May 2008 Archives

After Katrina, there has been a lot of talk of citizen participation and its increase in New Orleans. At Douglass we have been experiencing this in a range of ways: absence of many pre-Katrina school and community leaders because of difficulty of returning, neighborhood residents building renewed commitment to and work in public education, and hindrances to full community involvement by policy restrictions, conflicting visions for the school, and lack of full, careful communication and consensus among all stakeholders. In the midst of our work in one neighborhood school, it is refreshing and encouraging to have students challenge us to ...


Today we feature one student’s reflections about the public school facilities issue in New Orleans. Alexandra Lear, a 2007 graduate of McMain Secondary School and staff member with Students at the Center, shares these thoughts as the city is going through a massive and controversial planning process for school facilities. As her essay illustrates, questions about equity in public school facilities are still a major issue in New Orleans. Schools in New Orleans Alexandra Lear On my Easter break I visited my older cousins who moved to Maryland after the hurricane. As soon as the plane landed the first ...


On Tuesday, May 6, the Recovery School District (RSD) superintendent, Paul Vallas, was 30 minutes late for a community meeting to discuss the school system’s plans for Douglass High School. Over 100 people attended, including well over half of the school’s faculty, who were eager to have an opportunity to hear directly from the superintendent. The audience, which also included students, parents, neighborhood residents, and community and educational organization representatives, began the meeting promptly at the appointed time, gleaning bits of information from a small group that had breakfast with Mr. Vallas the previous week. At that breakfast ...


Today’s entry is from Kirsten Theodore, who will graduate in June 2008 from Frederick Douglass High School, which she has described in a previous essay in this blog series as her dream school. This Tuesday (May 6, 2008) she along with a number of friends of Douglass High School, will meet with Paul Vallas, the Recovery School District superintendent who “moved” (his family remains in Chicago where he continues to float plans for another run for governor of Illinois) to New Orleans less than a year ago. He has brought with him a number of consultants and programs and ...


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  • Catherine: Today's entry is frightening. The contrast you present here is read more
  • Catherine: Dear Kirsten, This essay made me laugh. It's not often read more
  • catherine: Vinnessia, My students at Boston College read your essay and read more
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