charter schools

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, much has been rebuilt in New Orleans — including the public schools. But the current education system is radically different from the one that people who grew up in New Orleans remember. Virtually all students in the city now attend charter schools. Many of their teachers are both new to New Orleans and new to teaching.

It's a Saturday morning, and school marching bands are playing for a crowd. But they're not in a Mardi Gras parade. They're in the Superdome, where 120 schools are set up at long tables, putting their best faces forward and trying to recruit families.

One gives on-the-spot instrument lessons, another is showing off it's step team.

The charter school movement is built on the premise that increased competition among schools will sort the wheat from the chaff.

It seems self-evident that parents, empowered by choice, will vote with their feet for academically stronger schools. As the argument goes, the overall effect should be to improve equity as well: Lower-income parents won't have to send their kids to an under-resourced and underperforming school just because it is the closest one to them geographically.

NPR Ed is updating readers on some of the top stories we've been following in 2014.

All this year, NPR Ed has been exploring the dramatic changes to the New Orleans school system, where more than nine out of ten children attend charter schools, most run by the state Recovery School District.

Starting this past spring, parents in Indianapolis; Troy, Mich.; Jacksonville and Tampa, Fla.; and Houston, Texas, heard about a new option for their children's last two years of high school.

In each city, a charter school called Early Career Academy planned to offer students the chance to earn associate degrees, either in network systems administration or software development, alongside their high school diplomas. Students were offered laptops to work on and ebooks to use. All for free.

In New Orleans, schools have long struggled to provide for students with physical, emotional and mental disabilities. Even before Hurricane Katrina, many parents had to fight for extra help. But many say things have only gotten harder since the city's public school district shifted almost entirely to charter schools.

The New Vocabulary Of Urban Education

Oct 17, 2014

Once upon a time, most kids attended things called schools to get an education. And, in those schools, these kids were called students.

Well, times are changing — especially in urban areas with lots of charter schools. In New Orleans, where just about every school receiving public funding is now a charter, we asked a bunch of adults where they had gone to school.

Their answers: Newton Elementary and Newton High School, Warren Easton High School, Epiphany School, Folsom Elementary School, Valena C. Jones School and the Moses Brown School.

This year, NPR Ed is reporting on the dramatic changes in the New Orleans school system.

All startups face big hurdles. But when you're a startup school in one of America's poorest cities, without deep-pocket backers, the challenges are daunting.

Oscar Brown is a New Orleans native. He grew up in the Desire housing project, a little over a mile west of his current home in a neighborhood ravaged by the storm that struck nearly a decade ago.

A new guide to Louisiana charter school law came out on Friday. It's geared toward a specific group: charter school board members.

Former Assistant U.S. Education Secretary under President George H. W. Bush, Diane Ravitch joins us as our first guest of the week to talk with Jim about public schools in Louisiana. Being a long time opponent of charter schools and openly stating that she believes they are destroying America's public schools, Diane expresses her distaste with Common Core, Governor Bobby Jindal, and the Charter School system in New Orleans. She and Jim also take a little time to promote her most recent book Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools

GOP Political Consultant and frequent guest on the show Scott Wilfong follows up Diane for the second part of today's show to discuss the November elections which are now less than seven weeks away. He and Jim discuss the Louisiana 2nd District creeping in closer to Baton Rouge, Mary Landrieu and the recent hoopla over her travel expenditures and residency; and much, much more.

Also, Lisa Guernsey closes out Monday's show to promote and discuss her latest book Screen Time: How Electronic Media - From Baby Videos to Educational Software - Affects Your Young Child. As a mother of two young daughters Lisa wondered what television, videos, and digital media in general was doing to her children, and her book is the end result of her resolve to find out. Her 2012 edition and re-release of Screen Time features an updated epilogue on what scientists know so far about children's ebooks, interactive preschool media, and more. Lisa will be in Baton Rouge this Thursday September 18th to speak at the Distinguished Speakers Series hosted by the Academic Distinction Fund at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.


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