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Past Event
February 1, 2012
Washington Policy Center's 2012 Education Lunch

After Katrina: Rebuilding New Orleans Schools - Lessors for WA


Washington Policy Center welcomes Paul Pastorek to our 2012 Annual Education Lunch at noon on February 1 at The Westin Seattle.

Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, school reformers in Louisiana took the opportunity to reorganize the previously failing New Orleans Public Schools system. Paul Pastorek, former State Superintendent of Education, reorganized the New Orleans school district to serve (not micromanage) the schools, 80% of which are now charter public schools. This model, known as the Recovery School District, allows top school principals to set their own budgets so that more money gets to the classroom, allows teachers to teach, allows parents to choose the school that is best for their children, and allows community members to form boards to oversee the schools. The school district does not tell teachers and parents how to educate their children, but rather monitors and holds them accountable for performance. New Orleans plans to have the country’s first "all charter" school system by 2013. The results are encouraging:

--Schools in Louisiana’s Recovery School District have ranked number one in student progress since 2007.
--New Orleans’ African-American students score better today than African-American students in the rest of the state.
--Five years ago, 23% of children scored at or above “basic” on state tests; now 48% do.
--Before Katrina, 62% attended failing schools; less than 20% do so today.

More than 240 people attended our 2011 education event, including parents, teachers' union leaders, educators, policymakers and community members. Our past events have welcomed Dr. Andres Alonso, Baltimore Schools CEO; Rob Stein, an Innovation Schools leader and principal of Denver's Manual High School; and Professor William Ouchi, expert in organizational design and public school finance at UCLA's Anderson School of Management.

Discovery Institute is co-presenting the luncheon. To register, click here.