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Loyola and UNO to Hold Post-Katrina Education Forum

Loyola press release - April 28, 2015

The Institute for Quality and Equity in Education (IQEE) at Loyola University New Orleans and the University of New Orleans will hold a forum focused on the post-Katrina public education landscape in New Orleans. It will be held on Monday, May 11 at 7 p.m. in the Homer L. Hitt Alumni and Visitors Center ballroom on UNO’s campus. The event is free and open to the public.

The panelists are educators and scholars who have contributed to the upcoming book “Only in New Orleans: School Choice and Equity Post Hurricane Katrina.” The book, expected to be released this summer, is published by Sense Publishers and edited by Luis Mirón, director of Loyola’s IQEE; Brian Beabout, associate professor of education at UNO; and Joseph Boselovic, associate director of Loyola’s IQEE.

As the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina nears, panelists will examine the impacts, both intended and unintended, of the remarkable changes that have taken place in New Orleans public schools since 2005.

“Perhaps not since the Chicago experiments with decentralization beginning in 1998 has an American public school system undergone such rapid and far-reaching structural change,” Beabout said. “And while the pace of change has not slowed significantly, 2015 provides an important opportunity for researchers to examine the impacts of our city’s rapid expansion of school choice and charter schools.”

Opening remarks will be provided by Henderson Lewis Jr., the superintendent of New Orleans Public Schools, and invited panelists include Beabout; Boselovic; Steven L. Nelson, visiting assistant professor of education at UNO; Shannon Chiasson, grant and loan analyst with South Central Planning and Development Commission in Houma ; James Kirylo, professor of education at Southeastern Louisiana University; Sarah Carr, education editor at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism; Paul Green, associate professor of education at University of California-Riverside; and Beth Sondel, assistant professor of education at North Carolina State University.

“With New Orleans still in the spotlight of local and national conversations on education, significant questions remain about educational equity and the future of public education,” Boselovic said. “Ten years into the post-Katrina recovery, we’re hoping that this book project and public discussion can serve to bring about a richer, more nuanced conversation around education reform and the state of the city.”

“Only in New Orleans” is a collection of research articles, essays and journalistic accounts of education reform in New Orleans that collectively argues that the extreme makeover of the city’s public schools toward a new market-based model was shaped by many local, historically specific conditions.

In consequence, while the city’s schools have been both heralded as a model for other cities and derided as a lesson in the limits of market-based reform, the experience of education reform that has taken place in the city – and its impacts on the lives of students, families, and educators – could have happened only in New Orleans.

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