New Orleans Enters The Charter School Era

Ninth graders at George Washington Carver Collegiate Academy learn to shake hands and greet each other during the first day of school in New Orleans. i i

Ninth graders at George Washington Carver Collegiate Academy learn to shake hands and greet each other during the first day of school in New Orleans. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David Gilkey/NPR
Ninth graders at George Washington Carver Collegiate Academy learn to shake hands and greet each other during the first day of school in New Orleans.

Ninth graders at George Washington Carver Collegiate Academy learn to shake hands and greet each other during the first day of school in New Orleans.

David Gilkey/NPR

On Aug. 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans and gutted most of its public schools. Even before the storm, the district was one of the most troubled in the nation.

Today, the New Orleans school system is unlike any other anywhere in the U.S. More than 9 in 10 students this fall are attending charter schools run by dozens of private, nonprofit organizations. Families choose the schools their children will attend, and the neighborhood school is a thing of the past.

The NPR Ed team is beginning a yearlong examination of these dramatic changes: what they'll mean for New Orleans and the families, children and teachers there. Claudio Sanchez kicks off the series.

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