Stand for Children Louisiana Questionnaire Answers
BIO: David Alvarez
David Alvarez is President of Evaluation Insights with extensive experience in educational and behavioral health initiatives. David has worked as a classroom teacher, a school counselor, a coordinator of academics in a university setting, a director of education and prevention services for a non-profit, and a regional program monitor supervisor for the State of Louisiana.
He currently conducts evaluations for multiple
entities throughout the State of Louisiana assessing student behavioral health outcomes for over 40,000 students. David has extensive experience assisting community coalitions in their strategic planning efforts aimed at preventing unwanted youth behaviors. He conducts assessments, trainings, and evaluations for multiple coalitions across the state.
1. I am most proud of my work in coalition settings because they represent multiple sectors of the community working in concert to make community-level changes that improve the lives of children. I feel pride when my work assists community leaders to make policy decisions that are in the best interests of our children.
2. Building capacity to address community problems is a major component of my professional work. Most recently, I cofounded the LA Voz de la Comunidad coalition in Kenner, LA. This required me to meet multiple sector representatives from the Latino communities of Kenner and recruit them to work collaboratively within a coalition framework. The largest obstacle to this endeavor was effectively communicating the nature of authentic community-based work and its potential positive impact on the lives of Latino youth in their neighborhoods. Another obstacle was securing the required sector representatives to participate in a grant proposal I submitted for the coalition.
3. The unification of our schools presents an opportunity for the OPSB to establish policies that build collaboration between the independent charters. Unification is an opportunity for our citizenry to guide the work of our independent charters. The greatest risk to unification is for our schools to be in competition with each other rather than collaborate with each other. The 20th century was the age of competition; the 21st century is the age of collaboration!
4. OPSB’s role is to facilitate educational innovation in our city by establishing policies that prioritize collaboration between our schools - a system of winners and losers is not acceptable. OPSB must lead our schools and establish the metrics by which our schools are assessed.
5. First, what are the indicators being used to conclude that a school is not doing well?
A process that includes more indicators other than test scores should be an OPSB priority. If closing schools and reopening them under new management were a successful strategy, then all RSD schools would have fixed the problems of the OPSB schools they took over.
We know this did not happen.
6. Democracy is rooted in the collective actions of citizens. I feel that the teachers at the schools that recently unionized modeled democracy in action for their students. Teachers have the right to organize and bargain collectively because they are the engines of our schools and the people who are in direct contact with my children and the children of my neighbors for 6 hours a day.
7. OneApp must be transparent. It is my understanding that reporting issues exist and there are some structural issues regarding true choice that also exist.
8. My vision for public schools includes early childhood. I pay for my son’s schooling at a public charter because he is in preK - I will aggressively explore ways to change this.
9. The OPSB will have redefined how it measures school success and will have established clear guidance to the superintendent on the authorization and reauthorization of schools in our city.
10. I would like to see our OPSB successfully leading a group of schools that perform at levels that attract ALL of our city’s students. Currently, New Orleans parents have the highest private school utilization rate in the United States. My vision is for a public school system that attracts all the parents in our city. My understanding of portfolio districts is aligned with the Endowed Chair and Head of Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas Jay Greene’s:
“School districts have institutional incentives to prevent new good schools from opening, propping up bad schools that too few parents want, and imposing an excessive regulatory framework on the entire system. Those same institutional incentives will inevitably come to dominate Portfolio Districts.”
“If you want to create real change, you have to change the system of incentives — not just create new institutions that will be governed by the same perverse incentives.”
My top three roles:
1- lead in creating policies that foster collaboration of schools and teachers
2- lead in creating policies that redefine school performance
3- lead in creating policies that guide the innovation of our schools and attract all of our parents
I have no intention nor desire to serve for 12 years. I will limit my service to 8 years. I hope history finds that the policies I advocated for facilitated positive growth in our children and positive outcomes for our community.
INDEPENDENT WOMEN'S ORGANIZATION
What in your personal experience makes you especially qualified to be on the Orleans Parish School Board?
I am president of an evaluation company that assesses the performance of over 40,000 students in over 100 schools in the State of Louisiana. I also work with community coalitions across the State of Louisiana in developing strategies that are effective in preventing unwanted youth behaviors. I have strong experience working closely with multiple sectors of communities (education, healthcare, law enforcement, faith-based, etc.) building coalitions that use community-based strategies to improve the lives of youth. I have strong experience advocating for governmental policies that are in the best interest of community youth. My experiences working with all parts of a community towards improving student outcomes makes me especially qualified to represent my neighbors on the OPSB.
Effective September 2018 OPSB will have control of charter school management through the authority of the superintendent. Discuss your position on charter schools.
The management of the Charters schools by OPSB through the authority of the superintendent provides the citizens of New Orleans the opportunity to lead the transformation of our schools towards equity and success for all of our children. It is an opportunity for our representatives, OPSB, to proactively set policies that complement and coordinate our independent charters. The ability for our charter schools to innovate must be sustained by OPSB policy. With the proper set of policies, our OPSB can establish and shape a more viable future for our children attending charter schools.
Can admission policies give greater weight to neighborhood schools without diminishing parental choice?
How would you address transportation issues for all the schools under the Orleans Parish School Board?
I will require a transportation study be conducted with the inclusion of metrics that have not been included in the past. The results of the study would be used to inform OPSB policy addressing transportation. The added costs of transportation and the early morning traveling of our kids are not sustainable and must be remedied.
Will you require plans for regular, scheduled maintenance of school buildings?
I am open to exploring such plans. I first will have to review the current protocols utilized for maintaining school buildings.
Do you think teachers’ unions have a role in public schools? Please explain your answer.
The best way to teach our students about Democracy is by practicing it. Teachers are the engines of a school. They are the ones in direct contact with our children and have an incredible influence on our children. Their ability to organize is the purest expression of Democracy. It is the right of teachers to unionize if they so choose. That decision can be school by school but the teachers should have choice.