MOSAIC NOLA:The Gentilly Project

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Reopened Schools and New Orelans Recovery

I used to think - as recently as a week ago - that opening schools was a background issue in New Orleans recovery. That was before seeing the city last week, and feeling the impact of this calamity for families.

Actionable step for NOLA Recovery #3: Opening temporary schools in Orleans Parish in January 2006, so that returning families can bring their children home and the process of creating an improved school system can begin.

There's a lot going on already with this issue. I haven't heard anyone defend New Orleans public schools and their pre-Katrina performance. There's a sense that rebuilding presents an opportunity to create better schools. Louisiana's governor will be taking over the city's low performing schools, which is most them, and the plan involves a creation of charter schools to replace public schools (I presume because there's more federal and other monies to create charter schools than for typical public schools).

What I'd like to do is post a timetable of opening schools in New Orleans, particularly in the flood-damaged areas of Orleans Parish and St. Bernard's Parish. I'm thinking particularly of the working-class families of the city. How can we expect them to return if schools for their children aren't open? Who is out there advocating for the opening of schools for these families by January?

It's hopeful to hear about schools of any kind opening in New Orleans - charter schools, Catholic schools, etc. However, I am also curious to know where the opening schools are located, and what socio-economic groups are being served. How can volunteers lend their support to rebuilding the city's education system if it's not clear where precisely the needs are?


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