A Critical Race Perspective on Charter Schools
This chapter examines the public school reforms that have been undertaken in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, along with their implications for African American students, parents, and teachers. After the Katrina disaster, New Orleans embarked on an aggressive makeover of the public school district that entailed school closures and the proliferation of the charter school model that combines public funding and private management. The chapter considers the responses of stakeholders—parents, teachers, and community members—as well as their understanding of the hybrid nature of public schools in New Orleans that contain both traditional public schools (that is, schools that exist and existed as part of the New Orleans Public Schools) and charter schools. Specifically, it explores what happens when traditional public education is replaced by a hybrid, free-market model and how these reforms affect African Americans, particularly as they relate to educational and racial equity. In the process, it casts doubt on the triumphalist narratives on the virtues of “school choice” that have gained momentum nationwide.
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