The End of Public Schools in New Orleans

When school starts again in the fall, New Orleans will be an all-charter system, the first in the country.

Kindergartners smile on their first day of school at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School for Science and Technology in the Lower 9th Ward August 20, 2007 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Mario Tama AFP/Getty
Janell Ross
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Janell Ross
June 2, 2014, 12:11 p.m.

Here’s a roundup of the edu­ca­tion art­icles that caught Next Amer­ica’s eye from May 27 to June 1. All ad­dress trends that par­tic­u­larly af­fect minor­ity stu­dents.

The march to­ward uni­ver­sal pre-K con­tin­ues, a few hours at a time. As cit­ies and states around the coun­try make room for more chil­dren in whole and half-day pre-K classrooms, Ver­mont has just ap­proved what of­fi­cials there are re­fer­ring to as a uni­ver­sal pre-K bill. Ver­mont Gov. Peter Shum­lin signed a bill in­to law Wed­nes­day guar­an­tee­ing every 3- and 4-year-old in the state a min­im­um of 10 hours each week in a pre-K classroom. The classroom time in pub­lic or private non­pa­ro­chi­al schools se­lec­ted by par­ents will be pub­licly fin­anced and free of charge to Ver­mont fam­il­ies. Val­ley News/ The As­so­ci­ated Press

When charter schools are the only pub­lic schools. When the 2013/2014 school year came to an end in New Or­leans last week, so did most of the city’s re­main­ing tra­di­tion­al pub­lic schools. When school re­opens in Au­gust, only five schools will op­er­ate un­der su­per­vi­sion of the loc­al school board, ac­cord­ing to The New York Times. Most of the city’s schools will be run by 40 dif­fer­ent charter-school or­gan­iz­a­tions. Since Hur­ricane Kat­rina, about 90 per­cent of the city’s over­whelm­ingly black stu­dent pop­u­la­tion have been moved in­to or op­ted to at­tend charter schools. NPR

School lunches free to be­come un­healthy again. A House budget pan­el passed an ap­pro­pri­ations bill last Thursday that will al­low dis­tricts to opt out of school-nu­tri­tion rules that since 2012 have re­quired cafet­er­i­as to of­fer more fruits and ve­get­ables and re­duce the amount of salt and fat in food of­fer­ings. The School Nu­tri­tion As­so­ci­ation cheered the move, ac­cord­ing to The New York Times. The as­so­ci­ation ac­cepts fund­ing from food com­pan­ies that ini­tially op­posed the changes in school food stand­ards. About 32 mil­lion chil­dren — all of them from low- to mod­er­ate-in­come fam­il­ies and many of them black or Latino — par­ti­cip­ate in school break­fast and lunch pro­grams each day. The New York Times/ Edu­ca­tion Week

Wanted: more learn­ing time and more money in high-poverty schools. The Amer­ic­an Civil Liber­ties Uni­on has filed a class-ac­tion suit against the state of Cali­for­nia al­leging that many of the state’s high-poverty schools do not of­fer stu­dents enough class time to suc­ceed. Among the named plaintiffs is a Los Angeles stu­dent who de­scribed a class sched­ule that one year in­cluded four “home peri­ods.” Dur­ing “home peri­ods,” stu­dents are ex­pec­ted to re­turn home and re­main there un­til their next class. While the ACLU’s suit chal­lenges the fun­da­ment­al fair­ness of what is hap­pen­ing in some of the state’s most im­pov­er­ished schools, states ordered by courts to in­crease school spend­ing in poor com­munit­ies have seen a range of pos­it­ive out­comes, ac­cord­ing to a new ana­lys­is re­leased by the Na­tion­al Bur­eau of Eco­nom­ic Re­search. The study found that in these school dis­tricts, low-in­come chil­dren “were sig­ni­fic­antly more likely to gradu­ate from high school, earn liv­able wages, and avoid poverty in adult­hood.” NPR/ Edu­ca­tion Week

Com­mon-core op­pos­i­tion grows. A wave of state op­pos­i­tion to the com­mon core — a set of aca­dem­ic stand­ards for K-12 stu­dents ad­op­ted by 46 states and the Dis­trict of Columbia — ap­pears to be build­ing. Gov­ernors in Ok­lahoma and South Car­o­lina are con­sid­er­ing bills ap­proved by each state’s le­gis­lature that would elim­in­ate the com­mon core. And the Mis­souri Le­gis­lature has passed a bill com­pel­ling of­fi­cials to de­vel­op state spe­cif­ic stand­ards in the next two years. The com­mon core once en­joyed bi­par­tis­an sup­port but has be­come the sub­ject of in­creas­ing con­tro­versy as the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has taken steps to en­cour­age states to im­ple­ment the stand­ards. Re­pub­lic­an state of­fi­cials have ar­gued that the com­mon core amounts to a fed­er­al edu­ca­tion takeover. The New York Times

Stu­dent data for sale. One com­pany’s plans to sell off the stu­dent data col­lec­ted by Con­nec­tEDU while provid­ing ca­reer-de­vel­op­ment web­sites has drawn the at­ten­tion of fed­er­al law­makers and reg­u­lat­ors. Some 20 mil­lion stu­dents lis­ted all man­ner of per­son­al in­form­a­tion on Con­nec­tEDU sites, in­clud­ing their aca­dem­ic ac­com­plish­ments and activ­it­ies, in­terests, and résumés be­fore the com­pany ran out of fin­an­cial steam. Of­fi­cials at the Fed­er­al Trade Com­mis­sion made con­tact with the bank­ruptcy judge over­see­ing Con­nec­tEDU ‘s case after the com­pany in­dic­ated in court doc­u­ments that it planned to sell stu­dent data. Fed­er­al reg­u­lat­ors have sug­ges­ted that stu­dents who lis­ted in­form­a­tion on a Con­nec­tEDU site should have the op­tion to re­move it be­fore the data is sold, or that the data it­self should be des­troyed. The New York Times

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