How Much Does A Math Specialist Make In New Orleans A Brief History of the Recovery School District

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A Brief History of the Recovery School District

Before Hurricane Katrina, the RSD had control of only five schools in Orleans Parish. After the storm, as a result of a bad reputation, many speculated that the New Orleans public school system would remain closed indefinitely. Seeing the hurricane as an opportunity for change, the state government decided to take more control and place approximately 100 additional schools in the RSD. While under this new ruling, those schools would remain in the recovery school district for at least five years. During this time, schools’ test scores and overall performance will be evaluated. If these schools achieved an acceptable level of academic performance, they would return to local control.

So far, the program has been an overall success for the New Orleans public school system. Between 2007 and 2010, fourth graders have increased their passing rate on standardized tests from 49 to 65 percent. Pass rates for eighth graders have gone from 44 to 58%. The number of high school students who are grade-adequate has increased from 42 to 60 percent in math and from 36 to 52 percent in English. Also, a considerably higher percentage of high school students graduate.

Although there are some traditional public schools in the RSD, most are made up of charter schools. These schools are nonprofit organizations that control their own budget, make their own hiring decisions, and make specific academic decisions, even though they receive federal funding. The new system also offers more options for students and parents. There are no longer geographic boundaries that dictate that a student must go to a specific school based on their district or neighborhood. Permissions are no longer required to attend “out-of-district” schools. If a parent or student is unhappy with the school they are attending, for any reason, they now have the option to choose a new one. Charter schools serve the majority of RSD’s approximately 24,000 students.

The future of the recovery school district remains unclear. As the RSD has reached five years, legislation will be introduced this fall to decide whether or not to continue with the current educational pathway, or return the schools to the local school board. Public opinion believes the schools should remain under state control, with only 21% of voters saying they believed the schools should be returned to the Orleans Parish School Board. One of the issues that comes up is that having two groups of government, one in Baton Rouge (state) and one in New Orleans (local) is not the most ideal situation. That said, it will be important for local government to provide a stable, productive, and useful plan for the future state of New Orleans Public Schools.

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