Using New Orleans as a site of analysis, this article provides a critical race theory reading of a little studied policy mechanism, the charter school application and authorization process. Embedded and competing narratives within charter school applications are analyzed. The authorization process is the central gatekeeping mechanism in the reproduction of charter schools. The authorization process determines who gets to govern schools, including the freedom to set curriculum, discipline policies, personnel, utilization of funds, and their relationship to and role in the communities in which they are located. This article unpacks the community based and “no excuses” discourses within charter applications. It finds patterns of confluence between those narratives and the applicants’ racial and educational identities, suggesting that the authorization process worked as a site for the reproduction of racialized neoliberal dominance in post-Katrina New Orleans, disenfranchising local teachers and communities.
- charter school applications
- charter school authorization process
- critical race theory
- New Orleans post-Katrina studies
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