Post Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana’s troubled education system was at the forefront of national news. The focus on New Orleans brought hundreds of leaders and innovators to the area—many of them with Teach For America roots. Less than a decade after disaster, great progress has been made to turn around failing schools in New Orleans.
But just to the north of the city, students in Baton Rouge and rural Louisiana communities are facing the same massive obstacles to an excellent education as their peers in New Orleans.
Here, the burgeoning success stories of our southern neighbors are often met with skepticism. Can schools really be improving? Can our kids actually do better? This culture of low expectations is self-perpetuating and ultimately destructive for our students’ futures.
Alongside community efforts, we are determined to prove skeptics wrong and improve outcomes for students, classrooms, and schools in South Louisiana. Our corps members and alumni, now 350 strong and teaching more than 12,000 students, are creating proof points of success every day. From students winning scholarships that were once unthinkable, to new models of schools providing what is possible, to applications from schools and leaders to work in our community, we’re seeing strong progress in South Louisiana – but that isn’t enough. Inspired by their determination, and with the knowledge that change is possible, we are working to pick up speed, grow our numbers, and play a larger role in the movement to ensure all kids in South Louisiana have access to an excellent education.