On Thursday, a Louisiana judge ruled that thousands of New Orleans school employees were wrongfully fired after Hurricane Katrina shut down the entire city in 2005.
The ruling awards more than $1 million to seven people who filed the class-action suit against the New Orleans school board and the state, according to WDSU.com.
“Hurricane Katrina gave education reformers a convenient excuse to completely remake the education landscape in New Orleans in their vision. Since then, New Orleans schools have indeed been completely remade; the city now boasts the highest percentages of students who are enrolled in charter schools anywhere in the country, and aggressively adopts school reforms that push for the privatization of the school system,” said Julianne Hing, Colorlines.com’s education reporter.
“This ruling will never be able to undue those years of sweeping change, but it’s important to know that those firings are what allowed for the ‘Teach for Americanization,’ if you will, of New Orleans schools. Without these now-illegal firings, we certainly would be in a different place today,” Hing went on to say.
There are an estimated 7,000 employees that were fired that could come forward seeking damages. That is, if school officials don’t appeal the case.