New Schools in New Orleans
This report, published in the Spring 2011 issue of Education Next, looks at the changes that have taken place in New Orleans schools and the school system since Hurricane Katrina. Well over half of the city’s 88 public schools are now charter schools that are independently operated but publicly authorized, funded, and evaluated. Proportionally more public school students — 71% — are in charter schools in New Orleans than in any other U.S. city. The percentage of students attending a low-performing school has fallen by half, from 67 percent to 34 percent.
The report’s author, Jed Horne, focuses in particular on the issue of governance. In particular, he discusses the debates that took place in December 2010 as the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) prepared to vote on a plan for returning schools to local control. He argues that resolving the issue of governance will be the biggest test ahead for both New Orleans and other cities as they move on to “Charter Issues 2.0.”