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good article, stats showing how much better the New Orleans schools system is. I think this is a non-subscription link as I just found it with a Google search.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142412788732339820457848...


There is broad acknowledgment that local schools are performing better since Hurricane Katrina washed away New Orleans' failing public education system and state authorities took control of many campuses here.

Graduation rates went to 78% last year from 52% before Katrina—surpassing Detroit, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Oakland, Calif., cities also struggling to boost achievement among lower-income students.
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The share of New Orleans students proficient in math, reading, science and social studies increased to 58% in 2012 from 35% before the 2005 storm
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Academically, New Orleans is improving faster than any school district in Louisiana
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Many parents say it takes extra effort to find an acceptable campus. "If parents want a good school for their kids," said Ms. Nelson, a 36-year-old single mother, "they have to take a stand and do all the work themselves."


And that is what parents SHOULD do. Whatever it takes for their kids. Take a day off work, go to PTA, yell at politicians. I bet before people felt helpless. If they complained about a bad school or bad teacher it was a waste of time. Now if they invest their time, it does pay off.


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Most of the city's schools were failing long before Katrina destroyed dozens of campuses
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The state converted most of the campuses into charter schools, which hired their own nonunion teachers. Today, more than a quarter of the instructors are from Teach for America, a national teacher training program that recruits college graduates from around the U.S.
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Denver, Chicago and Cleveland have embraced school choice on a smaller scale, but none give as much freedom—to parents and campuses—as New Orleans does: About 84% of its 42,000 public school students attend charters, the largest share of any district in the U.S.
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The lowest performing schools are eventually closed by state officials or replaced with new operators
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Do whatever it takes, this is about the kids.\


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To help guide the selection, public schools are issued grades of A to F, based on academic performance
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Of the nearly 12,300 slots available in the citywide lottery for this school year, 20% were in schools rated F in 2012, 29% in D schools, 11% in C schools, 14% in B schools and none in A schools
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Jennifer Nin's 8-year-old son has already attended three schools, looking for the best educational fit. He now attends Akili Academy of New Orleans, where, Ms. Nin said, he is "thriving and loving it" after two years at less-than-desirable schools.

Something that could have never happened before. Why would anyone want to deny that kind of option?


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This year, for the first time, the lottery incorporated private schools that accept state vouchers.


So, it sounds like a vast improvement for the kids. If competitive healthcare exchanges allowing choice are good enough for every US citizen, why not competitive school systems. Sounds so easy, but I guess only if you get to start from scratch and not fight entrenched interests.
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