New Orleans

High school football makes a comeback in New Orleans

Charter schools cut football to win minds. Now to win hearts, they’re bringing it back.

In 2008, three years after Hurricane Katrina, Joey LaRoche returned to his native New Orleans to teach math.

Through Teach for America, he was assigned to teach in a charter school. After Katrina, the state legislature had wrested control of New Orleans’ public schools from the local school board and turned most of the schools into charters. These new schools needed to address the city’s abysmal test scores and graduation rates, so they put more resources into academics and college preparation. Many schools cut extracurricular activities, including football.

Test scores and graduation rates went up, but thousands of mostly black teachers were dismissed and thousands of students were suspended or expelled due to zero-tolerance discipline policies. Relations between the schools and the community suffered.

Now, in an effort to mend fences and to provide students with a more well-rounded education, some schools are bringing football back. LaRoche, now principal at KIPP Renaissance High School, is among those leading the charge. He sees football as a piece of New Orleans culture that shouldn’t be sacrificed.

The Hechinger Report’s Emmanuel Felton recently wrote about the return of football to New Orleans schools, and discusses his article in this week’s episode of Educate.

Letters

Letters to the Editor

Send us your thoughts

At The Hechinger Report, we publish thoughtful letters from readers that contribute to the ongoing discussion about the education topics we cover. Please read our guidelines for more information.

By submitting your name, you grant us permission to publish it with your letter. We will never publish your email. You must fill out all fields to submit a letter.





No letters have been published at this time.