Heretical Discourses in Post-Katrina Charter School Applications

Kevin Lawrence Henry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2609-2643
Number of pages35
JournalAmerican Educational Research Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • New Orleans post-Katrina studies
  • charter school applications
  • charter school authorization process
  • critical race theory
  • neoliberalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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