New Orleans post Katrina has been up and down. New Levies were built to replace the ones that failed. The former Mayor went to prison for corruption. The Saints won a Super Bowl. The city lost 200,000 in population. Through all of this-- The school system was deplorable, even before the storm.
But for the decade since Katrina, New Orleans has formed a network of charter schools that have showed an amazing level of progress; this is not the sort of success that establishment types will celebrate, though. So the article that came out this weekend celebrating the successes of New Orleans charter schools will not receive much notice, sadly. It will be ignored, and if brought up, the person mentioning this success will be castigated by the establishment types, and the results will be questioned in not outright rebuked.
But Statistics and numbers don't lie....
From Urban Education Reform: New Orleans Proves Charter Schools Can Work:
"In a short period of time, urban charters have yielded impressive, even astonishing, success at closing the academic achievement gap between the poorest children and more privileged ones. The management of charter schools varies widely, but in urban centers, where education reformers have concentrated most of their energy, their performance has been especially strong. A major study earlier this year by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes carefully comparing equivalent student populations found that urban charters on the whole produce an extra 40 days (eight weeks)of classroom learning in math and 28 days of extra classroom learning in reading per student per year.. New Orleans provided the largest-scale experiment in charter education in the United States--a complete overhaul, undertaken all at once. The results have vindicated the strategy. As the authors concluded, "We are not aware of any other districts that have made such large improvements in such a short time.. New Orleans is the breakthrough social equity liberals have been waiting for. "We tried to make urban districts better for 50 years. We tried more funding, more accountability, more pipelines of talent, more [professional development], more training, more certification rules, and on and on and on. After all of that time, and all of those cities, we still don't have a single high-performing urban district in America. Not one," Andy Smarick, an education-policy analyst, told me. "But the very first time we try an all-charter system, the first time ever, we get dramatically better results in only a decade." And some liberals, like the Obama administration, have encouraged and praised its success."