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Educational Delusions?Why Choice Can Deepen Inequality and How to Make Schools Fair$
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Gary Orfield and Erica Frankenberg

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520274730

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520274730.001.0001

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The State of Public Schools in Post-Katrina New Orleans

The State of Public Schools in Post-Katrina New Orleans

The Challenge of Creating Equal Opportunity

(p.159) 8 The State of Public Schools in Post-Katrina New Orleans
Educational Delusions?

Baris Gumus-Dawes

Thomas Luce

Myron Orfield

University of California Press

Charter schools in New Orleans have been hailed as the silver lining to Hurricane Katrina. The state of Louisiana used the hurricane as an opportunity to rebuild the entire New Orleans public school system, which had been considered among the worst in the nation. They also launched the nation’s most extensive charter school experiment. The reorganization of the city’s schools has created an incredibly complex system of school authorities. The new system steers a minority of students, including virtually all of the city’s white students, into a set of selective, higher—performing schools and steers another group, including most of the city’s students of color, into a group of lower—performing schools. In order to guarantee equal educational opportunities to all of the city’s students, the school system must both look inward (limiting the selectivity system that favors a few schools and renewing its commitment to the city’s traditional public schools), and outward (taking a more balanced, regional approach to school choice by enhancing options for its students in the form of regional magnet schools and new interdistrict programs, which do not yet exist).

Keywords:   New Orleans schools, charter schools, segregation, school choice, student performance

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