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Katrina vs. Empire

New Orleans, Louisiana’s (NOLA) education establishment has mounted a fight they hope carries hurricane force winds to the Big Easy, knocking out the careful and successful repair work of the state’s — and perhaps the south’s — worst school system. That system lost everything in the tragic hurricane of 2005, but from the ashes emerged a fresh start for schools, including no interference by a power-hungry school board and unions, as well as relief from tenure and seniority issues that protect jobs often at the expense of kids.

Next month’s elections will decide the fate of 11 positions on the state board of education. Unlike most states, their job is not only to pick a state superintendent who can advocate for or against reforms like the charter schools that gave NOLA a fresh start or the path-breaking voucher program that now helps thousands with private education, but also pick a leader who can turn around the state’s most troubled schools. This board and the state super have authority over the Recovery District, and that is why this is such a hot race.

Teacher unions have banded together with the Coalition for Louisiana Public Education to try to return NOLA to a pre-Katrina structure. It’s a pity they still don’t get it. Get involved and publicize the importance of reform-minded candidates to your friends or colleagues in the Bayou. For more information on New Orleans schools, visit: http://educatenow.net/ or http://newschoolsforneworleans.org/index.php.