Time to get LOUD about Schools
WWL radio's ticker update, scrolling across the main page, is listing the most recent information about schools. I'm not at all surprised to see that Orleans Parish lists as "out for the year" - but it makes me angry nonetheless. What are they thinking?
Like many of you, I’m also a parent. Among many other things, that means I am continuously factoring the needs of my children into my decisions. It influences everything: where I eat, where I shop, and above all where I live. Because where one lives means friends, quality of life, and education. Schools.
Those people of Orleans Parish who (hopefully) can officially come back to their homes next week have a truly agonizing problem ahead. These areas, although not heavily damaged by flooding, or totally destroyed by the blast of Katrina’s rage, are part of a parish that has been crippled. Many people want to come home and help rebuild their communities and lives.
I was listening, just a moment ago, to WWL's live radio broadcast, and was pleased to hear an Algiers resident call in about exactly this problem: How can Algiers families come home without schools?
A letter published on NOLA.com, stated the problem clearly, in part quoted here:
"The closure of all Orleans Parish schools for up to an entire school year seems bizarre. How can a city exist without children? Isn't it obvious that many of the people we will need to restore our city - the sales people, the shop owners, the bus drivers, the restaurateurs, their staffs - are likely to be parents?"
No - a city cannot exist without children. A polimom reader was quite blunt:
"We operate our dental practice in Algiers and are concerned about rumors that the school board will cancel school this year. We want to strongly say that if we don't get the kids back we won't get many of the parents back."
One can’t be much more direct than this. As every parent knows, changing schools can be a painful experience, even in the best of times. These are not the best of times, and these kids have gone through a lot already.
If it’s true that Algiers schools are physically undamaged, then the officials need to step up and find a way to get these schools open. If the obviously broken school budget can't be used, then it is the State of Louisiana's responsibility to make this happen - and the electorate needs to make this clear.