Monday, July 20, 2015

What’s the Next [R]evolution for New Orleans Schools?

Here is a question that I don’t know the answer to: what will be the third groundbreaking regulatory innovation born out of New Orleans?

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The first groundbreaking innovation was moving from a government-run system to an educator-run system.

This innovation put power in the hands of great educators.

The second groundbreaking innovation was creating an equity agenda that overhauled policies for enrollment, expulsions, and special education.

This innovation helped ensure that all families had equal access to educational opportunities.

If there is a third innovation, what will it be? Here are some possibilities:

Accountability: As the city moves toward a landscape that is devoid of failing schools, New Orleans may develop an accountability system that better fits a system of schools where the threat is mediocrity rather than failure.

Post-Secondary Education: As more and more New Orleans students graduate from charter schools that support their students in post-secondary environments, the regulatory divide between K-12 and post-secondary may begin to fall. Will charters be allowed to open new colleges? Will colleges offer more classes at charters? Will new educational structures (bridges between charters and colleges) be allowed to open?

Charter Governance: The advent of micro-schools, course choice, post-secondary collaborations, and partnerships with companies may move charter governance from a model predicated on vertical, operational alignment to one based on overseeing a portfolio of educational opportunities.

Of course, those on the ground will know better than myself. But based on early-stage pilots that are already happening in many of the aforementioned areas, there is a possibility that New Orleans’ third regulatory revolution will be in accountability, post-secondary, or charter governance.

Or perhaps not.

Neerav Kingsland is the former CEO of New Schools for New Orleans.

This is the sixth in a series of blogs from education leaders in New Orleans—people in the trenches sharing their ideas about what’s next for the city's public schools. Have some thoughts of your own? Send them our way and we will publish a compilation of responses.

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