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Over a Decade Later, New Orleans Could Soon Return to Being a Locally Controlled District

Over a Decade Later, New Orleans Could Soon Return to Being a Locally Controlled District

Following the devastation that required unprecedented action in the wake Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has served as a leading example of education reform after improving student achievement quickly after the disaster.

By “inviting charter operators into the state and working with the decreased population of New Orleans post-Katrina, the [recently-created Recovery School District] helped New Orleans’ public schools vastly improve,” said American Enterprise Institute.

In "2014, across the district, student math and reading average scores went up by 28 and 26 points, respectively; the district moved from 68 percent of its schools receiving an ‘F' from the state department of education to only 10 percent; and the Orleans Parish district improved from being the second-worst district in the state to the middle of the pack.”

Now, Louisiana lawmakers are debating legislation that would re-unify the school district by having the the Orleans Parish School Board take over control of the district’s schools once again.

The 74 notes that while the bill has been moving along quietly, opposition to the proposition does exist, and that the stakes have never been higher.

If this legislation passes and New Orleans successfully implements it, The 74 says the district will serve as a model for districts everywhere on how to balance both freedom and accountability.

"Districts across the country are exploring different ways of balancing community oversight with core standards,” The 74 says.

"If the plan works, New Orleans could lead the way in demonstrating how to achieve this balance.”

The bill is waiting to be passed by the state’s House of Representatives, after which the state’s Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to sign it.

Read the full story.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

5/9/2016

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