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Loyola University New Orleans Hosts Panel Discussion on Education Reform

Loyola press release - November 9, 2015

Leading experts explore post-Katrina changes, lessons learned and best practices

Leading experts will speak at Loyola University New Orleans next month in a panel discussion that will explore lessons learned from new charter schools founded in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

The panel discussion, entitled “New Orleans Education Reform ― A Guide or a Warning for Communities? Grassroots Lessons Learned, 2005-2015” is slated for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11 in Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall, located in the Music and Communications complex at Loyola University, 6363 St. Charles Ave. The talk is sponsored by the Biever Guest Lecture Series and Department of Sociology at Loyola, together with the Scholar’s Strategy Network.

“New Orleans is now being held up as a model for other cities to follow. At this time, the city’s education system is almost 100 percent charter schools and other cities are charter-izing,” said Assistant Professor of Sociology Carol Ann MacGregor. “What about New Orleans should be a model ― and what should be further explored? This panel discussion is designed to be an examination of what we’ve learned and an exploration of what we could do better.”

Leading experts will appear on the panel:

Kristen Buras, a Loyola alumna, is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at Georgia State University. She is the author of Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space: Where the Market Meets Grassroots Resistance, which chronicles the past decade of education reform in New Orleans. Additionally, she is co-author of Pedagogy, Policy, and the Privatized City: Stories of Dispossession and Defiance from New Orleans, which was recognized for its outstanding contribution by the Curriculum Studies Division of the American Educational Research Association. Buras is co-founder and director of the New Orleans-based Urban South Grassroots Research Collective for Public Education. She was born and raised in New Orleans.

Karran Harper Royal works as an education advocate and serves as assistant director of Pyramid Community Parent Resource Center in New Orleans. She is a member of the New Orleans Education Equity Roundtable and the Coalition for Community Schools, which is a partner of the national Journey for Justice Alliance. She is also a contributor to Research on Reforms and speaks nationally and internationally regarding education reform in New Orleans.

Raynard Sanders holds a doctorate from Teachers College Columbia University and has more than 35 years of experience in teaching, educational administration, and community development in New Orleans. His weekly radio show, The New Orleans Imperative, keeps citizens aware of the collateral damage of the privatization of public education. Listen weekly online or retrieve archived interviews at http://theneworleansimperative.org/.

Willie Zanders, an alumnus of the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, is a former Loyola University administrator and assistant professor of School Law at Xavier University and the first African-American legal adviser for Loyola University. Zanders also serves as lead counsel for a class action lawsuit for 7,500 wrongly terminated employees of the Orleans Parish Public Schools. His numerous awards include the 2011 State Conference NAACP’s M. Joy Clemmons Legal Services Award, 2012 African American Leadership Project's Dr. Morris Jeff Award, and a 2011 Certificate of Commendation from U.S. Representative Cedric Richmond for “advocating for the rights of teachers and education administrators within the City of New Orleans and Louisiana's Second Congressional District.”

Loyola sociology students now enrolled in the course “Race, Class and Schools” at Loyola New Orleans are exploring these issues and considering school quality in this context, MacGregor said.