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This month in education: New Orleans heads into (un)chartered territory


Hey everyone! I am Isabel, I am working as an education policy intern this summer at DonorsChoose.org. I am really excited to share some interesting updates in education news each month. Happy reading!

New Orleans heads into (un)chartered territory:Hurricane Katrina washed away New Orleans traditional schools and with them, New Orleans' status as a failing school district. In the turmoil following Hurricane Katrina, the Recovery School District took over, reconstructing New Orleans' entire education system. They transformed it into an entirely charter-based school system just a few weeks ago when the state control board closed the doors of the last five remaining traditional schools.A Tulane University think tank found that 45 percent of New Orleans voters believed public schools in the city are getting better--while only 19 percent believe that they are getting worse. Advocates argue that the implementation of charters has been the major reason behind the steady rise in student achievement and improved graduation rates.However, critics have come forward to speak out about the downsides of NOLA’s charter schools – many of which have strict suspension and discipline policies. Others argue that there are too many inexperienced educators that are white and from out of town teaching within the New Orleans schools to be effective.Rick Hess, an America Enterprise Institute scholar, says “The Crescent City is showing what happens when charter schooling ceases being an alternative to the system and starts to become the system.”It will be interesting to follow this district and see whether they float or sink as an entirely charter-based school system.Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on this update.

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