‘Blackboard Wars’ in New Orleans

Blackboard Wars, a six-part documentary on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network looks at the struggle to turn around New Orleans’ John McDonogh High School, which has been known for low performance, high dropout rates and violence. The Recovery School District consider closing the school, but instead gave control to Future is Now (FIN) Schools, a charter group run by Steve Barr, Green Dot‘s founder, who worked on the turnaround of Locke High in Los Angeles. Dr. Marvin Thompson took over as principal and  hired a new staff.

Some community members oppose turning “John Mc” over to “outsiders,” writes Dave Walker in a Times-Picayune review. Others complain the documentary too harsh.

The final minute of the premiere is a preview of the season to come. A student shooting. More fighting. More heat from community activists. Sobbing teachers. Future Is Now CEO Steve Barr saying, “Teachers are just getting their asses kicked.”

“I know what y’all are capable of,” Thompson says at a student assembly at the end of the premiere’s season-preview segment. “The question is, do you?”

The first episode aired Feb. 16 on OWN.

Yesterday, a teenager was shot at a bus stop near the school after a fight broke out between students.


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  1. Louisiana is one of the most corrupt states in the Union; and New Orleans is corrupt even by Louisiana standards. Throw in racism (whites hating blacks AND blacks hating whites), the black subculture of dependence, violence, drugs, and hatred of education, and you’ve got a recipe for total disaster.

    • And you knw this how? The corruption I can agree with but your comment about “blacks hating education” is like saying all “whites” are serial killers. Unless you are black then you can’t comment on the subculture of blacks because the most you probably know about blacks is what you see on TV, If thats true then that means is you will buy into any and everything you see.