Mallory Falk

Education Reporter

Mallory Falk is the Education Reporter for WWNO. She fell in love with audio storytelling as a Middlebury Fellow in Narrative Journalism and studied radio production at the Transom Story Workshop. Before taking the plunge into radio, Mallory worked as Communications Director for the youth leadership organization Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools. She has taught radio in New Orleans middle schools and led youth media programs in Rwanda and Appalachia.

Mallory Falk / WWNO

The Orleans Parish School Board approved a plan to reunify New Orleans public schools. That is, transfer Recovery School District charters back to the local school board. But this isn’t a return to the old system. It’s a new model for governing schools.

First, some background. This spring, the state passed a law that requires all 49 RSD charters to move back to the OPSB by 2018. Now the local school board will oversee these schools, rather than the state. Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. told the press he's excited about the change.

Mallory Falk / WWNO

For many local college students, the last few days of August were supposed to be spent moving into dorms. But heavy rains and floods around Baton Rouge have put a hold on those plans.

Mallory Falk / WWNO

Over 90% of New Orleans public school students attend charters. But there are still six traditional public schools, run directly by the Orleans Parish School Board. They came together at McDonogh 35 Senior High School to kick off the school year.

Like any good New Orleans event, the OPSB convocation started out with a second line. Each school had a turn parading down McDonogh's gleaming front hall. Teachers shook bells, waved umbrellas and performed school cheers.

OPSB oversees 28 schools, but it only directly runs six. Those are the ones here today.

The special legislative session is over. A budget deal has been reached. And changes are in store for TOPS, the state's college scholarship program.

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.

When it comes to child well-being in the U.S., Louisiana ranks near the bottom: 48th. That's according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The results of the annual report are, sadly, not shocking. "We have historically always ranked at least in the bottom five states in overall child well-being, so unfortunately that wasn't a big surprise," says Teresa Falgoust. She's with Agenda for Children, which contributed local data to the national report. It looks at trends in data between 2008 and 2014.

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.

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