A New First: From State Takeover to the Nation’s First All-Charter, District-Governed School System in New Orleans

This mixed methods study examines the impact of transitioning New Orleans' all-charter school system back to local oversight in 2018, after the state had taken over the school district post-Hurricane Katrina. Using 2013-2020 data – including interviews, observations of school board meetings, news articles, student achievement data, and enrollment trends – the authors analyze the effects of this transition on relationships between charter leaders and the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB), decision-making processes, community responsiveness, and student outcomes. Findings indicate strained relations and perceived lack of OPSB collaboration, but clearer decision-making and reduced favoritism. Community perceptions highlighted the OPSB's limited response to day-to-day concerns, attributed to its operational control limitations and charter-supportive composition. A quantitative analysis showed that student performance improvements achieved during state control have been mostly sustained. The research provides insights into the nuances of educational governance shifts, emphasizing the importance of stakeholder engagement and educational equity.

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