features

Paul Boger / Southern Education Desk

States across the US have increasingly been turning to charter schools in an effort to bolster struggling public school systems. Two of the most recent states to adopt the controversial form of education are Mississippi and Alabama. As part of the Southern Education Desk's series examining charter schools in the South, MPB's Paul Boger reports on how those states are adapting to the alternative form of public education. 

What do Louisiana’s statewide elected officials do when they’re off the clock?  Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain invited me out to Covington, to show me.

“The main building here is over 10,500 square feet now,” Strain said, as he looked fondly at Claiborne Hill Veterinary Hospital.

“How big was it when you started?” I asked.

“15-hundred,” he said, as we walked in the front doors.

“These are the original doors. Just think how many times they have open and closed for healing, over the past 31 years,” he said with a smile, as a parakeet in a cage on the front counter began to chatter at him.

Andre Natta / Southern Education Desk

Florida has about 650 charter schools. They're part of school districts but are privately managed and largely free of many of the rules governing traditional public schools. But as enrollment in charters has increased, so has the financial cost.

WFSU's Lynn Hatter reports for the Southern Education Desk that Tennessee and Georgia are also struggling to find ways to support their charter schools.

Amy Jeffries / Southern Education Desk

The big push for charter schools in Louisiana started after Hurricane Katrina. The state's Recovery School District took over most of the public schools in New Orleans, and quickly issued charters.

With charter school enrollment up to nearly 3 million nationwide last year, Louisiana was still among the states adding the most students.

Mallory Falk / WWNO

Charter schools are changing American education. Some say for the better, some say for the worse. This week the Southern Education Desk looks at the charter school movement throughout the south: the similarities and differences between states, and a glimpse at what's ahead. The series starts in New Orleans, the testing ground for the charter movement. Nearly all the city's public schools have been converted into charters: publicly funded, but privately run. Since then, a major lesson has emerged.

Jon Cleary's songwriting is pure New Orleans. The pianist and singer has absorbed every last bit of sound from the Mississippi delta. But here's the thing: Cleary was born and raised in England.

Roux Radio 8/14

Aug 14, 2015

In this episode of Roux Radio: understanding our mild hurricane season, dropping in on a back yard concert, challenging the two-party system and more.


Driving down Capitol Heights in Mid-City a few weeks back, I saw a sign in front of a house. It was...a colorful sign, to say the least, and what it said intrigued me: "Live Music - Friday - 6:30 to 8:30." I decided to check it out, and what I found was not what I expected.

“It’s a neighborhood event,"  said David Henson, leader of the Adult Music Club of Baton Rouge. "It’s not really like a music venue, like a club show or anything like that where there’s going to be a crowd of rowdy people, or anything like that; but I do like (it) – this is a pretty good little house.”


Executive director of Our Daily Bread Food Bank in Hammond, Myrna Jordan, stands in front of pallets of food in the warehouse. The food is distributed to 25 sites throughout the Tangipahoa Parish every week.
Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Tangipahoa Parish’s poverty level, 19 percent, is well above the state and national average. While officials speculate as to why the rate is so high, many social service groups on the Northshore are just trying to help. One of the biggest challenges for struggling families is food access.

Our Daily Bread Food Bank is working to prevent food from being thrown away and get it to the people who need it most.

St. Bernard Parish from the air.
Jesse Hardman

A coalition of wetlands restoration advocates are using the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina to push their cause, rebuilding marsh along the Mississippi Delta. The MRGO Must Go Coalition wants to remind local residents that Hurricane Katrina’s impact was largely due to environmental degradation caused by private and public entities.

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