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Lunch Break Read: Fundamental School Reform in New Orleans After Katrina

While you’re taking a lunch break today, be sure to check out this commentary in National Review, titled “After Katrina, Fundamental School Reform in New Orleans.”

Marcus Winters is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute who discusses the New Orleans public education system as a case study in the success of school choice reforms.

Here is a quick preview:

If we could start from scratch, would we design urban public-school systems as they are today? Would we send students to particular schools entirely on the basis of where their homes are located, or would we offer parents a choice? Would we create a monolithic school district to impose a uniform education philosophy and rigid teacher work rules, or would we provide schools with independence and hold them accountable for meeting high standards?

I hazard the guess that few would replicate America’s current system. And yet, despite meaningful reforms of urban education in recent decades, plenty of work remains to be done. One reason is that it is much more difficult to repeal a restriction — particularly one that favors stakeholders as politically powerful as public-school teachers — than it is to create one. Another reason is fear of the unknown. The current system isn’t perfect, opponents of education reform can argue, but at least it is familiar. Better to stick with the devil you know.

Fortunately, starting over is no longer a hypothetical thought experiment. New Orleans offers the first case study of what can happen when a major American city replaces the old education system with one based on parental choice, school autonomy, and public accountability. The results are eye-opening.

Read more at National Review 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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