Educational Landmark


New Orleans may soon be the first US city to have an all-charter school system.

These kids may finally be able to get an education. 

New Orleans may soon be the first city to have an all-charter school system — a landmark in U.S. history.

Orleans Parish Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. announced Friday (Dec. 9) he had “received informal expressions of interest from current school and charter leaders to convert some or all of our remaining five network elementary and high schools to charter schools authorized by OPSB.”

The five schools currently under school board control this would affect: Ben Franklin Elementary, Eleanor McMain Secondary, Mahalia Jackson Elementary, Mary Bethune Elementary, and McDonogh No. 35, comprising a middle and high school.

Charters are publicly funded but run by independent boards, held to benchmarks set by an authorizing party — in this case, the Orleans Parish School Board.

Lewis offered no further details, saying only, “We are beginning the process of informing school board members, staff, principals, teachers and families. When that process is completed early next week, we will be in a better position to provide more details.”

The School Board is scheduled to meet Tuesday.

If the decision proceeds, it will have been a long time coming. In 2014, the Louisiana Recovery School District finished converting to charters all the New Orleans public schools it took over after Hurricane Katrina.