After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, one of the problems with the families who returned to the city quickly was how to educate their children. Many of the families who returned after being evacuated came home to destroyed schools and a limited number of teachers. The city had no choice but to reform the school system.
The Wall Street Journal reports today (sorry, subscribers only) that:
Post-Katrina New Orleans is already the nation’s leading charter-school zone, with 80% of city students enrolled, academic performance improving dramatically, and plans to go all-charter by 2013. To spread the model statewide, the Governor would create new regional boards for authorizing charters and offer fast-track authorization to high-performing operators such as KIPP. He’d also give charters the same access to public facilities as traditional public schools.
Needless to say, the Louisiana Association of Educators is opposed to Governor Jindal’s plans to go all-charter by 2013. Governor Jindal has also stated that he would only grant tenure to teachers who are rated “highly effective” five years in a row–the top 10% of performers. Tenure would not be a lifetime thing–any tenured teacher who rates in the bottom 10% would return to probationary status. The “last in, first out” policy would also be banned. This sort of reform improves the schools, but I suspect the unions will be working hard against the Governor in his next campaign for governor.
This is the kind of government reform we need in all states. It is unfortunate that it took a devastating hurricane to reform the system. I wish Governor Jindal total success in implementing his plans–they will make a big difference to the children of Louisiana.