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A Think Twice Review of:

Ten Years in New Orleans: Public School Resurgence and the Path Ahead

Think Twice - Oct 21, 2015

Publisher/Think Tank - Public Impact and New Schools for New Orleans

Author(s) - Christen Holly, Tim Field, Juli Kim, Bryan C. Hassel, Maggie Runyan-Shefa, Michael Stone, and Davis Zaunbrecher

A report published by Public Impact and New Schools for New Orleans attempted to review 10 years of education reforms in post-Katrina New Orleans, and the creation of a “portfolio model.” The report argued that the reform experiment has been an unquestioned success, and other cities should duplicate efforts. Overall, the report lays out a grand vision for the future of public education in New Orleans, which was described by the authors as “America’s first great urban public school system.” It is organized into six themes: governance, schools, talent, equity, community, and funders.

Reviewer(s) - Adrienne D. Dixson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

An academic review of the report from Adrienne D. Dixson finds that the report does little to accurately inform policymakers or practitioners about the current state of public education in New Orleans or the viability of “portfolio” districts. The review found multiple weaknesses that limit the usefulness of the report. In her review, Dixson highlights that the report exaggerates improvements, while downplaying the ways in which the enacted reforms exacerbated inequities in New Orleans. She also notes that the report erroneously presents the reforms as a result of a logical and apolitical process.