Saturday, March 08, 2008

from Sophmom on the last post:
47 schools is a lot of schools to tear down. It did seem to me like the article in your link indicated that these mid 20th century buildings left much room for improvement.

Am I foolish and naive to think that we could be embarking on a period of flowering amidst rebuilding?
From me:

Yeah, there is room for improvement. The question is whether or not it will actually get DONE. Enlisting Parsons on a major rebuilding endeavor such as this one is does not bode well for the future of the facilities under the RSD.

Make no mistake - I WANT there to be a flowering. Most signs, however, do not point in that direction. And, as for these schools left to rot, they are, in most cases, sitting on more than enough land on which to make additions and improvements. The portable classrooms were longtime stopgaps for what should have been done in the first place to these schools. What contributed to their sorry states before the floods was the mismanagement of money that was well-documented in the film Left Behind.

What is missing here is, STILL, that accountability.

Oh, and for more school idiocy, head for AshMo's. Who says the charters are immune to administrative idiocy?

Quick history lesson: Lusher is supposed to be one of the best schools in the city. Parents love it, the students love it. Historically, Lusher drew about half of their students from a geographic district (gif map here, kml map here), and about half tested in. The racial makeup of the school mirrored the racial makeup of New Orleans.

Enter Katrina and the Federal Flood. Scott Cowen, President of Tulane, rightfully thought that to bring Tulane employees back, they would need the incentive of a good school for their children. So he got Tulane to blackmail donate a vast amount of money to Lusher.

In return, all Tulane employees can send their kids to Lusher, regardless of test scores, race, or where they live.

Problem: now, too many Tulane employees are taking advantage of Cowen's blackmail the Tulane Lusher benefit.

What does this mean? Too few slots, too many kids that want to go there.

What happens now?

The Tulane parents still can get their kids in there, no problem.

The geographic district pays the price. And God help you if you have to test in.


Ashley said...

Why is it that the concept of "fixing what we have" instead of tearing shit down is just so foreign to these people.

Leigh C. said...

There just isn't enough money in fixing what's broke, least, maybe not enough money going to the "right" people and places.

Sophmom said...

I fear you're right, Leigh, that the profit margins are better in rebuilding. Somewhere in the middle lies what's best. Not all new construction is bad. Maybe, just maybe, things are starting to be done differently now. Maybe, just maybe the old back room dirty days are numbered if not done?

Leigh C. said...

There ARE greater profit margins in rebuilding, but there are also good profit margins in cutting corners. I want to believe that things will get better. I just want the accountability along with it.

Infuriatingly, a friend of mine who worked at the OPSB's best high school, one that is now a charter, blames it on the fact that the principals of the abandoned schools didn't fight their closings. She says good riddance to the schools. I got really angry - it is not ONLY the principal's responsibility in these situations. The folks in the community have been so disconnected from the schools for so long that ANY thing is looking like up to them.

Hope isn't the only thing that's dying. A demand for a basic right that people have - to know what will happen in and to their communities - is eluding these folks, who have been beaten down quite a bit by circumstances.

How do they - and we - get that sense of interest and that questioning spirit back again?

swampwoman said...

Leigh - would you please consider corresponding with me privately concerning public schools in New Orleans? My BF has unexpectedly acquired custody of his child and he, nor I know where to begin to get her enrolled. And if you are unsure, if perhaps you know of anywhere I can get information, unless you feel the NOLA school district website is sufficient. I know the RSD office is on Poydras, but not much else.

My e-mail

thanks so very much