by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jason Russell shares with Washington Examiner readers a detailed description of the role charter schools have played in New Orleans — and for children displaced from New Orleans — in the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina.
The results at Hynes have been nothing short of miraculous. In the 2013-14 school year, nine out of 10 Hynes students were at or above grade level proficiency, compared to seven out of 10 across Louisiana. Of the 1,300 public schools in Louisiana, Hynes is in the 92nd percentile on its state report card.
Douglas emphasized that student behavior and character development are just as important as grades. At the end of the school year, students with good behavior at Hynes are eligible for a special field trip. This year, some students went to Sector 6, a giant trampoline playground, or Kidsports, another giant playground. “We were always at about 60 or 70 percent of our kids being eligible to participate. Lately we’re hitting the 90 percent mark,” Douglas said. …
… Not every school in New Orleans is like Hynes. But with 90 percent of the schools operating as charter schools, they have the flexibility and the potential to achieve what Hynes has. The failing and corrupt old system is gone, and something unquestionably better has replaced it.
“The academic performance of New Orleans’ schools has improved remarkably over the past 10 years,” Patrick Sims and Vincent Rossmeier, two policy analysts from the Tulane University Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives, wrote in a report covering public education in New Orleans since Katrina. “With increasing test scores and graduation rates, everyone involved in education should feel proud of the progress made thus far.”