New What for New Who?

The only way the documents below make sense is if my [or our] suspicions are true—that this “education” “Reform” is more about the bottom line of interested businesses and individuals who get outsized salaries, compared to salaries before “Reform,” regardless of success, experience, education or knowledge of anything, including and especially education. New schools? Really? I see “new” but not what I’ve been told is, and even what’s “new” is pretty damn old, the same get-over, the same segregated schools, the same exploitation in the name of saving The Children all while 6-figure salaries become the norm in administration but teacher salaries and benefits stay flat or go down thanks to anti-labor and -collective bargaining ideology and randomly-acquired biases. As I’ve said before, what about John White’s brief TfA training and tenure in a classroom qualifies him to be superintendent of an entire state?

Document one: A summary of the information in the next pages about New Schools for New Orleans’ beginnings, mission statement and facts that seem to contradict that mission, compensation, outside consulting fees, grants to organizations, independent contractor and “consultancy” fees, and how much cash, considering these numbers, is left over for NSNO’s “helping The Children.”



Note that NSNO started in April, 2006, near the end of the school year, though, the note says, “The US Government, however, does use a October 1 to September 30 Fiscal Year [sic].” According to The Cowen Institute’s 2012 report, The State of Public Education in New Orleans [PDF], “in 2010-11, average teacher salaries ranged from about $40,000 to over $54,000” [21]. Usdin’s salary from 2007-2011 could have paid for 12-15 teachers. Salaries at NSNO are high yet Tulane donates physical space to NSNO. And what kind of travelling did Usdin and others do where and when and who ate at these meals at what conventions? And a good chunk of NSNO money goes out of state. About 58% of NSNO cash has gone to expenses, not The Children.

Document two:


In 2008 and 2009, Usdin worked a reported average of 50 hours a week for a yearly salary of $145,954-$162,907. [To put into context, teaching English as a tenure-track professor, I worked 50-70-hour weeks for just under $40K.] During the 2008 fiscal year, NSNO spent $18,415 on “meals and entertainment” and $90,224 on “travel.” The figures for FY2009 include $16,410 for meals and entertainment, $43,040 on travel, and $30,446 on “conferences, conventions, and meetings.” Her salary and these expenses total $271,546 for FY2008 and $235,850 for FY2009.

About the children. About the schools. About the righteousness of privatizing public education for whose benefit?

Four: analysis of what my source calls “interesting expenses” like consulting fees and “fees for services-other.” The percent of cash spent on labor in NSNO is high, 23-32% of revenues, which skyrockets if “consulting fees” and “fees for services-other” are added in, and those range from $689,218 in FY2007 to $1,982,539 in FY2009.


Five: a summary of cash expenditures and a roundup of cash given to organizations outside the state. If these cash expenditures are added to labor costs, they account for 37-65% of total expenditures, leaving a lot less for The Children than we may have been led to believe by Ms. Usdin and her cronies.

Tomorrow Next—Part Deux: Compensation for the 5 highest-paid independent contractors, Usdin’s candidate report, and a look at some of her donors, like Carol Asher and Leslie Jacobs.

About G Bitch

A mad black woman in New Orleans.
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6 Responses to New What for New Who?

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  2. neighbor says:

    You got it. Thanks for your great work!

Comments welcomed. Really.