Extensive research has conclusively shown that teacher and school leader quality is the variable that has the most profound impact on student achievement. Research has also shown low-income children disproportionately experience low-quality teaching, resulting in low-income students performing at lower levels in all core subject areas, particularly in Louisiana. Highly effective schools are one of the key levers for creating high performing, non-selective urban schools.
The presence of African American leaders and advocates in education is declining and is significantly lower than the racial makeup of the children in schools. Education reform in New Orleans is often referred to as one of the brighter spots of the uneven post-Hurricane Katrina recovery in New Orleans. Of the many public systems that were troubled before the storm (including health care, public housing, criminal justice, and education), the changes in public education following the storm have probably received the most attention and the most praise and, in some cases, the most criticism. Since 2005, New Orleans schools have seen considerable gains in student performance across all grade levels. Graduation and ACT rates have increased to promising levels over the last ten years, but our local communities, especially the African American community, is concerned about the charter landscape. The African American community's displeasure largely stems from the firing of 7,500 displaced teachers and school employees in the aftermath of Katrina.
Over the past five years, the Alliance for Diversity & Excellence, a group of African American community leaders from the Greater New Orleans area, has begun to advocate for charter schools and autonomy for all students and parents. Our goals are simple and listed below.