Sarah Carr
Sarah Carr is a senior editor. She has written about education for the last 13 years, reporting on battles over school vouchers, efforts to educate China’s massive population of migrant children, and the explosion of charter schools in post-Katrina New Orleans. She is the author of Hope Against Hope, a nonfiction account of New Orleans schools post Hurricane-Katrina, which she reported with the support of a Spencer Education Journalism Fellowship at Columbia University. Carr has contributed to the New York Times, the Daily Beast, Time, the Miami Herald, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, New Orleans public radio and numerous other media outlets. She has won several national awards, including from the Education Writers Association for her work at Hechinger. Carr is a graduate of Williams College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Why are black students being paddled more in the public schools?

LEXINGTON, MISS. — Students in this central Mississippi town quickly learn that even minor transgressions can bring down the weight of the paddle. Seventh grader Steven Burns recounts getting smacked with it for wearing the wrong color shirt; Jacoby Blue, 12, for failing to finish her homework on time; and Curtis Hill, 16, for defiantly […]

Common Core has students writing — on just about every subject

In the early elementary school grades, Zachary Davis and his classmates at Belle Chasse Primary School in suburban New Orleans wrote almost entirely from personal experience: describing their ideal vacation, trying to convince readers that a longer school year would be a good (or bad) idea, penning a letter about their adventures during summer break.

Out of the mouths of babes and trumpeters: Documentary triumphs in its child-centered perspective

NEW ORLEANS – Many of my favorite moments in ‘The Whole Gritty City,’ a new documentary about the power of school marching bands in New Orleans, feature everyday glimpses of the city’s kids just being, well, kids: There’s the look of embarrassment and pride on an 11-year-old trumpeter’s face when his family calls out to […]

How to boost college graduation rates for black and Latino males

While black and Latino men attending community college have some of the highest educational aspirations of any racial or gender group, they are also the least likely to achieve those dreams. That’s one of several worrisome findings included in “Aspirations to Achievement: Men of Color and Community Colleges,” a new report from the Center for […]

Will Louisiana’s students be ready for online testing?

NEW ORLEANS — Starting next school year, thousands of Louisiana schoolchildren will begin taking standardized tests online as the state moves to a new test aligned with the Common Core curriculum standards. But a new report released by the Louisiana Department of Education suggests that about one-third of the state’s districts still have to purchase […]

After countless setbacks, New Orleans teens make final effort to earn their high school diplomas

Just a few months ago, Kendrell New felt stuck. The 20-year-old had bounced between several different New Orleans high schools since Hurricane Katrina, before finding one she liked. But a diploma still eluded her. New kept failing Louisiana’s graduate exit exam in math — a test she needed to pass in order to graduate. Math had never come easy for her.

How to stop the revolving door of teachers, principals at charter schools

Nationally, many charter school networks have higher rates of teacher and administrator turnover than their traditional school counterparts. In New Orleans, where nearly 90 percent of the public school children attend charters, the problem is particularly acute as young schools struggle to keep their teachers and leaders for the long-haul. Related stories When charter schools […]

Black colleges face uphill battle to survive

NEW ORLEANS — Jasmine Stewart applied to only one college — the historically black Southern University at New Orleans. It was near home, willing to take her despite her mixed academic record, and comparatively cheap. Stewart also didn’t want her mother, a hotel housekeeper, to have to pay more than one application fee. But after […]

Parents return to school to help children with Common Core-inspired homework

Editor’s note: This is the second in an occasional series looking at how Belle Chasse Primary School, in suburban New Orleans, is adjusting to the Common Core standards that are reshaping teaching in classrooms throughout Louisiana. The first story in the series, done in partnership with The Advocate and New Orleans public radio, can be […]

In New Orleans and nationally, a growing number of charter schools aspire to be ‘diverse by design’

NEW ORLEANS — When a group of Mid-City residents proposed opening a school four years ago that would be racially and economically diverse, they were greeted with doubt. Skeptics thought Morris Jeff would end up like most other public schools in the city: almost entirely African American and low-income. “The understanding (was) that you guys […]

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