When I first began working as an educator reporter within New Orleans in late 2012 I was greeted with that phrase over and over again. The city was just seven years removed from the post-Katrina educational revolution, which took over all public schooling from the seven-member Orleans Parish School Board. The city saw unheard of academic gains following the transition to a nearly universal charter-school system, but the possibility of it was like the same as the next storm. It was a matter of giving OPSB power , the people claimed, and the schools would regress right back the way they came from.

 

School board candidates who wanted the district to return to its former job and who were adamant about charters, claiming they were private education for billionaires were defeated in elections after elections, including in the fall of 2020. As schools switched students between in-person and online schooling and a surge in Covid-19 cases as well as renewed calls for justice for the racial minority Something unexpected transpired. In the wake of 15 years of being hemming within the district, the community began seeking to expand the scope of their work.