The end of August will mark New Orleans fifth anniversary since Hurricane Katrina.
In the city's reconstruction efforts immediately following the storm, the state of Louisiana seized control of most New Orleans public schools and hired Paul Vallas as its superintendent.
Heading the efforts to change the downtrodden system, Vallas made a number of promises that projected a brighter future for public schools in the gulf coast city. Many schools were rebuilt from the ground up, curriculum was revamped and a host of new teachers were recruited from top colleges around the nation to help in the district's recovery.
Vallas' most definitive effort to revamp the city's school district has come with the implementation of charter schools. Charters are publicly funded, but have little oversight by the government. Prior to Katrina just 2 percent of New Orleans schools were charters, however, now the number has catapulted as next year two-thirds of the district will be charter schools.
Opponents to this rise in the city's percentage of charter schools argue that not enough government oversight is in place. Currently, charter schools in New Orleans only receive a state review once every three years.
The above video is a wrap to ongoing coverage of Vallas' progress since he became superintendent. Next year, Vallas will transition out of his position as superintendent and hopefully leave a lasting impact on New Orleans public schools.
"I am a believer in schools having the freedom and autonomy to make decisions that are in the best interest of the children. And so I support charter schools because charter schools are a vehicle for achieving that type of freedom." Paul Vallas, superintendent of New Orleans public schools
"The vast majority of schools have improved. And a large number of schools have shown significant improvement. And I think we have had a lot of success. We have really created a model district." Paul Vallas, superintendent of New Orleans public schools
1. Name the massive hurricane that led to the reconstruction efforts of New Orleans.
2. What is a charter school?
3. Why are charter schools created?
1. Give two examples of how Paul Vallas has revamped the New Orleans public school system.
2. How do charter schools differ from regular public schools? In what ways are the two similar?
3. Why do you think charter schools have gained popularity in cities nationwide? Would you like to attend a charter school? Why or why not?
Read video transcript:
New Orleans Schools See Progress Despite Troubles:
Despite Teacher Pushback, D.C. Continues Schools Reform:
Kansas City Plans Massive School Closures as Budget Fix: