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International Journal of Urban and Regional Research DOI:10.1111/j.1468-2427.2011.01062.x
ARTICLES Separate and Unequal: The Consumption of Public Education in Post-Katrina New Orleans
JOSHUA M. AKERS
Before the ﬂoodwaters of Hurricane Katrina had receded, New Orleans was inundated by a wave of neoliberal prescriptions, foundation money and celebrity educators eager to dismantle the city’s public education system. The opening of public education to the market has left the residents of New Orleans with an education system that is increasingly separate and unequal. At the center of this radical neoliberal experiment is a 40-year effort by local proponents of ‘school choice’ for a voucher program. This research examines the links between the system of forces — economic, social, political and (in the case of Katrina) natural — and the transformation of daily life within the city and metropolitan area through policy and media discourse. This article argues that prior efforts to undermine public education at the state and municipal level were key to the velocity and scope of the subsequent changes in New Orleans. Efforts to organize against these changes have focused on the role of think-tanks and foundations at the national scale. This focus severely limits the power of local organizations to challenge those driving these changes within their communities. Although efforts to rebuild the city of New Orleans continue at a glacial rate, the dismantling of its public education system has continued apace in the years since Hurricane Katrina. The education experiment currently underway in the city incorporates many of the core tenets of the school choice movement, such as expanding the private education market and guaranteeing public subsidies for private or public–private education ventures. The introduction of charter schools and education vouchers has radically altered public education in the city by introducing market-based systems that require parents to act as consumers while exposing their children’s future to the whims of the marketplace. Government-funded charter schools are utilizing selective admissions to take the top performers while excluding those with behavioral issues and special needs. Over 50% of the schools operating in New Orleans are now charter schools, run by non-proﬁt organizations and private contractors. In addition to the expansion of charter schools, the state introduced a modestly sized voucher program in the fall of 2008 that pays student tuition at private schools, thus further reducing the amount of funding available to the remaining public schools (which serve a disproportionate number of the city’s poorest and special needs students).
The author would like to thank Matthew Farish, Jason Hackworth, Alan Walks and the three IJURR reviewers for their useful comments and feedback.
© 2011 The Author. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited. Published by Blackwell Publishing. 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main St, Malden, MA 02148, USA
Joshua M. Akers
The rapid restructuring of New Orleans’ public education system following Hurricane Katrina offers insights into the workings of actually existing neoliberalisms, and the path-dependent and contingent ways in which these changes take place. Many narratives on the transition have focused on the efforts of actors at the national level and the work of think-tanks and foundations in implementing a radically different system of education in the city. Although this work offers compelling evidence of political and economic opportunism and the continuing ideological restructuring of redistribution towards capital, this focus obscures 40 years of struggle steeped in race and class antagonisms within the state of Louisiana to either abandon or take over New Orleans’ school district. These efforts point to the complex entanglements of the social and cultural with the economic and political embedded within the process of scale, and how place matters in the incessant privatization of public goods or accumulation through dispossession (Brenner, 2000; Harvey, 2005). The argument presented here is in two parts. First, radical and sweeping change is neither sudden nor unexpected, as neoliberalization requires local organizing that often links social and cultural antagonisms with political and economic concerns. Second, urban public education, a contested and essential site of social reproduction, is becoming a state-guaranteed site of accumulation characterized by systems of tax-backed dispossession. If we are to take seriously the claims that urban change is path-dependent and historically contingent, it is necessary to interrogate the changes that emerge in the aftermath of a natural disaster and human catastrophe like Hurricane Katrina. It is in these moments that the assumptions of the power of the state and/or the desires of global capital are both revealed and troubled by actualities on the ground. Propagandists and think-tanks such as the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation issued hundreds of press releases following Katrina, arguing that government was not responsible for disaster response, while at the same time declaring a ﬂooded New Orleans to be a blank slate for a laundry list of long-targeted national reforms, from repealing the Davis-Bacon Act (requiring the payment of market-rate wages) to the privatization or chartering of the education system. Although the Bush administration brieﬂy suspended Davis-Bacon, a longstanding priority for neoliberals and conservative politicians, the changes implemented in the city’s education apparatus are part of an even longer-running story, which dates back at least to the landmark decision of Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954 and the subsequent decade-long ﬁght to desegregate public schools in the city. New Orleans has long been the site of racial conﬂict and court challenges; it is where the actions resulting in the Plessy vs. Ferguson case occurred, culminating in the 1896 United States Supreme Court decision codifying segregation in a ruling upholding the standard of ‘separate but equal’. The struggle over access and control of services is often contested through racialized boundaries; this has certainly been the case in New Orleans (particularly in the city’s history as part of the United States). What follows is an exploration of the variegated tendency and unevenness of neoliberalization in urban environments through an examination of both the sociohistorical development of an education crisis in New Orleans and the state takeover and quasi-privatization in the immediate aftermath of Katrina. The intent is to work within the overlap of state and urban theory and the arguments advanced in this journal on scale, as a process to examine the interlinking of the microdiversity of locally developed conservative social and cultural movements with the macronecessity of economic demand for increasing access to government-ﬁnanced sites of accumulation through dispossession. The neoliberalization of urban education has been well documented through examining the changes in curriculum and requirements for graduation, often guided by corporate interests and local business elites as well as planning and policy processes in various cities in North America (Lauria and Miron, 2005; Hankins and Martin, 2006; Basu, 2007). This project has operated at both the local and national level, with proponents of corporatist
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36.1 © 2011 The Author. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited.
neoliberalism and social movements generally. and ﬁnally the failure of the federal government to respond adequately — characterized either as benign neglect or inevitable given cuts to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. DC. The school choice movement promotes education reforms that move tax revenues away from public schools and into private schools. social.Segregation and education in post-Katrina New Orleans 31 educational values utilizing the implementation of such changes in one school district as justiﬁcation for utilizing the same process in another (Stone. . Peck’s analysis reveals the intricate entanglement of the political and economic 1 For a more detailed discussion of scholarship on neoliberalization in New Orleans. The case extends the analysis of the neoliberalizing city and the role of crisis in reactionary and regressive change by examining the microdiversity of and historical struggle over urban education in New Orleans. More recently this process has assumed a dual focus: one is the training of students for ‘new market realities’. Davis pointed to the suspension of regulations requiring private companies to pay market-rate wages as a particularly egregious example of federal priorities. charter schools and vouchers are geared towards pulling the top students into a system of both reproduction and accumulation. The growing literature around the event by scholars of neoliberalism has focused on the Bush administration’s attempts to exploit the catastrophe in order to extend neoliberal programs. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited. Political economist Mike Davis (2005) issued a scathing and comprehensive polemic on the government’s inaction and its default position allowing conservative think-tanks to manage the response from Washington.1 Before the ﬂoodwaters had receded in New Orleans. the use of non-proﬁts as a disciplining force. see Hackworth and Akers (2011). The conﬂicts over primary and secondary education largely stem from historical exclusions formulated around race in the state of Louisiana. tracking how the federal government marshaled neoliberal think-tanks and foundations in the construction of policy prescriptions for Louisiana while simultaneously attempting to neutralize an increasingly dire example of the realities of neoliberal and conservative governance in the press. and speciﬁcally examines a 5-year period around Hurricane Katrina. political and (in the case of Katrina) natural — and the transformation of daily life within the city and metropolitan area through policy and media discourse (Wacquant. and the production of the discourse of an ‘education crisis’ which obscures the perpetuation of inequality at various levels of government and the entrenchment of inequality through private and non-proﬁt promotion of education reform. 2008). This is a nationwide movement that has made increasing advances in school districts throughout the United States. The case follows multiple temporal trajectories with a broad examination of a longer history of contestation over ‘crisis’ in the city’s school system. vouchers and tax credits. 1998). the ﬁrst critiques of the federal government’s response to the disaster quickly emerged.1 © 2011 The Author. the second is to turn schools into a means of generating proﬁt. or as part of a larger pattern of shock programs exploiting disaster and catastrophe to implement ‘market-friendly regimes’ and policies. This crisis is compounded by the human catastrophe following Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent rapid expansion of exclusionary reforms. Jamie Peck (2006) pushed this analysis further. while pushing the education of higher-cost students (e. Under examination here are the links between the system of forces — economic. Neoliberalization and New Orleans The outcomes of Hurricane Katrina and the catastrophe that followed have broad implications for geography.g. or through public funding of non-proﬁt and privately run charter schools. By siphoning off public funds for the private provision of education. those with accessibility issues and particular needs) onto local government to protect proﬁts. This article concludes with a case study examining local and statewide efforts to implement school choice in Louisiana. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36.
and eviction of the racialized poor from the city. or the privatization of security and relief services. In moving beyond consumption. the current social warrant venerates private privilege and private need over public good. To this list should be added charter schools and voucher programs that seek to allow private companies. Lipsitz and Katz open up avenues to explore how radical neoliberal policy was implemented in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36. churches and non-proﬁt NGOs to take over the administration and delivery of deregulated education in the city. It is through focusing on social reproduction in the city that the terrain of the conjunctural may be identiﬁed (Katz. deregulated city as noted by Gotham and Greenberg (2008: 1055): This market-centered approach has been enforced ‘top down’ by a federal government averse to a strong public sector and direct outlay programs. was the push for a whiter. she argued that the increasing professionalization of these organizations had left many of them ill-equipped to combat the dismantling of housing and education. from the contracting in the Iraq War to the current approach to rebuilding the city of New Orleans (Lipsitz. and explicit in the ‘free market’ ideology behind the policies upon which the city would be rebuilt. Implicit in the discussion around how aid would (or would not) be delivered in New Orleans. By turning attention to the mobilization against the advances of the mid-twentieth century towards the continuing counterrevolution on the right. and progressive taxation and eventually coalesced into a social warrant for competitive consumer citizenship. Cindi Katz began to pull apart the historical costs of long-term disinvestment through examining social reproduction in New Orleans. Katz (2008: 25–6) states that it is essential to connect activists in multiple places to create spaces of resistance: In other work I have developed the notion of ‘countertopography’ to invoke ‘contour lines’ that connect disparate places similarly constituted or affected by certain problems. This countertopography offers a framework in which activists may work and organize across territory by connecting the demands of global capital with the policies of national. and propagated by entrepreneurial city and state governments and public-private partnerships seeking to use post-disaster rebuilding as an opportunity to enhance their cities’ competitiveness and business climate. According to Lipsitz. These policies not only targeted federal regulations. This focus on what is good for the individual or the household results in societal inequalities and disparities resulting in continuing crisis. Highly critical of the paternalistic approach of non-proﬁts. but were also used to eliminate the remnants of a shrinking welfare state in New Orleans. with dire consequences for public housing and public education (Hackworth and Akers. .1 © 2011 The Author. 2006). for example. or the school–prison pipeline. around poor people’s evictions from the city. entrepreneurs. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited. As the scholars above focused on the political–economic assault from Washington. fair housing. the social warrant becomes one of hostile privatism in which greater levels of force are introduced to privatize all manners of services. and the recognition of the disaster as an opportunity for the application of long-sought policy prescriptions for the rollback of government at various levels and the expansion of the practices of accumulation through dispossession.32 Joshua M. state and local governments in seemingly disparate places. Akers at the national level. 2008). more business-friendly. 2011). This sort of political imagination might be called upon here to make connections among US cities. The argument that this type of organizing needs to expand on the left is made more immediate in the writing of George Lipsitz (2006: 454) shortly after the catastrophe in New Orleans: The most important social mobilization of our time was not the civil rights movement of the mid 20th century but rather the counterrevolution that emerged against it through resistance to school desegregation.
Fairclough. 1991. whether by the state or (in the case of Louisiana) the Catholic Church. 1979. the equal portion of the clause was rarely recognized and challenges were largely ineffective until the Brown vs. The case of Plessy vs. The implementation of public high school education was both a nation-building exercise and an attempt to aid the economic imperatives of changing modes of production. immigrant battles for access. It held that ‘separate but equal’ was within the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. and the ﬁght to end limited access and gendered course offerings for women.. Most integrationist interventions. we can gauge how longstanding local conservative social movements seeking to privatize public education connect with global and national political and economic practices through events prior and subsequent to Hurricane Katrina. The contest over public education is an integral site in urban struggles. Urban education The public school district in the United States is a complex multi-scalar apparatus in which competing policies. Board of Education ruling of 1954. funding mandates and hyper-local and glocal conﬂicts are mediated through a variety of representative bodies. 1999). By recognizing these practices as historical and contingent and uneven in application. and sites of struggle for recognition and equal access to a service that has become essential to accessing higher education in the United States and in mediating employment opportunities (Lauria and Miron. Ferguson established the legal basis that would rule infrastructure and commerce throughout the country for the next ﬁve decades. falling standards and occasionally violence (Devore and Logsdon. An apparatus controlled loosely at the national level through policies and directives tied to additional funding is complicated by state legislatures reworking policy to both acquire additional federal funds and shape it to the particular needs of the state and the districts represented. from hotels to schools. This legacy renders these schools both an institutional construction of discriminatory practices. In 1892 Homer Plessy was charged with violating Louisiana’s Separate Car Act when he boarded a train car designated for whites only in New Orleans. This ruling validated the Jim Crow laws that had emerged over the preceding 20 years. Morken and Formicola. . local school boards oversee the day-to-day International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36. particularly in the urban core as the enrollment in racially homogenous suburban districts and private schools grew (Squires and Kubrin. 2005). Approaching the dismantling of the public education system in New Orleans as a moment in which the complex entanglements of social reproduction and social structure converge with the economic and political opportunism following Katrina provides a richer understanding of the uneven and variegated process of neoliberalism. But the achievements in these struggles were undermined by the abandonment and isolation of public schools. His arrest and charges led to a challenge of the act decided in the United States Supreme Court in 1896. Finally. 2005). Though separate accommodation was provided. The structure of publicly provided elementary and secondary education in the United States is marked by contradictory mandates and particular outcomes at each individual school. in the very violent ﬁnal episode of the Reconstruction period.1 © 2011 The Author. were met with claims of an impending crisis. 1995). and demonstrates how the terrain of the conjunctural is contested by numerous actors dislodged in the formation of an ascendant social warrant. primary and secondary education in the US was overwhelmingly provided by religious organizations and private schools (Meyer et al. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited.Segregation and education in post-Katrina New Orleans 33 days and years following the storm. New Orleans is a central site in the long struggle for equality and access to public services. Until the mid-nineteenth century. Urban education has witnessed a multitude of struggles over the last century: efforts to combat and overcome race-based exclusion and segregation.
Akers operations of each school district and are tasked with spending the majority of the districts’ funds acquired through local property taxes and sales tax. the changes to the New Orleans education system had been contemplated and fought for over a 40-year period. which have continued to fall in the urban core and inner-city school districts across the United States (Squires and Kubrin. Many of its aims were articulated by Milton Friedman (1955) in his essay The Role of Government in Education. that also allow for the mediation of local antagonisms for those in power through the selective control over students and employees through measures such as entrance exams and contractual employment policies. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited.34 Joshua M. By focusing on school choice we can begin to (in Basu’s words) ‘unravel the spatial and institutionally entrenched neoliberal doctrines promising progress and change’. What has occurred (and is continuing) in New Orleans schools is the interlinking of long-practiced social and cultural antagonisms centered on race and class with the economic demands and political ideologies of national interests in further integrating accumulation through social reproduction. She argues that the contradictions inherent in neoliberalization provoke counter-tendencies with varied outcomes. close and even tedious scrutiny — often at the mundane and grassroots level — to ultimately unravel the spatial and institutionally entrenched neoliberal doctrines promising progress and change. Though Friedman’s framework for market-based private education gained little traction with policymakers and educators at the time. Basu (ibid. It is the positioning of the mundane and the grassroots that is important to this argument. In order to understand these contradictions. Although seemingly sudden. The urban school district is a reﬂection of national and state education and economic policies. working in local school districts and through the state legislature to dismantle the public education system in the city of New Orleans. government should intervene with vouchers only when parents were unable to pay the lowest market price. Many of these were a direct response to the success of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36. The local school choice movement was at the forefront of this ﬁght. . A caveat was offered.1 © 2011 The Author. These processes unfold through incorporation of policies guaranteeing proﬁt through tax-backed programs. geographer Ranu Basu (2007) noted that interaction between levels of government and the public in the decision-making process is complicated by conﬂicting demands and differing outcomes at the hyper-local and provincial or state level. School choice The school choice movement in the United States began in the early 1950s.: 110) states: These mixed reactions and their implications for the policy process and sustainability of neoliberal regimes require long-term. and also an amalgam of the policies and practices of the city in which these schools are situated. The movement grew to encompass a variety of strategies to change the structure of public education. He argued that government involvement in education could only be justiﬁed in exceptional circumstances. He proposed a system of market-based schools which would compete for students through price and product. The changes underway in urban education offer insight into how neoliberal regimes are reshaping and co-opting hyper-local actions as part of a global–local strategy pointing towards the limits and the depth of the process at work. 1999). In her examination of school closures in Ontario in this journal. it was popular among wealthy business owners and various philanthropic foundations across the United States (Morken and Formicola. In the following decades the school choice movement slowly expanded at the local and state level throughout the United States. often utilizing the funding from corporate foundations and the work on school choice by the Rose and Milton Friedman Foundation. 2005).
Hubert Morken and Jo Renee Formicola (1999) offer an analysis of how the school choice movement views particular types of education. The movement made signiﬁcant advances in the late 1980s and early 1990s. 1999) International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36. These perceived failures were used to justify and bolster attacks on the role of government in the provision of education (Newmark and Rugy. 2004). The school choice movement grew quietly during the 1970s and 1980s with the aid of wealthy philanthropists who provided scholarships for children to attend private schools in places such as Indianapolis. The largest gains came in the mid-1990s and early 2000s with a series of court victories by the Milwaukee School District and a US Supreme Court ruling in favour of the Cleveland School District. These successes spurred local movements across the US to move education out of the realm of collective consumption and into private hands (Fusarelli. 2003). with the push for charter schools and vouchers on citizengenerated propositions in California funded by John Walton (an heir to the Wal-Mart fortune) and the introduction of charter schools in Minneapolis. The claim of government interference with personal freedom submerged the issue of race and seemingly absolved participating individuals of complicity in the structures of segregation.Segregation and education in post-Katrina New Orleans 35 civil rights movement and court interventions to disassemble local practices of segregation and inequality in the public education system across the country. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited. The Politics of School Choice. and spurred a reaction to government intervention among more afﬂuent white families that both fuelled and grew along with and as part of the school choice movement across the United States (Parker and Margonis. In their book. The introduction of busing and court attempts to integrate these districts challenged entrenched boundaries that privileged race and class within the social structure of cities in the US (Lassiter. Figure 1 is adapted from this discussion. 1996). This linear map Figure 1 The school choice continuum (source: based on the work of Morken and Formicola. allowing these districts to provide public money for private education. only increased criticisms of the public education system. The declining conditions of urban schools. Many whose position was challenged by integration sought to shift the debate by adopting a language of freedom and choice rather than address the material reality of the largely racialized poor. . exacerbated by the ﬂight of capital to suburban enclaves outside the taxing authority of urban districts. These changes led to urban school systems structured around legally mandated tenets of equal education and equal access for all students. 2006). These legal interventions by the courts undermined the structures of de facto segregation in which minorities and the poor were excluded from particular areas of the city or the suburbs.1 © 2011 The Author. The efforts of the courts and the subsequent organizing of parents against integration gave increasing currency to the arguments ﬁrst advanced by Friedman which would allow for the circumvention of state-mandated changes.
The power and effect of macro-level policy institutions in the rollout of neoliberal policies at the local level is dependent upon the interplay of actors International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36. and full private education at its far right. Within this national narrative Katrina was a catalyst that washed away the crisis of a failed education system. the narrative of free-market triumph is ever present in reports on the ‘new New Orleans’ at the national level (Nossiter. 2008). All of the options laid out within this framework have been proposed and debated in Louisiana and New Orleans. cynicism and criticism in the rollout of charter schools. and to relegate the failed bureaucracies of collective consumption to footnotes in the struggle for ‘freedom’ (Peterson.1 © 2011 The Author. The dismantling of the public education system in New Orleans threatens the universal right of public education in the United States. while disempowering already existing communities and dismissing their ability to rebuild their neighborhoods and the city (Wagner.36 Joshua M. Along this line. 2008). and ending with free-market schools and home schools. Hyperbole aside. This hyper-cynical metaphor of a blank slate was deployed in the push to reorganize the school district and the city. this system came to dominate public education in New Orleans after Katrina through the power of the free market to not only overcome major catastrophe but also to emancipate residents from the ‘tyranny’ of teachers’ unions. 2006). working to erase the presence of residents remaining in New Orleans and to limit the possibility of return for those displaced by the storm. perhaps this comes from the decades-long effort to improve and reform the school system. with some (particularly magnet schools) having now been in operation for years.’ Ritea (2006a) The move towards charter schools is a move towards market-based education provision and the construction or reconstruction of social exclusions. where some schools will succeed and survive while others will fail and disappear in the years ahead. leaving a blank slate on which to build a model system for the rest of the nation (Carns. the long-running efforts of a variety of regressive local movements to take over or dismantle the city’s public education system melded with neoliberal opportunists in the federal government and in various policy agencies to privatize education and ensure that the public subsidized proﬁts. This continuum provides a framework in which to view the progression of the school choice movement in New Orleans. In the aftermath of Katrina. followed by public and private vouchers leading to tax credits. Akers places public education at the far left of a continuum. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited. as well as national media conglomerates such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. or perhaps it arises from the reality of living in a market experiment. incremental steps from public education to full private education are laid out moving from left to right. . Cato and Manhattan institutes. with magnet schools and charter schools advancing to public–private scholarships. This narrative hands the possibility of transforming and rebuilding the city to those ‘with the power and wealth’ to do something immediately. Education systems from charter schools to home schools are classed as entrepreneurial systems under this model (ibid). Charter schools ‘State ofﬁcials don’t disagree that New Orleans is about to begin a form of education Darwinism. Media reports at the local level reveal more caution. the American Enterprise. 2006). For conservative thinktanks such as the Heritage Foundation.
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36. The drop in the number of students severely decreased the tax distribution the district received from the state. The focus here is on the school choice movement in the years immediately preceding and following Hurricane Katrina. 2009. With commerce at a virtual standstill. and is of course partial. 2005). and payments to contractors for services that were never received (Sanders. newsletters and reports from the United Teachers of New Orleans and other education unions. 2005b). education journals. It is this perspective that is under analysis here. The ﬁnancial crisis faced by the district became a catastrophe following Katrina. think-tank publications. In the aftermath of Katrina. This case relies on both primary and secondary sources including interviews and archival research. This uncovered phantom employees receiving pay checks. as state and local agencies continued to ﬁght over plans and proposals. and over who had the power to control education in the city. and the extensive damage to the city. 2005). is shaped by the political leanings and economic considerations of its owners. In addition to such damage. The author recognizes that a text. the Orleans Parish School Board contracted with non-proﬁt ﬁrms to charter 21 schools in buildings 2 The Times-Picayune was chosen by circulation size. Prior to the storm. It utilizes media reports. The mass exodus prior to and following the storm... which was further compromised by heavy damage to its physical infrastructure. as well as the biases and abilities of the writers and editors in its employ. and explain how the current system emerged. reach and status as the paper of record. These reports are supplemented by both an analysis of historical documents and secondary work produced in various journals and newsletters by those working in education or focusing on issues around education. dictated by a funding formula based on student enrolment (Anderson. These materials offer a narrative of local agents preparing legal frameworks while cultivating and promoting discontent. both the ongoing scalarization of neoliberal governance and the complex interplay between macronecessity and microdiversity of neoliberalization emerge (Brenner. The system had a battered reputation before the storm. The choice of other newspapers and periodicals published in the city of New Orleans or nationally would provide variations of perspectives on the same subject. Peck et al. the school district was contending with limited revenues and in danger of insolvency (Ritea. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited. In an attempt to provide some educational services to remaining students. The ﬁnancial situation led to a comprehensive investigation into graft and corruption which began prior to the storm. making possible the rapid implementation of the regressive ideas of think-tanks and foundations in times of upheaval and crisis. particularly in the education sector. At the core of this is a comprehensive review of over 200 articles directly addressing public education in the city over a 5-year period (between January 2003 and December 2008) published in the New Orleans newspaper The Times-Picayune.2 This period was selected in order to capture the discourse surrounding public schools in the city in the two and a half years prior to the storm and the two and a half years after Katrina. the district was struggling ﬁnancially and had depleted reserves. Hurricane Katrina and the ﬂood that followed did not open the city to radically new approaches. By tracking the efforts of the local school choice movement and its struggles for power in the years before Katrina. Brenner et al. It is these efforts prior to Katrina that made possible the rapid dismantling of the public school system in New Orleans. the district was facing a multi-million dollar budget deﬁcit. . 2000. 2010). put the district’s main source of funding (a sales tax) in jeopardy. particularly a newspaper. the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana struggled to reopen the Orleans Parish School District.Segregation and education in post-Katrina New Orleans 37 at various scales working to reshape New Orleans over time.1 © 2011 The Author. but ushered in the possibility of expanding already existing regressions. The materials reviewed in this study help deﬁne these relationships by detailing the actions of both the state and local school boards in implementing a charter school program (both before and after the storm).
Akers with minor damage. at some point you have to sit back and assess whether it makes more sense to build anew rather than renovate. Though Jacobs used the metaphor of a ﬂood in discussing the possible dismantling of the public education systems in New Orleans. 2005a). Algiers did not experience the massive ﬂooding prevalent in other portions of the city (thanks to its location on the west bank of the river and its higher elevation).9 million by the US Department of Education one month after the storm for the opening of charter schools in Louisiana in the aftermath of Katrina. 2010). The board sought applications from non-proﬁts and community organizations to run the schools under a charter (Ritea. In May 2005. the state stripped the district of three failing schools and the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) assumed responsibility for them. . and how local movements clear paths that may be used by various groups at multiple levels seeking to consolidate power or control in a particular place.1 © 2011 The Author. Approved by the legislature.900 students are classiﬁed as minorities. BESE was granted the power to take over underperforming schools in the Orleans Parish School District through a state constitutional amendment in 2003. shift costs out of the district and gain time to develop a strategy to reopen all 117 schools in the district. and this district has been under water for a very long time (Ritea. and 86% of those students qualify for the free or reduced price lunch program (Louisiana Department of Education. Another issue driving the Algiers Charter Schools Association was the allocation of nearly US $20. Approximately 99% of the association’s 3. you can renovate. The formation of the Algiers Charter School Association illustrates the development of a movement generated out of race and class antagonisms into a politically potent tool. Leslie Jacobs of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education expressed her support for the Algiers charter plan to The Times-Picayune: When you have a damaged home. 2005c). If it’s eight feet of water you likely have to rebuild. the amendment was placed on a state-wide ballot. business owners and university presidents in the city) with their ability to inﬂuence the elected Orleans Parish School Board in respect of changes to the education system (Rasheed. If it’s two feet of water. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited. It passed with approval from 60% of the voters. and various other churches and private schools. lobbyists for the Archdiocese of Louisiana. In International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36. This plan was promoted as an opportunity to break from the failing district.38 Joshua M. The introduction of charters in New Orleans was the result of a compromise in response to an intensifying push for school vouchers by a coalition of elected Republicans. but the will and the political tools necessary to secede from the Orleans Parish School District had fomented long before the storm. Prior to the storm. a plan was proposed by the New Orleans community of Algiers (along the west bank of the Mississippi) to split from the Orleans Parish School District and operate a charter-only district of nine schools. used to weaken a local school board and consolidate power on the western side of the Mississippi. In addition to the district opening charter schools. The Orleans Parish School District’s implementation of charter schools after the storm and the formation of the Algiers Charter School Association were not the ﬁrst instances of charter schools in New Orleans. The hurricane and the federal money both played a role in the formation of the Algiers Charter School Association. Five weeks after Katrina. Charters were characterized as a way to open schools quickly. a small number of charter schools were already operating in the city. This amendment was a state-level solution to the worsening academic performance of public schools in New Orleans and growing dissatisfaction among New Orleans’ elected ofﬁcials (particularly the mayor. 2003b). This interlinking of macro-political and economic policies that eliminate worker protections and open education to private contracting demonstrates how local antagonisms are reconstructed and mobilized for other purposes.
What the aftermath of the storm provided was an urgency that limited debate and discussion. In the years since the storm. four charter schools were in operation in New Orleans. coming from a variety of backgrounds including business. Opposition to the plan came from legislators concerned that it was a power grab by the state. who had opposed similar but more modest proposals in the past (Maggi. severely limiting the power of the publicly elected school board and gutting collective agreements protecting teachers (Maggi. The takeover allowed the state to pursue charter schools in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. including most of the members of the district’s teachers’ unions. Before the storm. All of these factors were said to threaten the ability to provide education to the students remaining in New Orleans after the storm. Though these boards are often non-proﬁt entities. education and the non-proﬁt sector. which appeared as a minor change in the state’s position. The post-Katrina implementation of charter schools was swift.1 © 2011 The Author. and guaranteed that schools in the city of New Orleans would operate as tax-backed sites of accumulation through dispossession. the displacement of those directly affected by this legislation limited their power to act. and the magnitude of the ﬁnancial crisis faced by the Orleans Parish School District (Maggi. many have contracted with for-proﬁt companies to oversee the operation of the schools (Carr. Less than 6 weeks after Katrina. ﬁscal constraint. allowing for the expansion of the school choice compromise that eliminated labor protections. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited. Governor Kathleen Blanco announced plans to take over all underperforming schools in New Orleans. taking control of both failing schools and underperforming schools would lead to a radical reorganization of the entire district. set school hours. and the politically potent language of crisis that had enveloped the district in the decades before the storm. but that is where oversight generally ends. a mechanism utilized not because of an ideological commitment to school choice (which the governor and key legislators had opposed for years or — in the case of some politicians — even decades) but due in large part to budgetary constraints and the opportunity to score a decisive blow in a long-running political battle between the state legislature and the Orleans Parish School Board. determine curriculum and manage the budget (powers that more often reside with the local school administration and elected school board). Charter schools are in essence a public–private hybrid. most were struggling to remain open due to budget problems stemming from poor management and ineffective implementation (McFarley. Charters are overseen by a board of directors. 2005d). 2003). The legislature quickly approved a plan giving the state control of 102 schools in the Orleans Parish School District. In this case. some legislators saw a state takeover as a way to respond to growing political pressure for school vouchers. 2003). Under this plan. They are funded through tax dollars and required to meet state and local education standards. Blanco said the move was necessitated by the inﬁghting of the Orleans Parish School Board over how to proceed in opening schools. 2005b). . The majority of the debate centered on an even more drastic counter-proposal to take over all public schools in New Orleans. over half the student population is now enrolled in a charter school. and placed any school scoring below the state’s targeted score under BESE control. taking advantage of the fact that the storm had displaced tens of thousands of residents. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36. Blanco’s plan passed the state legislature within weeks. often composed of those who originally applied to charter the school.Segregation and education in post-Katrina New Orleans 39 addition to concerns over the ability of the local board. and allowed state ofﬁcials to take sweeping action that may have taken years (or may never have occurred) without the conﬂuence of physical destruction. Typically. 2005c). prompted the mass ﬁring of the district’s teachers and other district employees. structural neglect. 2008a). The takeover plan utilized results from the state’s standardized test in 2004. a proposal that would pay tuition for children in ‘failing schools’ to attend urban private schools or public schools in suburban districts (Maggi. charter schools have become the dominant model. the principal of each school is invested with the power to hire and ﬁre staff.
2006c). The push to wrench education from the public sector drew ﬁnancing from numerous philanthropists and organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. . 2006. Toppo. The growing political support for these efforts in the years before Katrina led to changes in the Louisiana Constitution which created a legal avenue for the city-wide implementation of charter schools. the settling of local political scores and attempts to overcome more radical calls for school vouchers (that would place severe ﬁnancial restrictions on an already struggling and underfunded education system in the city). A class action lawsuit has been ﬁled in New Orleans on behalf of students with disabilities. teacher contracts forbid them from disclosing pay levels. has led to confusion among many parents and the exclusion of particular students from the system (Nolan. but has resulted in a confusing dispersal of power throughout the local education system. This battle for vouchers did not end with charter schools. 2007. policy groups and the national press as a radical departure from the city’s past. the move towards charter schools in New Orleans is rooted in the legislative battles over school vouchers. The introduction of market-style competition in the system has yet to achieve signiﬁcant academic results. Simon. 2006). Liu and Holmes. Ritea and Simon. 2007). accelerating and cementing advances. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited. the outcomes of this process were largely determined by the political battles fought by school choice proponents for the state to subsidize their demand to opt out of public education. as well as locations and hours. 2008). ‘hotshot’ consultants and media promotion. a battle they would eventually win.1 © 2011 The Author. The move to charter schools in New Orleans is often portrayed by neoliberal think-tanks. Teachers in the charter system have been stripped of union protections and are required to negotiate short-term contracts directly with charter school principals. Mathews. Proponents of school choice continued their push for vouchers in legislative sessions following the storm. Parents assume the role of consumer and are asked to ‘shop’ for educational services. and the removal of barriers that once protected those working in and accessing education from the whims of the market and the drive for proﬁt (Adamo. after it was revealed that some charter schools were turning away children with particular needs despite having space available in the school. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36. spurred in large part by Hurricane Katrina (Frank. Charter schools compete for the best students in an effort to ensure that they achieve the standardized test scores needed to remain open and continue receiving state funds. This investment and media attention on the experiment attracted celebritylevel talent in education reform to the city. the process was haphazard and driven largely by ﬁnancial concerns. 2005. Carns. Though the reorganization of the public education system in New Orleans has been aided by the inﬂux of foundation money. inexperienced and inexpensive teachers to the city as replacements for those ﬁred immediately after Katrina.40 Joshua M. In many cases. The growing school choice movement in Louisiana (and New Orleans in particular) had invested years of effort into winning the state provision of school vouchers for parents of children attending failing schools in New Orleans. Returning to the school choice continuum. State data showed a disproportionate number of children with particular needs were enrolled in the few public schools in the city (Ritea. Akers The balkanization of school management and control has led to major changes in the delivery of education in New Orleans at various levels. The disaster provided a unique opportunity for the linking of movements. But these changes occurred with a scope and speed that would not have been possible without action taken at local and state level in the years prior to Katrina (Nossiter. as local and social antagonisms harmonized with the larger political aims of neoliberal and neoconservative ofﬁcials in the Bush administration and the myriad companies and foundations seeking to capitalize on the proﬁt possibilities of dispossession. Rather than a functional policy agenda guided by a neoliberal push to ofﬂoad public education. Many efforts are made to attract young. 2007. 2008. 2007. 2007). but the variation in each school’s services and curriculum. 2008). allowing charter schools greater leeway in individual negotiations (Perry.
. more programs and superstar superintendents. Despite increases in funding. the test scores in the majority of the district schools continued to decline and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced an investigation into the system’s use of government funds. which runs a large parochial school system in Orleans Parish and had guaranteed spots to students in failing schools if vouchers were approved by the legislature. public funds) to pay for tuition. school choice proponents celebrated a major victory. Board of Education (the point in history from which the school choice movement traces its origins). clearing the way for a vote on the proposal. declared the decision to be as signiﬁcant as the court’s 1954 ruling for school desegregation in Brown vs. A key proponent of the school choice initiative was the Archdiocese of New Orleans. A power struggle erupted between board members and the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36. This was a signiﬁcant victory for school choice advocates. the Orleans Parish School Board and the BESE.Segregation and education in post-Katrina New Orleans 41 School vouchers ‘This gave a clear signal that the winds of change are blowing in the city of New Orleans and in the state of Louisiana. William Maestri. the House Education Committee approved a school voucher bill. The Institute for Justice. allowing students in Cleveland’s inner-city public schools to choose between private schools. The efforts of school choice proponents in Louisiana were aided by a perceived and real lack of progress in the Orleans Parish School District. all three bills were defeated. We believe this change is inevitable.e. The bill gained momentum coming out of the education committee and passed the House.’ Rev. Despite the lack of national attention for Louisiana. quoted in Maggi (2004) In June 2005. BESE backed a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the state to take control of schools in the Orleans Parish School District if the schools failed to meet state standards. The group named six states which it would target for the implementation of vouchers. Simmons-Harris case was hailed as a landmark ruling by the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute as well as evangelical organizations such as Focus on the Family. who had championed vouchers for years as an ‘issue of conscience’ and a way to save children from failing schools in New Orleans (Ritea. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited. A lawsuit was subsequently ﬁled after a majority of the vouchers were used at private religious schools. After nearly 40 years of rejecting vouchers. before falling one vote short of passage in the Senate Education Committee. In an attempt to slow down the political momentum behind vouchers. the court ruling spurred the introduction of three bills targeting underperforming schools in the Orleans Parish School District during the spring 2003 legislative session. after the narrow defeat of a school voucher bill in the Louisiana Senate. the United States Supreme Court ruled ﬁve to four in favour of a school voucher program in Ohio. The court decision in the Zelman vs. 2002).’ Kirby Ducote. charter schools and suburban public schools (which refused to participate in the program) and use vouchers (i.1 © 2011 The Author. Opposed by teacher unions. This success of the voucher proposal was spurred by developments at the national level. a legal ﬁrm representing school choice proponents. 2005d). But investigations into fraud and graft were not the only issue pushing the narrative of a district in crisis. quoted in Ritea (2005d) ‘There are thousands of children in those schools who to me are being robbed of an education. In 2002. Louisiana did not make the list (Schick. Catholic lobbyist and longstanding advocate for vouchers.
Akers superintendent when he pushed for greater control in implementing changes. 2004). But this narrative of choice. This narrative of crisis and failure surrounding the Orleans Parish School District was ampliﬁed by allegations of fraud and political inﬁghting. The state was granted a restraining order preventing the superintendent’s removal. with priority given to children in schools classiﬁed as failing by the state (Russell. parents had the option of enrolling their child in any school in the district. but they were marked by higher than usual racial segregation in both faculty and students (Adamo. repair the district and shape it to the needs of business as had been the case previously (Lauria and Miron. Business and political leaders had lost faith in the ability of an elected local board. the entire white student population of the school was kept away by boycotting parents. when those failed to drive them away. This narrative worked to the advantage of school choice proponents.1 © 2011 The Author. 2007). these are merely incremental steps towards a fully privatized system that in most cases is publicly subsidized through vouchers and tax credits. 2004). open to all. and in their ability to inﬂuence the representative body. the board promptly ﬁred him (The Times-Picayune. Four of the girls were sent to McDonogh #19 Elementary School. private schools also played a role as sanctuary institutions for white families opposing racial integration in the late 1950s and early 1960s in the South. The extreme racial segregation of New Orleans and the efforts of white families to opt out of the school district were illustrated in a 2003 lawsuit. These girls were subjected to intimidation and physical attacks. 2003c. Magnet schools were not the only remnants of institutionalized racism. choice was quite prevalent. When the ﬁrst schools in New Orleans were desegregated in 1960. 1995). The choice is the ability to opt out of public education. the district operated magnet schools with competitive entrance requirements. and a stark reminder of the existing racial inequalities in New Orleans. . 2007). These developments prompted legislators from districts outside New Orleans to threaten a reconsideration of voucher proposals. but the deﬁnition of choice within this movement is more narrowly deﬁned. Thevenot and Rasheed. 2005). 2007). In the Orleans Public School District prior to Katrina. The continuum of school choice encompasses a variety of education systems. Magnet schools (which focus on particular academic areas) were consistently among the top-performing schools in the state of Louisiana. over 80% of students in the Orleans Parish School District were African American (Rasheed. One girl attended William Frantz Elementary School and none of her white classmates showed up for the entire year (Fairclough. claiming that the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36. By 2003. closed to many by a wide array of variables. 2003). the blame for falling test scores and poor performance was directed at unionized labour and the elected board (Rasheed. who pushed their solutions as a way to ‘save the children’ from the failed public system. also obscured the complicity of private schools in the city’s history of segregation and the equality struggle in the public education system. 2005a). In addition. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited. The parents sued the district. of the superiority of private provision. Though proponents offer a continuum in which public education options such as magnet schools and charter schools are part of choice. These schools were often seen as a continuation of a history of legislated segregation. and select from private offerings. and BESE began working with the superintendent to implement changes in the district (Grace. The four girls attended school alone that year. only ﬁve African American students (all female) were allowed to attend previously white-only schools. Rather than address the underlying structural issues of a system of exclusion organized around race and class. By the time Katrina struck in 2005. 2004). and exacerbated by decades of economic decline and population loss.42 Joshua M. as vouchers would reduce the school board’s authority (Maggi. The selective admissions process and testing regime required to enter magnet schools in New Orleans were often compared to the testing African American children underwent before admission to previously all-white schools under segregation (Rasheed. brought by the parents of a white-Hispanic student on the verge of failing at one of the city’s magnet schools.
As the ﬂoodwaters receded in New Orleans. the qualifying income level contradicts those claims.200. passing both the House and the Senate only to be vetoed by the exiting Governor Kathleen Blanco (a Democrat). the program created a lottery system in which qualifying families could apply for up to US $6. The low-income qualiﬁcation of 250% of the federal poverty level means a family of four with an income of US $53. Despite this opposition. 2003). introducing both voucher legislation and a state tax credit for parents sending their children to private schools. but the push for vouchers continued with the Archdiocese of New Orleans. One major initiative was the takeover of the majority of the Orleans Parish School District. Such measures expose the poorest in the city to greater disadvantage. and raises questions about whom the program is intended to serve. 2007). spiralling towards incapacity in the years prior to Katrina. people without the means to make such a choice or access a tax credit for private education. the tax credit was an effort to redirect public funds into private hands (particularly those who could afford to pay private tuition fees upfront) while reducing funding for a public education system already struggling to serve the most marginalized within the population. 2008). as a majority of legislators preferred to work with the new state system and the charter experiment. 2006b). school choice advocates argue that the privatization of education extends to parents the right to decide between public and private education.Segregation and education in post-Katrina New Orleans 43 public school near their home was underperforming and that their child would not ﬁt in at a school with a 99% African American population. But the push for vouchers after the storm remained unsuccessful. While school choice advocates claim this is an equitable program designed to help those most in need. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited. school choice advocates changed tactics. Alpert. She claimed that the state could not afford the tax credit while recovery efforts continued (Barrow. Bush recommending vouchers as a way to deal with the shortage of buildings. This move towards market-based competition hinders efforts to provide education equality or to develop a just and sustainable system. This income level greatly increases the pool of eligible applicants. by forcing them into a market tilted in International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36. 2007). this move is an incremental step towards a privatized system in which those on the margins are forced to compete for the commodity of education offered at varying quality depending on price.1 © 2011 The Author. They demanded the school district pay for the cost of sending their child to a private school (Rasheed. Purportedly aimed at low-income families. a system hamstrung by neglect and capital ﬂight.000 a year may qualify for the voucher (Carr. The 4-year program is available only to students in kindergarten through to third grade in the Recovery School District. the state legislature convened in Baton Rouge to address the immediate crisis of the hurricane-ravaged coast. These initiatives dominated much of the legislative work around education in the year after Katrina. teachers and slots for students in New Orleans (Kinnan. which he called a ‘scholarship’ program in an effort to avoid the baggage of the debate around vouchers (Carr. In 2007. the tax credit bill advanced further than previous voucher efforts. in New Orleans over a third of the population lives below that income level (Department of Health and Human Services. At the local and national level. The allocation of resources to private providers increases the vulnerability of marginalized classes to the whims of the market. 2005. The lawsuit was dismissed in late 2003 (Thevenot. Though not a full voucher system. Similar to the voucher program. Republican legislators and President George W.300 of private tuition cost (paid directly to the school by the state). The decades-long efforts of school choice advocates in New Orleans culminated in the state’s ﬁrst voucher program in July 2008. 2008b). 2008c). This tax credit was criticized as a backdoor voucher plan by weakened but active teacher unions and many in the education system. . which would lead to the formation of the Recovery School District to oversee charters and reopen public schools (Ritea. but the historical language of choice in New Orleans revolved around the privilege of white parents to opt out of an integrated public system. 2003a). The federal poverty level for a family of four in the US in 2008 was US $21. Governor Bobby Jindal (a Republican) approved the state’s ﬁrst school voucher program.
neoliberal programs that are more about realigning redistribution through government than about the privatization of service. and support for these initiatives had been building in the state legislature for years. the state quickly decimated the teachers’ union through mass ﬁrings. But the real opportunity for school choice proponents following the hurricane was the absence of opposition. But these efforts did not constitute a new strategy. but that success is not a direct result of the catastrophe following the storm. The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Conclusion Cities have long served as sites of multi-scalar resistance. In the case of public education in New Orleans. and severely hobbled the Orleans Parish School District by stripping it of responsibility for the majority of the city’s schools. the destructive aftermath of Katrina was characterized as an opportunity. withdrawal. many of the mechanisms were in place well before the storm. and resulted in ﬁnancial backing and media attention for school choice advocates. it was a multi-decade march of violence. The federal government — so reticent to provide disaster relief — was quick to provide privatization incentives. But given the pre-Katrina success of the local movement and the incremental progress made after the storm. The exclusions built into these changes through the language International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36. The crisis following Katrina brought the work of school choice proponents in Louisiana to the attention of national organizations and foundations with a predilection for market solutions. In the years after the hurricane. as urban centers are increasingly the target of. it is problematic to wholly credit these macro-level organizations with the successful efforts of school choice advocates in New Orleans. The political struggles and incremental victories won in the years before Katrina laid the groundwork for the major victories that followed it. The radical and sweeping changes to New Orleans’ public school system after Hurricane Katrina were steeped in race and class antagonisms and a revanchist approach to the city. but the rapid deconstruction of the district was made possible by the long-term efforts of local school choice proponents in New Orleans and Louisiana. was a viable solution to the issues in the district. Akers favour of those with the economic and political capital to structure the system to their advantage. and diverting funds away from the public education system which is the only option for many. disinvestment and eventually a dismantling. The hurricane and ﬂood opened a desperate city and state to outside money and expertise that accelerated the transition to a market-based education system.1 © 2011 The Author. with the president as pitch man in his post-vacation visit to the Gulf Coast. As much of the city’s population was displaced by the storm. The dispersal of opposition around the country allowed for the restructuring of one of the largest school districts in the country as a site of government-ﬁnanced accumulation. but the city is also the target and site of multi-scalar regressive policies and reactionary movements. Opportunists in neoliberal and neoconservative think-tanks offered up the metaphor of a blank slate and a wish list of policy repeals and privatization initiatives. . The dismantling of public education in New Orleans is representative of ongoing struggles. the defunding and depopulating of public schools. The ongoing struggles in the district were used to argue that a more radical approach. The school choice movement in Louisiana has been successful in pushing through its legislative priorities in the years since Hurricane Katrina. political support continued to increase gradually with proponents gathering more allies as limited progress in the Orleans Parish schools frustrated opponents of vouchers. As Lipsitz has stated. diluting the voucher pool with those who do not need assistance. In mainstream publications such as The Times-Picayune. and incubator for. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited. it is conservative reactionary movements and their long march across the last half of the twentieth century that represent the most successful social movement of our time.44 Joshua M. This marginalization is codiﬁed by extending tax credits to those who can afford it.
1915–1972. (2003) The political dynamics of school choice: negotiating contested terrain. (2007) Negotiating acts of citizenship in an era of neoliberal reform: the game of school closures. George St. The Times-Picayune 21 July. Logsdon (1991) Crescent city schools: public education in New Orleans 1841–1991.ca). Barrow. S.1 © 2011 The Author. pathways. This conﬂuence is essential to understanding the multi-scalar processes at work in urban neoliberalization. Basu. M. US Government. schools. R. But it also points to the possibilities of Katz’s countertopographies and multi-scalar organizing for alternatives that are radical and revolutionary. S. Lafayette. A. Gotham. This case offers insight into how seemingly divergent and isolated local movements that are reactionary and regressive coalesce with an increasing trend towards accumulation through dispossession. rather than a reaction to an urban environment in which access to the means of social reproduction is becoming increasingly tenuous. and M. bill would have helped parents with children in private schools.A. Brenner. New Orleans’ troubled educational system banks on charter schools. (2000) The urban question as a scale question: reﬂections on Henri Lefebvre. Carr.. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 31. N.O.akers@utoronto. New York. Fusarelli. for-proﬁt companies take reins at some N. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited. Le Monde Diplomatique October. USA Today 28 November. 361–78. Friedman. modalities. (2005) New Orleans puts charter schools to big test.2. The Wall Street Journal 24 August. (2008c) School vouchers offered in N. Global Networks 10. Athens. R. Greenberg (2008) From 9/11 to 8/29: post-disaster recovery and International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36. . M. Carns. NJ. and J. Peck and N. K. A1. education alternative expanding after Katrina. Dissent 54. public housing and a variety of other needs. The Times-Picayune 12 July. Anderson. E.D. A1. 1. J. N. Palgrave Macmillan. (2008a) N. 1.O. Toronto. Carr. S. L. Carr. T. 4–5. Washington. Solo (ed. Fairclough. Alpert. urban theory and the politics of scale. Ontario M5S 3G3. application process begins on Monday. (2007) Blanco vetoes tax deduction on tuition. 44–51. The Times-Picayune 9 January. Akers (joshua. Rutgers University Press. The Times-Picayune 13 October. The Times-Picayune 8 February. University of Toronto. (2007) Bush still likes idea of school vouchers.O. University of Georgia Press. Brenner. parents complain of information void.F. 109–27. New Brunswick.). Room 5047. D. public school enrollment may be halved. DC. A1. Davis. A. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 24. Canada. B. schools enlist oustide help. Theodore (2010) Variegated neoliberalization: geographies. (1955) The role of government in education. Frank. The Times-Picayune 3 April. (1995) Race and democracy: the civil rights struggle in Louisiana. Economics and the public interest. Jindal avoids calling it voucher program. apparent in the global push towards the privatization of public services. Maestri at ceremony at the White House. References Adamo. Department of Health and Human Services (2008) 2008 poverty guidelines. (2006) Charting a new course — after Katrina. un capitalisme de catastrophe. Picard says. (2005) N. 1.O. B1. M1. 100 St. (2005) A la Nouvelle-Orleans.2. Joshua M. Department of Geography. B. Sidney Smith Hall.E. 1–41.. only 50–60 schools needed. (2008b) School plan starts war of words.1. University of Southwestern Louisiana Press. In R. (2007) Squeezing public education: history and ideology gang up in New Orleans.Segregation and education in post-Katrina New Orleans 45 of choice or markets represent additional barriers impeding access to sites of social reproduction such as public education. Devore. A10..
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(2007) New Orleans schools get record $17.N. it may be the only way to go. Wacquant.O.1.slate. (2002) Veni. The Times-Picayune 18 June. M1. education chief cites system’s woes. What is a city? Rethinking the urban after Hurricane Katrina. S.O. The High School Journal 90. Simon. (2005d) Voucher advocates down but not out. The Times-Picayune 30 August. (2003) School tuition suit is dismissed. Steinberg and R. Ritea.O. (2006) Learning from catastrophe theory: what New Orleans tells us about our education future. (2008) Orleans schools show mixed results. Thevenot.Segregation and education in post-Katrina New Orleans Mitchell and Dr Linda Stelly. amendment approval seen as cry for help. T. Education Next 6. A. The Times-Picayune 25 October. Ritea. (2003) Parents given crash course in education options. P. A. M5. Polity. The Times-Picayune 5 October. MA. Cambridge. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36. Wagner. Simon (2007) A proven superintendent and a hotshot group of 47 educators are inspiring others to bring their skills to New Orleans. University Press of Kansas. (2006c) Lawsuit precedes news of school openings. suit says. B. S. S. The Times-Picayune (2004) A plea for reason on Amato. only thing all want is change. L. URL http:// www. Sanders. Rasheed. The Times-Picayune 13 June. Rasheed. A1. Russell. The Times-Picayune 8 November. why the battle for school vouchers isn’t over. S. University of Georgia Press. Ritea. Ritea. Slate [WWW document]. G. Urban Studies 42. In P. S. (2006b) BESE approves operating plan for N. Picard. schools.E. M1. A. The Times-Picayune 26 May. private school expenses sought.O. The Times-Picayune 6 December. S. . uneven development and the geography of opportunity in urban America. parents can choose from about 50 options. attorney says. M4. (2005a) Algiers charter schools plan gets good grades.2. city would assume administrative role. Rasheed. (2005) What will it take to turn schools around? The Times-Picayune 19 April. Squires. A. (1998) Changing urban education.E. A1. Athens. Ritea. Stone. S. Nagin not counting on it.4. The Times-Picayune 12 March. (2007) Education in New Orleans: some background. voucher. A1. Ritea. parents wanted school board to pay. The Times-Picayune 5 February.E. 47–68. G. M1. The Times-Picayune 22 April. Kubrin (2005) Privileged places: race. district.). The Times-Picayune 7 October. public schools inadequate. Rasheed (2004) Nagin offers to help schools.5M gift. D. J. Thevenot. The Times-Picayune 7 October.1 © 2011 The Author. Rasheed. (2003a) N. S.com/id/2071085/ (accessed 28 November 2008). (2005b) Charter schools urged for N. ﬁnancially.2. M1. 16–22. N. takeover draws audience barbs and some ofﬁcial olive branches. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited. M1. M1. (2003c) Schools forum yields little consensus. and A. C. A1. The Times-Picayune 31 January. (2006a) School system will be unique in nation. A. charitable-fund money will go to rebuild system. informational fair spells out alternatives. The High School Journal 90. Ritea. G. Peterson. D4. M1. Toppo. 4–7. 13 children denied spots. USA Today 13 December. Lawrence. (2003b) School takeover backers celebrate. Catholic schools chief cheered by House vote. A1. vidi. M8. The Times-Picayune 7 September. Schick. and D. and C. A1. 5. Shields (eds. B. Ritea. La. A1.D. (2008) Urban outcasts: a comparative sociology of advanced marginality. 7 June. (2008) Understanding New Orleans: creole urbanism. (2005c) More schools may open.
sociales. À la suite de l’ouverture du marché. à travers l’action publique et le discours des médias. . de fonds caritatifs et d’éducateurs médiatiques impatients de démanteler l’enseignement public de la ville. Cet intérêt restreint sérieusement le potentiel nécessaire aux associations ou organismes locaux pour contrer ceux qui mènent ces transformations au sein de leurs communautés. politiques et (dans le cas de Katrina) naturelles — et la transformation de la vie quotidienne. Les tentatives d’organisation contre cette évolution se sont concentrées sur l’importance des groupes de réﬂexion et des fondations caritatives au niveau national.1 © 2011 The Author.48 Joshua M. Sont examinés ici les rapports entre le système des forces en présence — économiques. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited. dans la ville et la zone métropolitaine. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36. Cette expérience néolibérale extrême est le fruit d’une entreprise menée sur quarante ans par des partisans locaux du ‘libre-choix scolaire’ en faveur d’un régime de chèques-études. les habitants se sont retrouvés avec un système éducatif toujours plus séparé et inégal. Les attaques précédentes contre l’éducation publique au niveau de l’État et de la municipalité ont franchement favorisé la rapidité et l’ampleur des changements qu’a connus ensuite la Nouvelle-Orléans. Akers Résumé L’inondation causée par l’ouragan Katrina ne s’était pas résorbée que la NouvelleOrléans croulait sous une vague de propositions néolibérales.
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