charter schools

Cypress Academy leaders shocked parents when they announced three days before the end of the school year that they won't be reopening in the fall.
Jess Clark / WWNO - New Orleans Public Radio

New Orleans charter school Cypress Academy may not close after all. On Tuesday afternoon, the Orleans Parish School Board announced it plans to take over operations at Cypress so the school can remain open for the 2018-2019 school year. The news follows parent outrage after Cypress gave parents three days notice the school would be closing at the end of this school year.

Cypress Academy leaders shocked parents when they announced three days before the end of the school year that they won't be reopening in the fall.
Jess Clark / WWNO - New Orleans Public Radio

On Sunday night, just three days before the end of the school year, Jenny Schecter got a text from a friend saying their kids' charter school, Cypress Academy, was closing.

"My husband and I opened up the computer, read the email, and I just immediately started crying," Schecter said. 

Race and Education in New Orleans traces the history of education back to 1764.
Courtesy of Walter C. Stern

When talking about the history of education in this New Orleans, school reformers often point to the problems in the school system in the decades before Hurricane Katrina: financial mismanagement, corruption and abysmal graduation rates. But one education researcher has recently written a book taking a longer view. 

Summer break is over. This month, kids across New Orleans are trading swimsuits and morning cartoons for fresh notebooks and unsharpened pencils. For nine schools that used to be in the state's Recovery School District, going back to the classroom also means going back to the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB). By next year, all Recovery schools will be back under parish control.


Charting New Orleans' charter school experiment

Aug 13, 2015
David Brancaccio and Katie Long

It's been 10-years since Hurricane Katrina and the flood-of-floods struck New Orleans. In the following decade, the city has transformed it public schools, housing, and business community. Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio traveled to the city to explore what these vast changes mean for New Orleans and the country. 

Mallory Falk / WWNO

Last month, Lagniappe Academies lost its charter due to allegations that it wasn't serving students with disabilities. The school will close this spring. Its leaders have stepped down — including the CEO and acting principal. Now a group of teachers and staff will take the helm.

About a dozen teachers and staff attended the school's board meeting last night and made a proposal: allow them to run Lagniappe. They laid out a detailed plan for closing out the year and closing down the school.

The charter school movement is built on the premise that increased competition among schools will sort the wheat from the chaff.

It seems self-evident that parents, empowered by choice, will vote with their feet for academically stronger schools. As the argument goes, the overall effect should be to improve equity as well: Lower-income parents won't have to send their kids to an under-resourced and underperforming school just because it is the closest one to them geographically.

A new guide to Louisiana charter school law came out on Friday. It's geared toward a specific group: charter school board members.

The legal handbook is a joint publication from Louisiana Appleseed and the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools (LAPCS). It lays out the basics for charter school board members — everything from general responsibilities to legal obligations.

Eve Abrams / WWNO

Encore Academy is a charter school, but it looks and feels more like the kind of public school many adults remember attending when they were kids. In today’s New Orleans, where the charter school landscape seems designed to combat lackluster academic achievement — and little else — it’s rare to see a school that values the arts as much as academics. So how does Encore Academy, a stand-alone charter school, manage to stand out?

The first thing you notice when you walk into Encore Academy’s cafeteria at lunch or breakfast is the sound of kids talking.

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