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2. Great School Choices in Every Neighborhood

Currently, too few parents in our city choose their neighborhood public school for their children:

  • 86% of children in New Orleans public schools attend a school other than the one closest to their home
  • The majority of parents choose a school in One App for their number one choice that is outside their geographic zone.
  • School transportation costs have more than doubled since before Katrina and many of our children are riding buses for long hours to get to and from their school of choice.

If you live in New Orleans, you are used to people talking about how hard it is to get into the "good schools" like Lusher or Lake Forest. My vision for the future is that every public school is as good as these magnet schools, and it doesn't take a lucky lottery ticket to receive an excellent education.

Research from Tulane University suggests parents in our community are looking for more than just strong test scores. Families have a strong preference for schools with robust extracurricular activities, and want their children to receive a well-rounded education, as well as opportunities to be challenged and accelerated academically.

Our schools need to expand and differentiate programming to ensure every child receives a comprehensive education, which includes:

  • Expanded programming in music and the arts
  • More schools with gifted and talented programs
  • Enhanced career and technical preparation
  • Robust athletic programs starting at an early age
  • Foreign language instruction
  • Diverse extracurricular activities before and after school.

At New Orleans College Prep (NOCP) schools, I led the expansion of music, technology, and athletics in our schools with a continuum of programming from PK-12th grades.  NOCP schools added over 20 different extracurricular offerings after school through a federal 21st Century grant program. I know what it takes to ensure our public schools provide a holistic educational program for all children.

A bright future for every child means we have to expose our children to a diverse set of programming options, inspire students to find their passion, and support every student to reach his/her full potential. A bright future for every child means a bright future for New Orleans.

Ben Kleban for School Board
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