Hostile Takeover for New Orleans Schools?

For the past two and a half years, many individuals have had New Orleans and quite possibly the New Orleans Schools on their minds. Since Hurricane Katrina, the eyes of the nation have turned to this southern party-town and most have had eye-opening experiences. Did we know that there was so much poverty? So much crime and such low-performing schools in New Orleans? Probably not. New Orleans was the place to go to celebrate Mardi Gras, and little thought was ever given to those who made their home there.

Since the storm, there are still thousands of displaced people and families who have not returned to their homes. Perhaps they do not have homes to return to, or their old neighborhoods are still in ruins. Their schools have closed or been relocated. Some people may have even made lives for themselves elsewhere and have decided not to return. But for those who have, and especially for those with children of school-age, the condition (both physically and organizationally speaking) of the New Orleans Schools are a big consideration – one that must be taken into account before deciding to return.

New Orleans Schools have, in the past, been well known for being poor. Attended by poor students, taught by teachers who may lack vision, inspiration, or the desire to do a great job for their students, and led by a corrupt organization, New Orleans Schools have not enjoyed a good reputation. However, there are caring educators, administrators and other leaders in school the system of New Orleans who have taken the tragedy of the great storm as a personal challenge and see it as their opportunity to make some real education reform.

Other schools through Louisiana are facing some tough consequences for failure; the state has several schools that are doing so badly that Louisiana is washing her hands of them – literally. Searching for private organizations that would be willing to take on these problem schools, state education leaders are looking for someone else to fix their problems. How does this affect New Orleans? Currently, no New Orleans Schools can be found on this particular hit list; but it could happen. If the city does not get organized and committed to solving their education problems and learning from their past mistakes, it could soon occur.

For a city that has been so let down by the government agencies that are in place (supposedly) to help them, this author finds it hard to believe that the populace of New Orleans would willingly welcome any other outside organizations to try to help fix "the problems with New Orleans Schools. No, the problem must be fixed from the inside out, and the parents, teachers, students, administrators and leaders (elected or otherwise) of New Orleans Schools must work hard, cooperatively, to ensure that their schools do improve, and stay improved.

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