Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: The School Impact

The school year for students, teachers, and education staff in New Orleans, Alabama, and Mississippi has been decimated by the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Follow this constantly updated Education Week series as we cover the hurricanes' impact at the district, state, and federal levels.

Join our ongoing discussion, "How Has the Hurricane Affected You?"

When Komal Bhasin heard that her New Orleans school was shutting down in preparation for a hurricane, she anticipated having an extra, leisurely day for lesson planning. Instead, the teacher fled to Huntsville, Ala., to escape the wrath of Hurricane Katrina.
March 7, 2008 - Education Week

Congress has given final approval to a measure that provides $235 million to schools educating students displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and extends the deadline for schools to decide how to spend the money.
June 19, 2006 - Education Week

A White House report examining the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina that was critical of several federal agencies lauded the Department of Education for several of its actions after the storm.
February 28, 2006 - Education Week

As students displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita continue returning to their home school districts in Louisiana and Mississippi, tens of thousands remain scattered elsewhere in those states, in nearby states, and across the nation.
January 31, 2006 - Education Week

First lady Laura Bush and U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings dropped into three schools along the Gulf Coast last week to encourage students, parents, and educators in a region where many people still cannot return to their homes or workplaces.
January 31, 2006 - Education Week

As students have returned to Alice M. Harte Elementary School here over the past month, they’ve found their old school far from the way they left it on the last school day before Hurricane Katrina devastated much of the city.
January 17, 2006 - Education Week

The U.S. Department of Education last week sent out the first installment—more than $250 million—in education aid to states affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, just days after President Bush signed the measure into law.
January 10, 2006 - Education Week

Four months after Hurricane Katrina wiped out large sections of New Orleans, an early outline of a newly configured school system is beginning to emerge—and it looks unlike any other district.
January 10, 2006 - Education Week

Children’s voices filled the hallways at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in New Orleans last week for the first time in three months, as the first regular city public school opened since Hurricane Katrina struck.
December 6, 2005 - Education Week

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have wreaked highly visible havoc on schools in the Gulf Coast region, but their impact in a more esoteric realm—school districts’ bonded debt—is just becoming clear. The picture that emerges could say a lot about those districts’ prospects for recovery.
December 6, 2005 - Education Week

While school districts still haven’t received any federal education aid from Congress to deal with the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the House has passed a measure that could ease education rules for Gulf Coast schools and others that have enrolled students displaced by the storms.
November 29, 2005 - Education Week

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which battered the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29 and led to breaches in the levees that protected New Orleans from the waters of Lake Pontchartrain, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, along with others in the Louisiana congressional delegation, has worked to funnel federal aid to the area for everything from job creation to K-12 education.
November 29, 2005 - Education Week

When Republicans bring a House budget measure that trims many federal programs, including some in education, to the floor this week, it won’t include a plan to aid schools taking in students displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
November 15, 2005 - Education Week

Now that almost all of the school districts that suffered damage from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have reopened, their leaders are scrambling to find the money to keep the districts solvent.
November 15, 2005 - Education Week

Devastated Gulf Coast districts have begun reopening schools and re-employing teachers who were displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. But with student-enrollment numbers changing daily, many administrators remain uncertain about how many teachers and other staff members they will need, at least initially.
November 15, 2005 - Education Week

Seeking to grasp what she called a “golden opportunity for rebirth” out of the wreckage of Hurricane Katrina, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco asked the Louisiana legislature last week to embrace a plan that would give the state control of most New Orleans public schools.
November 4, 2005 - Education Week

A recent order issued by the Federal Communications Commission seeks to help hundreds of schools affected by Hurricane Katrina restore their telecommunications through the federal E-rate program.
November 1, 2005 - Education Week

As many people and organizations jostle to play roles in the rebirth of the New Orleans public schools, worry is mounting that the process lacks a strong, central force to forge a coherent vision.
November 1, 2005 - Education Week

The New Orleans school board’s decision to open its first post-Hurricane Katrina group of 13 schools as charter schools was declared void last week by a local judge, who ruled that the panel’s vote violated the state’s open-meetings law.
November 1, 2005 - Education Week

A Republican plan to send hurricane aid to both public and private schools was defeated unexpectedly last week in the House education committee, after coming under attack as a voucher program in disguise.
November 1, 2005 - Education Week

With Louisiana’s revenues greatly reduced in the wake of two hurricanes, and thousands of students still displaced from their home districts, state lawmakers will meet this month to figure out how to distribute money for the remainder of the 2005-06 school year.
November 1, 2005 - Education Week

Thousands of Louisiana students who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina may not have enrolled in school anywhere, according to the state schools chief, and Louisiana is hard-pressed to keep track of students who have dispersed to almost every state in the country.
October 25, 2005 - Education Week

From elementary pupils cracking open their piggy banks to companies and foundations writing seven-figure checks, a flood of donations has reached schools and students affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which devastated parts of the Gulf Coast and the coast of Texas.
October 25, 2005 - Education Week

A judge has temporarily halted the move by the New Orleans school board to open all of its schools on the city’s West Bank as charter schools. She accused the plan’s leaders of exploiting the city’s vulnerability after Hurricane Katrina to advance their advocacy of charter schools without enough public input.
October 25, 2005 - Education Week

Congress continues to debate—and add to—a long list of proposals that would provide federal education aid to districts damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and others taking in students displaced by the storms. But the initial urgency for school aid appears to have stalled, and by late last week those proposals had made little progress.
October 25, 2005 - Education Week

The Department of Education’s acting assistant secretary for civil rights has spent part of every week in Mississippi ever since Hurricane Katrina swept across the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29.
October 18, 2005 - Education Week

Some 50 Teach For America teachers who lost their jobs because of the devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina should soon be back at work as managers in Louisiana’s recovery effort.
October 18, 2005 - Education Week

Private school administrators are trying to get on an equal footing with public schools when it comes to qualifying for money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to replace buildings and school materials damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
October 18, 2005 - Education Week

Congressional Republicans have proposed cutting some education programs to free up federal money for hurricane relief for schools. But Congress didn’t get any closer last week to approving a federal aid plan, so school districts continue to wait for such aid to flow to their schools.
October 18, 2005 - Education Week

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As their schools reopened weeks after Hurricane Katrina, students and teachers in Jefferson Parish, La., were realizing just how much their lives had changed.
October 18, 2005 - Education Week

Struggling to jump-start education in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the district school board has decided to reopen its first buildings not as regular public schools, but as charter schools.
October 14, 2005 - Education Week

Lots of hugs and stories were shared last week in the Archdiocese of New Orleans as students returned to class in 37 Roman Catholic schools that opened for the first time since Hurricane Katrina blasted the region six weeks ago.
October 11, 2005 - Education Week

Only one of the 11 independent schools in the greater New Orleans area that were affected by Hurricane Katrina has reopened, though most expect to reopen by January, private school leaders said last week.
October 11, 2005 - Education Week

After Hurricane Katrina flattened schools along the Gulf Coast and floodwaters swirled into classrooms, the Federal Emergency Management Agency did something it had never done before: It created strike teams of education experts to help schools in Louisiana and Mississippi.
October 11, 2005 - Education Week

House Republican education leaders released a proposal last week that they say would help schools and districts affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita by easing a number of federal restrictions.
October 11, 2005 - Education Week

With many Louisiana and Mississippi schools expected to open this week for the first time since Hurricane Katrina savaged the Gulf Coast, school leaders were working hard last week to prepare despite uncertainty over how many students would actually show up.
October 4, 2005 - Education Week

School districts in southwestern Louisiana and southeastern Texas were still struggling to assess damage, make repairs, and reopen nearly a week after Hurricane Rita swept ashore.
October 4, 2005 - Education Week

Houston school officials finally got the word from the Louisiana governor’s office at dusk on a humid Saturday evening: Start the buses. We need you.
October 4, 2005 - Education Week

The debate in Congress over the Bush administration’s idea of providing private school vouchers as part of its hurricane-relief efforts is heading in a new direction.
October 4, 2005 - Education Week

The two states that bore the brunt of Hurricane Katrina have started easing their K-12 testing and accountability policies to help students and districts recovering from the storm.
October 4, 2005 - Education Week

Gov. Sonny Perdue spent much of last week explaining to Georgia parents and school officials his unexpected, and perhaps unprecedented, decision to ask school districts not to open Sept. 26 and 27.
October 4, 2005 - Education Week

As schools torn apart by Hurricane Katrina look to rebuild, and districts welcoming displaced students wonder how to pay for their education, federal officials last week were still mulling options for providing aid to schools.
September 23, 2005 - Education Week

Mississippi legislators were scheduled to convene in a special session this week, and their Louisiana counterparts are expected to do so in the next month or so, as both states focus on issues of economic recovery and aid for coastal school districts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
September 23, 2005 - Education Week

State and local officials are slowly untangling complicated webs of accountability, testing, and graduation policies, hoping to give thousands of students displaced by Hurricane Katrina a better handle on their academic standing.
September 23, 2005 - Education Week

Washington is a safe distance from the powerful winds that have been wreaking havoc on the Gulf Coast, but a political storm continued to brew in the capital last week over President Bush’s plan to help pay the costs of private school tuition for students displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
September 23, 2005 - Education Week

Teachers who have been uprooted from their districts by Hurricane Katrina are facing a bewildering job market, waiting to hear when their schools will reopen as they ponder resettling to accept offers from far-flung locations.
September 23, 2005 - Education Week

In trying to reopen schools after Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans school board is contending not only with issues of money and safety, but also with more of the dissension and racially charged politics that have marked its business for years.
September 23, 2005 - Education Week

Educators across the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast are helping many thousands of student evacuees take part in sports and other aspects of campus life—activities that can help students and communities return to the rhythms of daily life.
September 16, 2005 - Education Week

The Bush administration is proposing up to $1.9 billion in federal aid to help school districts and charter schools that are enrolling some of the 300,000-plus students displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
September 16, 2005 - Education Week

As schools scrambled to absorb hundreds of thousands of students displaced by Hurricane Katrina, experts last week urged administrators to consider and plan for a host of academic and emotional issues that could come along with them.
September 16, 2005 - Education Week

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