Half of the New Orleans teachers who were fired in the post-Katrina reorganization of that district never returned to teach in Louisiana public schools, according to a study from the Education Research Alliance at Tulane University.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, thousands of New Orleans teachers were dismissed after Louisiana lawmakers voted to turn over all but a handful of the city’s schools to the state-run Recovery School District. The Recovery District eventually converted the schools into public charters.
The new study makes the case that the shift not only fundamentally altered how the city’s schools are run, but also upended a profession that had launched thousands of black New Orleanians into the middle class. Seventy-one percent of the pre-Katrina teaching force in New Orleans was composed of African-American women. By 2007, the researchers said, many of the 4,300 teachers who had left the school system were largely replaced by younger, less experienced teachers who also tended to be white and from out of state.
A version of this article appeared in the June 07, 2017 edition of Education Week as Teachers