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Paul Vallas joins education leaders to examine schools in New Orleans

October 9, 2009

The Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, the Journal of Public Interest Law and the Loyola Institute for Quality and Equity in Education present “Reconstructing Education in New Orleans Post-Katrina: Lessons in Education Reform,” on Friday, Oct. 16, from 1 to 5:45 p.m., in Room 405 of the College of Law. Attendance is free and open to the public. Attorneys may earn 4.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education credit for a cost of $25.

Hurricane Katrina was a wake-up call for the broken education system in New Orleans. State and local leaders took advantage of the blank slate to create an entirely new education system based on the education reforms sweeping the nation: school choice, accountability, state takeover of failing schools and charter schools. Orleans Parish is the only school district in the United States with a majority of students who attend charter schools, and education advocates view New Orleans' rapid implementation of charters as a potential model for other districts.

Panelists will discuss whether the charter school experiment is working; mistakes made and lessons learned in the four years since Katrina; and a direction for the future. Speakers will also discuss the treatment of special needs students in charter schools, state charter legislation, charter revocation, the efficacy of the reforms, treatment of immigrants, suggested reforms and parental participation in the new school system.
This symposium will be an opportunity for New Orleans area residents to grasp a basic understanding of the dramatic implementation of charter schools in New Orleans and the social, political and legal obstacles that must be overcome to create a high-quality education for every public school student.

Panelists include Paul Vallas, superintendent of the New Orleans Recovery School District, Michael Schwam-Baird and Laura Mogg from Tulane’s Cowen Institute and Renita Thukral, director of policy for the Louisiana Association for Public Charter Schools. They will be joined by moderators Robert Garda, associate professor in Loyola’s College of Law and Dr. Luis Mirón, dean of the College of Social Sciences at Loyola University. A full list of speakers and topics can be found here.

“A look at the legal, social and political issues arising in the New Orleans education system is long overdue because of the significant scope and variety of reforms implemented and the large number of students affected by the reforms,” Garda said.

For more information or to register for CLE credit, contact Anthony Alessandro at 504-861-5558 or aralessa@loyno.edu.

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Loyola at a Glance is written and distributed for the faculty, staff, students and friends of Loyola University New Orleans. It is published by the Office of Public Affairs, Greenville Hall, Box 909, 7214 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118. (504) 861-5888.

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