A new generation of black teachers are part of New Orleans’ schools revival, writes Citizen (Chris) Stewart, who grew up in the city and attended neighborhood schools.
The Orleans Parish School Board — not “white school reformers” — put the city’s teachers on unpaid “disaster leave” because the schools were closed, he writes. That enabled teachers to collect unemployment benefits.
When schools reopened, the Recovery School District required that teacher candidates pass a basic skills test. “One third of the returning teachers failed that test,” writes Stewart.
“Veteran” and “experienced” don’t necessarily mean “quality,” he argues.
(Critics say) the fired black teachers “knew the kids” and “were the backbone of the black middle class.”
. . . The children of New Orleans deserve every shot at a good life we can proivde them. We can’t get there by viewing schools as a jobs program for the black bourgeoisie.
. . . Yes, some of the previous NOLA schools had many lovely, dedicated people working hard in a deeply dysfunctional system that blocked them from doing their best work.
At the same time, many others needed to go.
Today, 54 percent of NOLA teachers and 58 percent of RSD school leaders are black, writes Stewart. Blacks make up 59 percent of the city’s population.
“Great black school leaders and educators are working hard in a new system with many hopeful new possibilities,” he concludes. This time, growth of the black middle class is linked to “academic results for poor black children.”
Resurgence, by Public Impact and New Schools for New Orleans, analyzes what’s changed in NOLA.
74 Million’s Matt Barnum answers critics who downplay progress in NOLA schools.
Music is vital for community and culture, reports Ed Week.