Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Five Years After The Storm


It’s been 5 years since the flood waters ravished the streets of Louisiana. Hurricane Katrina had destroyed homes, damaged landmarks and left the city in disarray and despair. New Orleans at one point, seemed to have been lost to the storm, but after the waters receded, a ray of hope emerges.

Before the hurricane the schools in New Orleans was deemed unsatisfactory by the locals as. Cash-strapped and under-performing, education sat on the back burner. From 2000 to 2004, enrollment in the schools declined from 77, 610 to 64,920 and an increasing amount of people were dropping out altogether.

In 2005, the state of Louisiana deemed 64 percent of the city’s schools “academically unacceptable. But when Katrina hit at the end of August 2005, the city was wiped clean of its students and teachers as they were forced to evacuate. And in November, the Legislature expressed an emergency session to give the state the authority to take over the school’s districts it considered to be “academically in crisis.”

The “Recovery School District” was then instituted taking 1-7 under-performing Orleans Parish public schools in the city under the states control. Private organizations converted the ailing schools into charter schools and left 16 schools that performed above the state average standard before Katrina.

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Today the schools have greatly improved as the Cowen Institute recently reported that just 42 percent of New Orleans schools are “academically unacceptable.” This is wonderful news seeing as the numbers went down from 64 percent from before Katrina.

Education in the Big Easy dramatically improved despite the horrific disaster. The rebuilding of 85 schools damaged during the hurricane acts as a symbol of faith in the next generation’s future. And it just goes to show that good things can come out of a bad situation.

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