Orleans Public Education Network Presents

Public Education Week

October 21 - 25, 2019

Navigate. Advocate. Lead.

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An event series helping the community understand, navigate and advocate in the public education system

Just Published!

Webinar 1: “The Good, Bad and Ugly of Parent Advocacy,” with Ashana Bigard

Throughout the week of October 21-25th, Orleans Public Education Network (OPEN), along with advocates, educators and parents across the city, will host Public Education Week: the only event series dedicated to bringing the entire public into the public education system, and training citizens to navigate the system, advocate for change, and increase equity and excellence for all students.

New Orleans is home to the first-ever school district of its kind: an all-charter public school system serving 44,000 students across 78 schools run by 38 different Charter Management Organizations. Under this new system, parents, students and advocates find themselves having to navigate an almost impossibly complex series of inaccessible choices. Most importantly, even after the system’s complete overhaul, inequitable experiences and outcomes persist and in some cases are even worse than pre-Katrina conditions.

Public Education Week is about information, navigation and advocacy, covering topics like: 

  • System navigation (special education laws, OneApp)
  • Sharing data and resources (public records, student rights)
  • Addressing equity matters (education access, differential outcomes by race and wealth)
  • And more!

School statistics, test scores and feel-good stories don’t tell us what we need to know about the quality of this education system. Public Education Week is about the community taking a critical approach, moving past reform and onto justice.

Orleans Public Education Network is an education policy advocacy organization that keeps the community informed and engaged in public education as well as trained to create and advocate for equitable and just education and other public policy. Through partnerships with community members, OPEN engages a cross-section of New Orleans to identify opportunities to create policy that truly reflects and supports our city’s future.

We Demand

All Public Education Week sessions center around OPEN’s six core demands for youth-facing policy in New Orleans:

Schools and school systems sharing power with families & communities

  • Prioritization of neighborhood student enrollment to strengthen school and community relationships and support family and school stability
  • Family representation on all charter school boards
  • Inclusive community participation in school contract authorizations, re-authorizations, school closings and takeovers

High quality academic programs taught by content specialists that respectfully incorporate students’ cultural frameworks in curriculum & teaching

  • Decolonization of gifted and talented programs, and expanded access to advanced and AP course work in middle and high school
  • Academic rigor through culturally relevant and critical pedagogy, where students come to understand their history accurately and develop deep social awareness and analysis of their world today
  • Access to technical training and professional mentoring in middle and high school for high-wage, high-demand careers and entrepreneurship
  • System-wide standards for a high quality, culturally conscious and inclusive curriculum

Clear equitable standards for school quality and accountability

  • school performance evaluation system that includes the school’s progress in addressing inequities for its underserved students
  • nationally benchmarked annual test that shows how well students in Louisiana are learning on par with their national peers
  • System-wide standards for a high quality, culturally conscious, empathic educator and school leadership community

Respectful and restorative school environments and practices

  • Affirming, anti-racist, gender-, language- and ability-inclusive and joyful school cultures that in no way, shape or form resemble prison or work plantation cultures, erase students culture or emphasize dehumanizing, gendered, racist or culturally elitist respectability politics
  • Restorative practices that hold both students and schools accountable for positive learning and social environments

High quality, healthy and resourced schools in every neighborhood

  • Top rated schools in every New Orleans neighborhood with proven success in improving academic outcomes for underserved student subgroups
  • School-district level health and wellness services for students and families including access to college and life counselors, mental and physical health professionals and community health education

Addressing the education debt owed to Black and other marginalized students of color and students with different abilities

  • School funding that adequately provides for students’ unique abilities, needs and gifts
  • Additional funding support for specialized schools serving unique student populations that ensures children aren’t deprived of needed academic programs and supports due to small enrollment gaps at the school level