ERIC Number: EJ759559
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Sep-21
Reference Count: N/A
New Orleans Eyed as Clean Educational Slate
Robelen, Erik W.
Education Week, v25 n4 p1, 22-23 Sep 2005
New Orleans will probably never be the same after Hurricane Katrina. But when it comes to schools, many educators and analysts say that might not be all bad. Both in Louisiana and beyond, the wreckage in the Big Easy has sparked thinking about how the city might reinvent its beleaguered school system, in difficult straits long before the storm was but a gentle sea breeze. Clearly, New Orleans has many urgent needs, with so much of the city still drying out from flooding brought on by the hurricane. But as those priorities were being attended, education thinkers were contemplating a different future for a district that the state already considered in both academic and financial crisis. Within Louisiana, education leaders also were starting to voice hopes last week that some good might emerge from the destruction. The 60,000-student district, which serves mostly African-American children from low-income families, has faced a mountain of difficulties. For starters, the district has been unable to keep a schools chief for long, with heavy turnover in recent years. Under Louisiana's accountability system, New Orleans was ranked as the state's lowest-performing district in the most recent ratings. With the flooding caused by breaches in the city's levees after Katrina struck, the bulk of New Orleans' 126 public schools were severely damaged, with more than half needing to be replaced, the state has estimated. Among other opinions brought to the forefront on this issue, Brigitte P. Nieland, the director of education for the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, said the district's future "needs to be approached from a student-focused, rather than a bureaucracy-focused," perspective. "Everything should be built around that, rather than contracts and employee demands and all the things that serve adults," she said.
Descriptors: Natural Disasters, Weather, Educational Finance, Accountability, Public Schools, Educational Change, World Views, Facility Improvement, Strategic Planning
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Louisiana