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Lunch Break Read: 10 Years After Katrina, School Choice Thrives in Louisiana

It has been 10 years since the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. The success of school choice in Louisiana is a glimmer of hope amidst what has been an incredible struggle to recovery for New Orleans families. Jason Russell makes the case in the Washington Examiner today on why it shouldn’t take a natural disaster for every state to adopt school choice.

Here is a quick preview:

About a decade ago, Louisiana officials decided to take over all but a few of New Orleans public schools in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. From the start, then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco, a Democrat, was determined to turn the city into an all-choice school district. Blanco wanted open enrollment across the system, without neighborhood zones, and for government funding to follow students to their school of choice.

From an academic standpoint, the takeover was clearly justified. Two out of every three students attended a failing school. Students struggled to meet college readiness benchmarks on the ACT.

Today, every family has a say in where their child goes to school. Nine out of 10 public school students have chosen a charter school. Students are noticeably outperforming the pre-hurricane results. Only 7 percent of students attend a failing school. Three out of four students graduate, which is right in line with Louisiana’s statewide rate. ACT results are much closer to the state average.

All of that progress is thanks to school choice, says Center for Education Reform President Kara Kerwin. “Without that environment, without a real change in the governance structure which allowed really great people to come in and think about schools differently, without giving parents the ability to make choices, you wouldn’t see those results,” Kerwin told the Washington Examiner. “It would have gone back to the very same thing.”

Read the rest at the Washington Examiner here. 

Deneen Borelli

Deneen Borelli is the author of Blacklash: How Obama and the Left are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation. Deneen is a contributor with Newsmax Broadcasting. She is a former Fox News contributor and has appeared regularly on “Hannity,” “Fox & Friends,” “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” and “America’s Newsroom.” She has also appeared on Fox Business Network programs “Making Money with Charles Payne,” “The Evening Edit with Liz MacDonald,” and “Cavuto: Coast to Coast.” Previously, Deneen appeared on MSNBC, CNN, the BBC and C-SPAN. In addition to television, Deneen co-hosted radio programs on the SiriusXM Patriot channel with her husband Tom. Recently, Deneen co-hosted the Reigniting Liberty podcast with Tom. Deneen is a frequent speaker at political events, including the FreedomWorks 9.12.2009 March on D.C. which drew a crowd estimated at over 800,000 people. Deneen is also an Ambassador with, a social media platform that promotes free speech, and with the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) which advances policies that put Americans first. Deneen testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources in May 2011 and before the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee in December 2011. Previously, Deneen was a host, Outreach Director with overseeing its outreach program, a Project 21 Senior Fellow, and Manager of Media Relations with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Prior to joining CORE, Deneen worked at Philip Morris USA for 20 years. During her corporate career at Philip Morris she worked in various positions, her last as Project Management Coordinator in the Information Management department where she was responsible for the department’s mandated quality processes, communications, sales information and database management. Deneen began her Philip Morris career as a secretary and advanced to positions of increasing responsibilities. Deneen worked full-time and attended classes at night for 11 years to earn her B.A. in Managerial Marketing from Pace University, New York City. Deneen served on the Board of Trustees with The Opportunity Charter School in Harlem, New York. She appeared in educational videos for children, worked as a runway fashion model, and auditioned for television commercials. Her interests include ancient history, pistol target shooting, photography, and volunteering at her church. Deneen currently resides in Connecticut with her husband Tom.

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