- New Orleans At-A-Glance
Population (2013 estimate): 378,315
Percentage African-American: 60%
Percentage White: 33%
Percentage of Black-Owned Businesses: 29% 1
Before Hurricane Katrina, the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) operated the schools in New Orleans. The district received a ranking of “F” the Louisiana State Board of Education (BESE). After Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005, BESE, with help from Gov. Blanco and local leaders, took over the school district, severely limiting the power of the OPSB by allowing them to regulate 20 schools, and redistributing that power to the Recovery School District, who now controlled the remaining 70 schools.
This year, New Orleans entered its first year as being an all-charter public school district. Many leaders of education policy in the state, including U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D) and Governor Bobby Jindal (R), view New Orleans as a success and a model for the nation’s urban cities to pursue charters as a medium of education reform.
The creation of an all-charter district has some devastating effects. It fired over 8,000 experience African American teachers and replaced them with inexperienced, White teachers, often from programs like Teach for America. Additionally, there has been a growing rise against charters from parents and students alike, who realize that learning is no longer happening in schools, and that students aren’t motivated to learn anymore.
Additionally, a large disparity exists between the percentage of Black children who attend charter schools to the number of white children who do. White children, in New Orleans’ case, often have parents with larger incomes who can afford to send their children to private school. Evidence by a few studies confirm this claim. Parents of black children often wait in long lines to reserve their child’s place in a lottery system that sometimes forces children to travel up to an hour (via bus) away.
With some students in the school district seeing grade improvement, and the state recognizes the district as a “C,” many wonder if charter schools are the viable and sustainable solution to aiding the district in becoming an “A” ranked school system, or should a restoration to public education with experience teachers take place.
The video above provides a summary of what takes place in crafting the educational policy in New Orleans charters. Additionally, it shows a glimpse of a New Orleans charter school, and the administrators behind it, and provides a contrasting view with anti-Charter teachers and administrators.
1. New Orleans Louisiana. Retrieved December 8, 2014 from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/22/2255000.html
[Photo]. Retrieved December 8, 2014, from: http://apps.npr.org/the-end-of-neighborhood-schools/