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Editor’s Introduction to "leftover Children, Part Two"

In the September 2007 edition of Substance, we published the first part of the two-part story of the destruction of the public schools of New Orleans according to the Chicago “school reform” model. The destruction of the New Orleans public schools included the firing of all of the city’s unionized public school teachers, which resulted in the destruction of one of the most powerful African American union locals in the South and the most powerful union in the State of Louisiana.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the parent union of the United Teachers of New Orleans (UTNO), has compromised itself in the face of the attack on public education by the charter school movement. In part because the AFT allowed itself to be focused on the threat of vouchers, the national union compromised with the Bush administration on “No Child Left Behind.” Subsequently, ignoring even its own research, the AFT has been ambiguous in the face of the charter school attack on public schools. The largest local in the AFT, the United Federation of Teachers (New York City) supports charter schools.

At the same time, the AFT has issued an important report on what is taking place in New Orleans. “No Experience Necessary: How the New Orleans School Takeover Experiment Devalues Experienced Teachers” (June 2007) is a join publication of the AFT (555 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington, DC 2001), the Louisiana Federation of Teachers (9623 Brrokline Ave. Baton Rouge, LA 70809) and the United Teachers of New Orleans (303 S. Broad St., New Orleans, LA 70119). The 36-page report, issued in June 2007, is available at www.aft.org /presscenter /releases /downloads/NoExperReport_07pdf 



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