Doug Harris comments on the New Orleans schools' hesitancy to return to district control.
“While my colleagues and I are still studying how, and how well, this radical new system works, the best thing the city did in 2013 was let this ‘temporary’ reform play out a little longer. Sometimes the best thing a city can do is nothing at all.”
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"After the Hurricane Katrina tragedy, the traditional school district model was tossed aside in way no U.S. city had ever fathomed: all New Orleans public school teachers were fired, the teacher union was effectively dismantled, and almost all public schools became charter schools. Once schools turned around, the plan was to return them to school district control.
Eight years later, many schools were eligible to go back and, after all the suffering here, it is easy to see why some observers wanted that to happen—to, among other things, regain some normalcy. But the trends in results are generally positive and returning to an apparently failed system seems hard to justify at this point. While my colleagues and I are still studying how, and how well, this radical new system works, the best thing the city did in 2013 was let this 'temporary' reform play out a little longer. Sometimes the best thing a city can do is nothing at all." - Douglas N. Harris, Associate Professor of Economics and University Endowed Chair in Public Education at Tulane University
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