schools

Morris Jeff Community School was the first New Orleans charter to form a union, in 2013. But its teachers operated without a contract. Until now.

Mallory Falk / WWNO

This school year, two high profile New Orleans charter schools attempted to form unions. One voted yes: International High School. One voted no: Lusher Charter School. In light of those votes, teachers around the city shared their perspective on unions since Katrina and where things might go from here.

William Widmer / Slate

The New Orleans teaching force changed dramatically after Hurricane Katrina, when all public school teachers were laid off. They were mostly black, veteran educators from the area. Now, teachers are more likely to be young, white and to have grown up outside New Orleans.

Mallory Falk / WWNO

Teachers at International High School of New Orleans voted in favor of a union on Friday.

Employees gathered behind closed doors to hear the final count. Some wore buttons that said, simply, yes. Others wore T-shirts with bold text on the back: If you can read, thank a teacher. If you cannot, thank a teacher's union.

Mallory Falk / WWNO

Something big has been decided about New Orleans schools. And it seemed to happen pretty fast. Governor John Bel Edwards has now signed legislation ordering that all New Orleans schools return to the control of the Orleans Parish School Board. But not nearly as much control as that board had before Katrina. Things will look very different than they did a decade ago.

Mallory Falk / WWNO

Teachers at Lusher Charter School voted against joining a union.

The final vote was 54 in favor of the union and 77 against. A smaller group of paraprofessionals also voted separately, with eight for, five against and three challenged votes.

Mallory Falk / WWNO

This school year there's been a lot of talk about how to fund special education, as the Recovery School District and Orleans Parish School Board move toward a unified funding formula. But what actually happens inside a special education classroom?

Asha Lane, high school senior.
Cheryl Gerber / Unprisoned

Asha Lane is an 18-year-old senior at the International High School of New Orleans, a charter high school. Asha wanted to find out why New Orleans charter schools don’t always feel nurturing. We live in a dangerous city, but when does security feel unsafe?

Courtesy

This spring, families who applied to New Orleans public schools got some bad news. School placements were announced a week late. Why was that such a big deal? Many private school deposits were due. Families had to decide: pay up to reserve a seat or take a chance with the public charter school lottery, OneApp. More New Orleans families - those with enough resources - find themselves choosing between public and private education.

Jeneane Watson always assumed she’d send her kids to public school. That was the norm where she grew up, outside Baltimore.

The House Education Committee approved a bill that would return all Recovery School District charters to the Orleans Parish School Board.

Under current law, charter schools can decide whether or not to move back once they've met certain benchmarks. The new legislation would require all schools to return, by 2019 at the latest. It would reunify the city's public school system, bringing 52 RSD charters back under local control.

The bill passed the House Education Committee 11 to 2 on Wednesday. Now it goes before the full House.

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