Our friends at ReasonTV have put out a great new video highlighting the strides that have been made towards school choice in New Orleans following the Hurricane Katrina disaster. As ReasonTV Editor Nick Gillespie says in the video, few people could have predicted the improvements in education that would result, but “sometimes things get so bad that radical change can happen.”
Before Katrina, the New Orleans school system was in terrible shape. As one mother explains, when they were displaced to Baton Rouge during the cleanup, she found much better schools compared to what they had known before. The thought of returning her children to the same terrible system upon their return to New Orleans weighed heavily on her mind. “I dreaded coming home,” she admits in the video, “I didn’t want to put my kids in public school here in New Orleans.”
But following the disaster, New Orleans has undergone a bit of a renaissance, becoming another labratory for school choice. The state of Louisiana took over Orleans parish schools, turning them into charter schools and later introduced a voucher program to allow students to attend private schools.
As we have highlighted many times, and as we highlighted in our documentary “Let Me Rise”, voucher programs and other school choice initiatives have a proven track record of success. By allowing families to choose schools that are working rather than forcing children to accept a second-rate education, real progress can be made.