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Education Committee Report: 2008

Education: Charter Schools

The disasterous flood of 2005 all but destroyed the New Orleans public school system.  Before planning the rebuilding, the city had to face the fact that the schools had been part of one of the worst-performing systems in the country, and that the only way to properly serve local children is to create a world-class education system that puts students first.


Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans became involved in this effort early on by taking an advocacy role in the transformation of the city’s public education system. The group has established close ties and maintains lines of communication with state legislators, school boards, charter school administrators, business leaders, and national and local nonprofit organizations. By collaborating with other organizations, Citizens for 1 helped advance an educational reform agenda in the state Legislature.


The organization has developed relationships with other groups that focus directly on education, including the Scott S. Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives at Tulane University; New Leaders for New Schools; Teach for America; the New Teacher Project; and New Schools for New Orleans.


Working through its Education Committee, Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans met with leaders of these groups to determine how to help communicate their goals and objectives to the public. One result of the meetings was that representatives of Citizens for 1 began directly participating in some of the organizations, including the boards of new charter schools.



In the spring, Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans co-hosted a forum for public education with the Scott S. Cowen Institute and the Urban League. Citizens for 1 used its Web site, e-mail blasts and personal appearances on television and radio talk shows to publicize the event and educate the public as to the importance of attending and participating. The event, held on the Tulane campus, drew some 700 people and greatly expanded the ranks of supporters for charter schools and local reform efforts.


The Education Committee stands ready to continue its advocacy and has compiled a database of about 75 individuals who have agreed to participate whenever they are needed.