Katrina’s silver lining: New Orleans school choice revolution

December 20, 2010

Education

By Amy McCullough

Watch the movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P12pgeV8ZQM&feature=youtube_gdata

Before hurricane Katrina ravaged the city in 2005, New Orleans had one of the worst performing public school districts in the nation. Katrina forced nearly a million people to leave their homes and caused almost $100 billion in damages. To an already failing public school system, the storm seemed to provide the final deathblow. But then something amazing happened. In the wake of Katrina, education reformers decided to seize the opportunity and start fresh with a system based on choice.

Today, New Orleans has the most market-based school system in the U.S. Sixty percent of New Orleans students currently attend charter schools, test scores are up, and talented and passionate educators from around the country are flocking to New Orleans to be a part of the education revolution. It’s too early to tell if the New Orleans experiment in school choice will succeed over the long term, but for the first time in decades people are optimistic about the future of New Orleans schools.

Source: Mississippi Center for Public Policy

Contact education reporter Amy McCullough at amy.mccullough@msbusiness.com.

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