June 30 — 3:38 pm, 2009

Camelot gets $15.8M, but are their students well-served?

The SRC  voted last week to renew and increase Camelot’s contract, now to serve 1,550 at a pricetag of $15.8 million.

The Times Picayune this week reported on a Camelot-run school in New Orleans, "Is Schwarz School a Safe Alternative?" Judging by the description of decaying facilities, a lack of physical safety for students, and an otherwise chaotic learning environment the answer is a resounding no.

When the School District of Lancaster visited a Camelot-run school in Philly in April, they were impressed with it. Lancaster votes this week on whether they will contract with Camelot to run an alternative-education school.

The Picayune article mentions "Camelot encouraged its staff to be aggressive," but is that encouragement limited to Schwarz? Earlier this year Councilman Kenney raised concerns about Camelot’s managers who worked with a "problem-plagued" company that went bankrupt in 2005.

From the Picayune:

"In neglecting Schwarz, I feel that the powers-that-be were essentially saying to the kids: ‘You had your chance and you blew it,’ " said Mitra Jalali, a Teach For America instructor who taught at Schwarz last year. "In a merit-based system, maybe our kids aren’t the most deserving. But in a needs-based system, they deserve the most."

Is Camelot in Philly giving the kids who need the most the safe, supportive school they deserve?

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