A new documentary called The Whole Gritty City zeroes in on New Orleans’ youngest musicians, many of whom haven’t yet lost all of their baby teeth. The film follows three school marching bands as they prepare to perform during Mardi Gras.
In this commentary, education writer Sarah Carr argues that The Whole Gritty City offers us a different kind of look at New Orleans schoolchildren.
In 2006, shortly after the floods that followed Katrina, one city plan advised turning the neighborhood of Broadmoor into a drainage park. Residents of the low-lying area had other ideas, and prevailed.
Today Broadmoor is not only thriving as a neighborhood, it wants to be an educational hub for the city. The neighborhood's vast array of programs expand the very idea of what education means.
The buzz of café sound greets you as soon as you step through the sleek, rectangular building at the intersection of Broad, Fountainbleu and Napoleon.
The Louisiana state education department recently found that one-third of school districts are falling short when it comes to computers. The state suggests one computer for every seven students.
Three districts — Cameron, St. Helena and St. James parishes — have reached a one-to-one ratio of students to computers. Most New Orleans schools, because they’re charters, were not included in the report. But technology in the classroom getting attention because of upcoming changes to testing.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation recently held auditions for its free music school. Called the Don "Moose" Jamison Heritage School of Music, the program offers high level music instruction for students ages 10-17.
Students meet on Saturday mornings and train to perform at local festivals and venues. Producer Mallory Falk brings us this audio postcard from the audition.
New Orleans will soon become the first city with an all-charter school district, but the education landscape looks much different across the rest of Louisiana. Many parishes have few or no charter schools, but that's starting to change.
The Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools recently hosted Apply Yourself!, a three-day training for people who want to start charter schools. Most people at the training were not from New Orleans, and many are trying to start the first charter school in their parish.
Just after Hurricane Katrina, the entire teaching staff of The Orleans Parish School Board was fired. Last week, a state appeals court ruled that those teachers were denied due process.
As the school system has rebuilt, there’s been a seismic shift in who is teaching in New Orleans — the city-wide pool of teachers looks different, in terms of race, age, how they came to the teaching profession, how long they’ve been teaching, and whether they are “from” New Orleans, or not.
When I first moved to New Orleans is 2001, I taught in a pretty rough public high school where I had an almost fatally hard time inspiring the kids to write. The traditional writing lessons and other tricks I knew weren’t getting to the students.
At the time I was doing a lot of writing about music for New Orleans magazines, so I devised for my students a sort of… English class, disguised as a music class. We call it music writing class.
Last week a state court of appeals ruled in favor of thousands of teachers who were fired just after Hurricane Katrina.
The court said more than 7,000 teachers were wrongly terminated, denied due legal process, and should have been considered for rehiring as schools reopened. The ruling, if upheld, would award the teachers years in back pay and benefits, though it’s not clear who would pay. The Orleans Parish School Board and the state have the option to appeal.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. In New Orleans, a court decision threatens to bankrupt the public school system. A state appeals court ruled that the school board for Orleans Parrish wrongly terminated some 7,000 teachers and other school employees after Hurricane Katrina. They're to be awarded two to three years back pay.