For the last four years The New Orleans Imperative has played a critical role in educating parents, citizens, legislators, teachers, and staff on the performance, accountability, and equity issues facing students in the state takeover of public schools post-Katrina.
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Since the state takeover of public schools in New Orleans, the Recovery School District has closed numerous neighborhood schools. Many of these schools were closed over community objection and knowledge, the Recovery School District actions has been a nightmare for communities across the city. Recently the Recovery Schools District has decided closed a ninth ward elementary school for the third time post Hurricane Katrina, closure of this school has sent parents scrambling to find a school for their child. Kenisha Nelson a parent from May’s Charter School and Karran Harper Royal discusses the latest Recovery School District failure in providing quality schools to all children.
There has been an extraordinary amount of media coverage of the unfound success of the education reforms (charter schools) in New Orleans. The corporate reforms PR machine has also been successful at ignoring the traditional schools under the control of the locally elected school board. After Hurricane Katrina and the state takeover of more than 100 schools, Orleans Parish School Board was left with it best performing schools (many of which had admission requirements). These schools reopened as charters and traditional run schools. The traditional run schools with admission requirements lowered standards accepted all students. Ignored and unnoticed these traditional schools has emerged as one of the most highly rated school district in the state.
At his New Orleans event, John Merrow admitted that he knew that New Orleans charter schools can have selective admission requirements, but chose not to reveal this in his film, “REBIRTH- New Orleans.i” The film cites the accomplishments of the New Orleans charter school movement, while neglecting to disclose that several New Orleans charter schools have selective admission and retention requirements, allowing the schools to educate only students who are not at-risk.
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