Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Greatest Education Lab

A great article in Time magazine by Teach for America chairman Walter Isaacson about the remarkable things happening in New Orleans -- and the education reform rock stars driving it: Sarah Usdin, Matt Candler, Jon Schnur, Paul Vallas, Kim Smith, TFA, KIPP, the Gates, Broad and Fisher foundations, etc.

   There are those who argue that some  parents will not have the ability or inclination to find the right school for  their kids. But I'm convinced that all parents--rich and poor--benefit when  they get to make their own choices         
    rather than be subjected to a monopoly  provider. So I am optimistic. If the experiment succeeds, even in part, it has  the chance to transform urban education nationwide. That's why I'm excited  that so many smart and
    spirited activists--innovative and imaginative and  dedicated to the cause of ensuring that every kid in America gets a decent  shot--are surging to New Orleans

The Greatest Education Lab
Thursday, Sep. 06, 2007 By WALTER ISAACSON,9171,1659767,00.html

Paul Vallas, the man who took over the troubled school systems of Chicago and then Philadelphia and upended them, stood before a crowd of New Orleans parents in a French Quarter courtyard earlier this summer and offered a promise. "This will be the greatest opportunity for educational entrepreneurs, charter schools, competition and parental choice in America," he said. Call it the silver lining: Hurricane Katrina washed away what was one of the nation's worst school systems and opened the path for energetic reformers who want to make New Orleans a laboratory of new ideas for urban schools.

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