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  • Going to school in New Orleans in the early 2000s was dismal, with only one in

  • four children scoring at their standard grade level. The City School Board was so

  • corrupt that the FBI started an investigation and eventually put its

  • president and 30 others into jail. On top of this almost all of the teachers were

  • organized in unions. This ensured that even the worst teachers kept their job

  • for life. Idealistic educators and politicians tried to change the system

  • but their efforts were blocked by those in charge who did everything possible to

  • keep things as they were. Then things got worse. In 2005 Katrina, a massive

  • hurricane, struck the city and destroyed virtually everything including all

  • schools. As a result, everyone left the city. Kids stopped going to school. The

  • school board lost all of its funding and the teachers lost their jobs leading to

  • unions losing all of their members. It was a true disaster for everyone. In the

  • aftermath of Katrina politicians, bureaucrats and educators saw an

  • opportunity to finally bring change upon a system that had previously failed

  • so many kids in such a miserable way. Under the leadership of governor

  • Kathleen Blanco it was concluded that while they didn't know the best solution

  • they did know that the system had to be created using trial and error and

  • experimentation. They had an idea: Instead of running a top-down system of state

  • schools, their idea was to allow independent charter schools to take over.

  • Charters are schools that are fully state-funded, free of charge and run by

  • independent entrepreneurs who follow their mission. Charter schools hire their

  • own teachers and set up their own curriculums. They often even build their

  • own facilities and then compete with one another to attract new students. As a

  • result of this bold effort to reform a lot of philanthropists and nonprofit

  • organizations invested into New Orleans education and hundreds of charter

  • schools opened up. Parents and their children suddenly had a lot of choices

  • in picking schools aligned with their ideas regarding quality education. The

  • schools that didn't attract enough children closed down again.

  • in 2019, 15 years later, almost half of all students performed at grade level.

  • High school graduation rates increased and college outcomes became

  • significantly better. New Orleans had become the first large American city

  • that does not operate a single traditional public school. The story of

  • New Orleans schools shows what is possible when old structures break down

  • and people have no choice but to leave a damaged system. Good people who were

  • stuck in a bad system then get an opportunity to start fresh. Parents and

  • children have the opportunity to choose for themselves the type of schools that

  • they believe in. How are the schools organized in your country? Do you think

  • that a reform of that system would benefit the students? If so, what change

  • would you propose?

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  • language skills have improved strongly. I meet with a different class every

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Going to school in New Orleans in the early 2000s was dismal, with only one in

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B1 sprint orleans charter lingoda system language

The New Orleans Charter School Experiment

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    Summer posted on 2020/04/23
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