Proponents of charter schools in New Orleans have a refrain: charters mean more choice, for kids and families. But most of the charter schools in New Orleans are based on a similar educational model — one marked by rigidity and a relentless focus on getting into college.
The Common Core standards teach classroom fundamentals in new ways, with a goal of deeper understanding. Sarah Carr, who covers education for the Hechinger Report, has followed the adjustment to Common Core in Louisiana, including at Belle Chase Primary in Plaquemines Parish.
WWNO News Director Eve Troeh talked with Sarah Carr about how parents feel the Common Core changes, as they help their children with homework.
When I tell people I’m a high school teacher in New Orleans, they look at me like I’m a few inches taller than I was before. They look at me like I’m a saint, but if they heard how hard I laughed at things I shouldn’t, they wouldn’t assume I was so pious. This past week one of students in AP Language and Composition said Drake was the type of rapper who wears a pad when his girlfriend gets her period so he can feel her pain. Inappropriate? Definitely, but it’s lighthearted compared to the vitriol I used to spit at my teachers.
When a group of Mid-City residents proposed opening a school four years ago that would be racially and economically diverse, they were greeted with doubt. Skeptics thought Morris Jeff would end up like most other public schools in the city: almost entirely African American and low-income.
“The understanding (was) that you guys are delusional. Once the school is open (it) will look the same way that all public schools who are open access look,” said Celeste Lofton-Bagert, one of the founders.
Eve Abrams has been chronicling Akili Academy, an open enrollment charter school now in its sixth year. This week, she reports on Akili Academy’s new-to-them building, and the issue of school real estate city-wide.
Akili Academy has always been a school of trailers, sitting in Gentilly. Until this year. The K-8th grade charter school has opened its doors in a permanent building.
Just a few blocks from the intersection of Napolean and Magazine Streets is an unassuming yellow shotgun house. From the street there is no way to know this is a school — a very special school.
Inside and down the hall is the elementary school of the Chartwell Center, a nonprofit dedicated to serving children with autism spectrum disorders. In one of the two classrooms, Hayden and Matt — ages 8 and 9 — go over a recipe for a drink called Sunset Juice with their two teachers.
In New Orleans, it's cool to be in the high school band — especially when Trombone Shorty shows up in the band room.
The brass player and bandleader recently paid a visit to New Orleans' Warren Easton High School to work with band members. It's part of his work with the Trombone Shorty Foundation, a music education initiative.
"[Trombone Shorty] is, without a doubt, the role model for the next generation right now," says Bill Taylor, the foundation's executive director.