NEW ORLEANS, La. – As New Orleans continues to examine the effects of school closure and charter takeover post-Katrina, a local organization that is focused on race and equity is weighing in. A new report from Equity in All Places highlights the impact to the city’s most vulnerable residents by examining closures, takeovers, and other school transitions in the city’s eight highest risk neighborhoods, which are also predominately African American. The mission of Equity in All Places is to use the Social Determinants of Health framework to advocate for place-based policies that create equitable, safe, and healthy communities.
In an ongoing dialogue about the tradeoffs of education reform, the report brings to the forefront issues of race and equity. It raises some of the most controversial issues of education reform, including the loss of self-determination, high suspension rates coupled with oppressive school environments, and the lack of cultural connection and understanding of new teachers.
“The focus of the impact of education reform is always on the entire city, or the majority of residents. This ends up masking another narrative—the narrative of those in our city who have the least amount of power,” stated Yvette Wing Merritt, Team Lead for the organization. “We think this is the most important narrative for policy change.”
The report comes on the heels of another study by the Education Research Alliance that acknowledges that the effects of school closure and charter takeover on student outcomes depends on whether students ended up in higher quality schools, as well as how much disruption they experienced.
Equity in All Places has also outlined a number of policy recommendations in the report, including investing more resource into high-risk neighborhoods and continuing to study the impact of education reform on these communities. The organization will host a Policy Report Roundtable on December 13, 2016 from 4:30 to 6:00 at the Urban League building on S. Carrollton.
Read the report here.
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