To the Editor:
The opinion essay by Douglas N. Harris about how New Orleans’ education reforms post-Katrina are relevant to the COVID-19 era (“As Schools Recover After COVID-19, Look to New Orleans,” Sept. 30, 2020) highlights some basic improvements in the NOLA system but downplays the most significant aspects of those changes: the impact on people of color.
As stated in the essay, about 75 percent of teachers were Black and were dismissed. The system was given over to charter “leaders” from the state-run Recovery School District, who then implanted inexperienced teachers into a very needy system. This inadequate staff was placed with students who needed the best trained and most instructionally empathetic people in their classrooms.
The improvements, which are themselves debatable, came at a high cost that Professor Harris renders relatively minor. I wonder what those folks displaced by outsiders have to say about this?
Baltimore Curriculum Project
A version of this article appeared in the November 18, 2020 edition of Education Week as Are NOLA Charters a Mixed Bag?