Filed Under:  Education, Local, News

Education advocates devote month of October to policy change

1st October 2012   ·   0 Comments

By Mason Harrison
Contributing Writer

Local education advocates announced Sept. 27 plans to devote the entire month of October to achieving a revamped governance structure for the Orleans Parish School Board. The move comes in the waning weeks of the School Board race and as residents and elected officials increase talk about wresting control of area schools from the Recovery School District.

“This is the most important School Board race since 1906,” Deirdre Johnson Burel, who heads the Orleans Public Education Network, says. “I say that because 1906 was the first time we had an elected school board and the board after this election will be directly responsible for implementing a governance structure after we regain control of schools from RSD.”

Johnson Burel’s group will host a four-part series for residents to hammer out the best way to govern schools in New Orleans going forward. “This board has the ability to constitute itself in any of seven different forms,” notes Johnson Burel. “The question is what do we want and how to we want to achieve it in a way that’s best for parents and students.”

On Oct. 6, 13, 20 and 27, community members will meet to discuss various education topics throughout the city and vote on the best approach to a new governing plan at the final meeting.

“During the process,” according to information released by OPEN about the event, “community members will craft a vision for the future of public school governance; delineate values for the system; and identify and select school governance model(s) that are most aligned with the community’s vision and values.”

After voting on the best approach to overseeing education in the area, OPEN plans to push for changes in the way public schools are administered in New Orleans. “We’re not getting involved in politics,” Johnson Burel says. “We’re not planning to endorse any candidates, but non-profits have long been involved in shaping public policy and that’s what we plan to do.”

OPEN’s first meeting will take place at the Mahalia Jackson School followed in week two by another session at Andrew H. Wilson School. In week three, stakeholders will convene at the Knights of Columbus lodge in Lakeview and conclude the event at two locations—O. Perry Walker High School and Christian Unity Baptist Church—the following week.

For more information, contact OPEN at (504) 821-4004.

This article was originally published in the October 1, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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