Rebirth of New Orleans schools

REBIRTH: New Orleans, a Learning Matters documentary on the post-Katrina transformation of New Orleans’ schools, is looking for Kickstarter funding to pay for “sound mixing, color correction, animation, graphic design, line editing, and building a website for the film.”

In 2004, not even one-third of 8th graders in New Orleans could pass a state reading test.  In some schools, the number was lower – just 4 percent.

Since then New Orleans public schools have been transformed.  Test scores have risen steadily outpacing every other district in Louisiana.  Graduation rates are up, dropout rates are down.

. . . Today the city is 80% on its way to becoming the nation’s first all-charter school district, perhaps a future model for the nation.

Here’s more on the documentary from John Merrow.

About Joanne


  1. Ecclesiastes says:

    The 80% figure was for 2004. Katrina was in 2005.

    Katrina reduced the New Orleans population by a third, mostly by flooding lower income areas and driving those people out.

    Sorry. The two data sets are so different that they can’t be compared. This story is NOLA public schools lying with statistics to the hopeful and forgetful.

    Why would they do this?

    This story is presented as Louisiana takes it’s first steps with state wide voucher programs. Charter schools need to make sure the Catholic schools of 50 odd years ago don’t reappear.

    • The do “this” because worthwhile comparisons can be made between the pre- and post-Katrina New Orleans public education environment. If the comparison isn’t precise enough to suit an honest academic it’s precise enough to draw conclusions for those who aren’t quite so demanding.

      Are the kids getting a better education? Are the schools safer? That’s good enough even if there are factors which, for scholarly purposes aren’t being accounted for.

      And the only things charter schools *need* to do is educate kids and keep them safe. I’m not an opponent of Catholic schools but worrying about their existence isn’t a task on the charter school to-do list.

      • If the only relevant points of comparison between then and now are “Are the kids getting a better education? Are the schools safer?”, why limit the comparison by geography? Unless you’re driven by ideology over fact, the facts do remain relevant.

        • Why don’t you float that notion by some New Orleans mommy or daddy whose life was blighted by the rotten New Orleans school district, to which they must now send their child, and see the response you get?

          If you’re indifferent to their concerns and perceptions then you’re driven by ideology over facts.