / expulsion data

– Police reports for FIN John McDonogh, Cohen and New Orleans College Prep

– Attrition rates for students and teachers

– Graduation rate data

– Post-secondary data (admission statistics for graduated seniors)

New Orleans cannot be a city with all charter schools. Charter schools do not admit or keep all students.

No unnecessary suspensions and expulsions for students in New Orleans. Need official handbook with policies concerning retention of students developed by parents, students and teachers citywide.

I’d say that the people of New Orleans have had their fill of charter schools.


Post Script:

Here is a video of a news broadcast regarding the walkout thanks to Karran Harper-Royal.


  1. This was posted on my Facebook page by New Orleans parent Karran Harper-Royal:

    Seattle, you don’t want this, trust me, this hurts children. Education reform should not hurt children. I listened to these brave children at a Central City church yesterday. The hurt and pain in their voices, and the tears they shed because they know they are being sold as if on the auction block. The first charter to go into their building, wanted to start a grade at a time. That left these kids out in their early years at this school. Now the RSD doesn’t want them, or better yet, has made up lies to disrupt their education and has basically sold them to Future Is Now Charter Schools. They don’t care about these children. They won’t care about your children. When charter schools come into your town, they want all of the money, but not all of the kids.

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