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June 24, 2006

Choices in New Orleans

Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans infrastructure and the school district. During the first year after the hurricane 11,700 students out of 56,000 returned to school. 25 of 128 schools reopened: 9 are charter schools, 4 are district schools, and 12 (plus 2 of the charter schools) operate under state authority. It is strange to go to the New Orleans school district web site and find no schools listed.

The state is considering proposals from applicants to run semi-independent schools. Meanwhile, the Mayoral Education Committee is pondering next steps. The Orleans Parish School Board is being advised by the Council of the Great City Schools and other individuals and groups. The state has drafted, The Recovery School District Plan to assess the situation and to work with the Federal-Aid Emergency Management Agency. Expected are some 25-30 charter schools in operation by fall, 2006.

The situation creates an unprecedented opportunity to reinvent public education. Unfortunately, the situation is so fraught with controversy and overlapping realms of authority that it is unlikely a transformed system of education will emerge. See "Dual Orleans Systems Grow in Storm's Wake in Education Week for a good overview.

Posted by Wayne Jennings at June 24, 2006 12:33 PM


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