In the wake of the tragedy and destruction that came with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, public schools in New Orleans became part of an almost unthinkable experiment—eliminating the traditional public education system and completely replacing it with charter schools and school choice. It became the first U.S. city ever to adopt a school system based on the principles of markets, such as parental school choice, school autonomy from regulation, and performance-based contracts. Fifteen years later, the results on many key measures have been remarkable. In his new book “Charter School City: What the End of Traditional Public Schools In New Orleans Means for American Education,” Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Douglas N. Harris provides an inside look at how and why these reform decisions were made and offers many surprising findings—positive and negative—from one of the most extensive and rigorous evaluations of a district school reform ever conducted. The book reflects both age-old lessons of school reform and teaches new ones that are particularly relevant to the current moment.
On September 2, the Brown Center for Education Policy at Brookings will host a webinar during which Harris will give an overview of the book followed by a panel discussion with national leaders with different perspectives about charter schools.
Viewers can submit questions for speakers by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BrookingsEd or with #CharterSchoolCity.