This article presents a youth participatory action research (YPAR) study, which was conducted through a theoretical lens incorporating the social justice youth policy framework and Critical Race Theory. Led by youth from the Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association (VAYLA), the study explored the impacts of post-Katrina school reforms on student experiences at six New Orleans high schools. The findings from the study exposed troubling educational disparities by race, class, limited English status, and geography. The YPAR project’s results counter neoliberal reform advocates’ narrative of a post-Katrina New Orleans school “miracle.” This article illuminates YPAR as both research method and pathway for the future of urban school reform to include youth as engaged stakeholders.



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