Mardi Gras season is upon us, which means there are more days that our children are not in school. Between Mardi Gras, Christmas, summer, fall and spring breaks, in-services and professional development days as well as inevitable storms, when are kids in school? Hard rain on the first day of school — cancel it. Have a winning football season — we’ll take off for that too. Absences due to New Orleans’ traditions combined with the archaic custom of an agrarian school calendar are self-imposed barriers to educational progress.
New Orleanians often have to justify why they live in their city, perhaps more frequently than other Americans. Whether it's with friends, family or themselves, it's a conversation most residents will have. But perhaps the answer is more universal than we think.
New Orleans has a literacy problem. More than a quarter of the working-age population in the New Orleans metro are low-skilled and likely low-literate. There is a mismatch between the educational levels of our workforce and the 14 years of education required for available positions.
As important as our current school reforms are to the future of the city, the impact of its graduates won’t be felt for decades. Two-thirds of New Orleans’ 2025 labor pool is working-age adults, meaning — if we want to become a more literate and productive city — we must make significant investments in adult education.
Gun control, gun control, gun control. In spite of this holiday season, I’ve heard the phrase “gun control” more than “peace on earth.” As an educator in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, there would be few better presents for me than a national ban on assault weapons, body armor and high volume magazines. Yet I have to admit that while a national ban would be a tremendous political gift, I don’t see it as a watershed solution to our culture of violence. The discourse of gun control must quickly transition towards peace if we want substantive change.