In August of this year, NSNO released our report Ten Years in New Orleans: Public School Resurgence and the Path Ahead.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting some of our key findings.
Like urban districts across the country, New Orleans needs more great schools to meet the needs of its student population, one that is overwhelmingly composed of low-income students of color. Unlike other cities, New Orleans will not look to a central district bureaucracy to meet this challenge.
This responsibility will be shared by a growing constellation of public charter schools, which serve 9 of 10 public school students today. These charter school organizations are tasked with accelerating academic improvement, educating a growing student population, and diversifying the options and programming offered to New Orleans families.
This is a homegrown movement. Of the nearly 90 charters that are operating in 2015–16, only eight have any national affiliation.
This is also a movement that gives families real choice. New Orleans parents have an array of options—including International Baccalaureate, arts-focused, language immersion, and blended learning.
Academic performance has improved significantly with this transition to a predominately charter school system—particularly among the students that were once consigned to Louisiana’s lowest-performing campuses. Despite these improvements, too many New Orleans charter schools do not yet adequately prepare all students for college and careers. There is much work to be done.