Thursday, September 9, 2010

Speaking of New Orleans and the Miracle Hurricane

Surrounded by gutted homes in the Lower 9th Ward, Sen. John McCain promised that the federal government won't be so slow after the next big storm. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee toured a residential street with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, before addressing about 50 activists, journalists and Hurricane Katrina survivors in front of a church. Ironic, huh?(from 2008.)
To hear the charteristas tell it, Hurricane Katrina was the best thing that ever happened to New Orleans schoolkids.  Now they've got charter schools and all that creamy goodness. If one were waxing cynical, one might rename Katrina as "The Divine Wind", the kamikaze that overwhelmed the school system down there.

But then, if you actually go there and look around, the picture is not so rosy. Consider this on Women's eNews (8/29/10) by Kimberly Seals Allers,
When a few of the local community leaders came to address us, what they had to say about the Lower Ninth Ward was appalling but not surprising. They said that of the $90 million that the Federal Emergency Management Agency allocated to rebuilding the city, the Lower Ninth Ward has not received any money. Nobody has been told a definitive answer as to why.

They said the Lower Ninth Ward only has one working school for kindergarten through 12th grade. The school has 750 students and a 450-student-long waiting list. There are no hospitals in the area and God help you if you need emergency care and have to travel across the bridge and across town to get it. Many displaced residents, they added, would love to return to the area, but they can't because there are no schools and no real health care options for the elderly. The local community leaders expressed their outrage that tour companies bring busloads of people through the Lower Ninth Ward everyday to gawk at their despair, yet never share any of their profits or stop to support local businesses.
Kinda pisses you off, don't it? Tourists? Sure! Come and gawk at the poor people! One school that can't fit all the students? Who cares? 450 are on a waitlist. That's nearly 40% of the kids wanting an education from that school who are left out in the cold. Exactly what are they doing in the meantime? Charter Schools are the answer to all your education woes unless you're inconvenient, I guess.

LA should have rebuilt the public schools. They won't turn kids away.

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