School Choice & Charters

Charters & Choice News Roundup: The New Orleans Edition

By Arianna Prothero — April 03, 2015 2 min read
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New Orleans has been the focus of a lot of discussion lately as the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina nears—the event that triggered a mass conversion of the city’s regular public schools into charters. And a decade later, the storm is still affecting New Orleans students, as Katy Reckdahl reported this week for the Hechinger Report and The Atlantic.

A crystal ball...

What will New Orleans’ public school system look like in the future? Probably in no other city is that question up for as much debate and speculation as it is in New Orleans, where oversight of the city’s schools are divided disproportionately between a state-run district and a local school district.

This week, Henderson Lewis Jr., the new superintendent of the Orleans Parish School Board—the long-troubled local district that now oversees only a handful of charter and traditional schools—discussed his predictions with the New Orleans Advocate:

He intends to run a "portfolio" district, a popular term nationally for the new paradigm in which a central office exists to authorize new schools and hold them accountable, rather than to manage them day to day. In fact, he thinks the OPSB central office may need downsizing. But in an hourlong interview during a tour of schools now under his watch, Lewis made it clear that his overarching aim is create a district that will be ready for the day when the state no longer runs schools in New Orleans."

Ripe for research...

New Orleans’ embrace of charter schools and school choice is unprecedented in the U.S. in its scale, and the Education Research Alliance of New Orleans based out of Tulane University is devoted to studying this new era in the Crescent City’s education system. ERA has also launched a blog on Education Week where it will be sharing its research. You can check it out here.

A new trend?

Meanwhile, across Louisiana, one type of school choice is on the rise while another declines...

Who home schools anyway?

Josh Raulerson with Pittsburgh’s NPR member station, profiles a home schooling family there and busts some myths about home school stereotypes and demographics.

Straight from the statehouse...

The Arizona legislature passed a bill making students living on Indian reservations eligible for its education savings account program— a new kind of voucher-like program that Arizona pioneered and has since been adopted in Florida. The Mississippi legislature passed an ESA bill last week. The Arizona bill now heads to the governor. Meanwhile, a tax-credit scholarship bill has been okayed by the Nevada Assembly, and a bill to create school vouchers in Tennessee passed the state’s Senate, but the House version was amended to delay the promgram start date by a year.

And now for the kicker...

Back in 1998, Education Week ran an article on what some thought would be the next big thing in the charter school movement: workplace embedded charter schools.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.