2018 National Planning Conference

School Choice: Planning Lessons from NOLA

Sunday, April 22, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. CDT

Location: R07

CM | 1.25

Cost: Included in Registration

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC188207


  • Basic tenets of school choice as well as lessons learned from NOLA's school-choice reforms (which can also make for lively discussions at cocktail parties)
  • Implications of school choice for planning and the role for planners in the school-choice debate
  • Strategies for bringing the planning perspective to school choice/public ed decision-making


While the school choice debate has waged for years, it gained national attention when President Trump nominated Betsy DeVos to join his Cabinet and lead the U.S. Department of Education. More than 1.8 million students attend charter schools across the country, and 14 states provide state-funded school vouchers. School choice impacts where schools are located and how students get to school, yet the planning profession has had little impact or influence on any of these decisions. New Orleans has been at the center of the school choice debate. By 2014, all public-school students either attended a charter school or a district school that accepted students from anywhere within the city limits, creating the only all-choice school system in the country. This moderated discussion session, with panelists offering differing perspectives on the school choice debate, is an opportunity for planners to learn about the planning implications of school choice in NOLA. Has it increased segregation? Are schools equitably distributed throughout the city? Do low-income students have improved access to quality schools? The session will answers these questions while providing tips for planners to get more involved in public education in their own communities.

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This session has been identified as a great opportunity to learn about the local Louisiana/Mississippi gulf coast region.
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Session Speakers

Ellen Lee
City of New Orleans
New Orleans, LA

Kyle Wedberg
New Orleans, LA

Shannon Jaax, AICP
Kansas City Public Schools
Kansas City, MO

Lona Hankins
Recovery School District
New Orleans, LA

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