charter schools

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.

Last week, the New Orleans school district became the first all-charter district in the country. NPR's Rachel Martin talks to Sarah Carr, a reporter who's been following the city's changing schools.

frwl / Wikimedia

A coalition of groups opposed to charter schools says it is filing federal civil rights complaints claiming discrimination by officials running school systems in New Orleans, Chicago and Newark, New Jersey.

Copies of the complaints were released today by the Journey for Justice Alliance. They say black students in the three cities suffer because of the closure of traditional public schools or the conversion of them into charter schools — run by independent organizations under charters approved by state or local education officials.

Mallory Falk

The Eastbank Collaborative of Charter Schools recently held its 8th Annual Charter School Teacher Fair. Hundreds of teachers from around the Gulf Coast came to interview for teaching positions.

New Orleans will soon become the first city with an all-charter school district, but the education landscape looks much different across the rest of Louisiana. Many parishes have few or no charter schools, but that's starting to change.

The Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools recently hosted Apply Yourself!, a three-day training for people who want to start charter schools. Most people at the training were not from New Orleans, and many are trying to start the first charter school in their parish.

Eve Abrams

The Black Alliance for Educational Options is a national organization, but in order to fulfill their mission — empowering low income and working-class Black families to increase high quality educational options for all black students — BAEO knows to work locally.