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An Anti-Charter Hatchet Job, Annotated WWNO/Hechinger Report tries to blame McDonogh #35's struggles on charters, but fails miserably

If you’ve been following the output of the Hechinger Report over the past few years, it should be clear that those in charge at the outlet are pushing an anti-reform agenda in their coverage of New Orleans public schools.

That bias is abundantly evident in their misleading, clickbait-y headlines about New Orleans schools, their continued promotion of the imperceptive and vacuous ramblings of failed former New Orleans charter school CEO Andre Perry, or their publication of any number of “gotcha pieces” about the city’s school reforms, which come across as little more than cheap shots.


Thus, it wasn’t all that shocking when the Hechinger Report recently published an article using the debate over the fate of McDonogh #35 High School as a vehicle to attack charter schools. On the other hand, I was surprised and disappointed to discover that the author of this hatchet job was Jess Clark, the education reporter at our local NPR-affiliate WWNO, whose previous reporting I’ve always found to be pretty fair.

Clark’s portrayal of the McDonogh #35 saga misses or ignores critical parts of the story. Moreover, her contention that the school’s academic troubles can be blamed on charters is not only disingenuous, but downright illogical. Therefore, in an effort to correct the record, I’ve annotated her article to point out various omissions, challenge her misrepresentations, and provide a fuller and more accurate story of McDonogh #35. To read those annotations, simply click on the link below.

Genius-annotated version of “Charter schools nearly destroyed this New Orleans school. Now it will become one.”

NEW ORLEANS – The McDonogh 35 “Roneagles” were killing their opponents on the softball field. Junior Tye Mansion had just stolen a base, and her teammates in the dugout were going wild, chanting and taunting the other team. Tye’s mom Tyra Mansion was cheering her on behind home plate.

Written by Peter Cook

Pete became involved in education reform as a 2002 Teach For America corps member in New Orleans Public Schools and has worked in various capacities at Teach For America, KIPP, TNTP, and the Recovery School District. As a consultant, he developed teacher evaluation systems and served as a strategic advisor to school district leaders in Cleveland, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. He now writes about education policy and politics and lives in New Orleans.

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