The traditional education model of public schools can be changed and re-thought. In New Orleans case, it took a disaster to make it happen but it does give us a different model to look at. I’m sure it isn’t perfect but some of the results are worth considering.
Grade 3 to 8 students passing the standardized state test went from 28 percent in 2008 to 57 percent in 2013, more than a 100 percent improvement, while high school graduation rate in the city increased by over 50 percent, from 55.4 percent to 77.8 percent, between 2004 and 2012. The graduation rate in the city is higher than the state’s average, not something you see in many states.
Ten years ago Hurricane Katrina struck the city and nearly wiped it off the map. Despite the unpreparedness of public authorities, rampant corruption and scandalous waste, something positive did come out of the disaster.
New Orleans quickly became the first city in the country to have 100 percent charter schools within its city limits. While it did come at a heavy price for some–all 7,000, mostly African-American and unionized teachers were fired–the results for students and their parents have been astounding.