Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has a very different educational landscape, and it's one that many students, parents, and educators are unhappy about. A recent conference sent out a strong warning to other cities that "relinquishment" reform policies, in which the state takes over local school districts and replaces "failing" public schools with chartered ones, hurts children and communities—and, unfortunately, these takeovers are spreading rapidly across the country.
The conference brought together parents, students, local education activists, educators, and organizers from other districts where takeover reforms have already been implemented or proposed. Presenters shared both their experiences and new research about with the closing of neighborhood schools and subsequent takeovers, teacher's unions, inequity and segregation in charters, harsh discipline practices, and charter school accountability. They showed the locally produced documentary, "A Perfect Storm: The Takeover of New Orleans Public Schools." The film aptly demonstrates how this charter takeover managed to occur, and why parents and students are so opposed to it.
The conference in New Orleans was also supplemented by a lively twitter discussion, under #NOLAedwarning—check out some of the tweets shared below! You can also go here and here for articles on the conference.
Disenfranchised families in charterized school districts across the country compare notes - knowledge is power. #NOLAedWarning— Lyn Hoyt (@lynhoyt) August 5, 2015
Parent: My kids are in their 4th school, and they're 7 and 8 years old. This is education in NOLA today. #NOLAedWarning— Amy Frogge (@AmyFrogge) August 5, 2015