Changes in the Education Sector in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina
As it was passing through the Gulf of Mexico, it strengthened as it proceeded through the Gulf coast sweeping from Florida all the way to Texas. Katrina caused severe damages before hitting New Orleans fast and furiously. Consequently, a lot of lives and property were lost in the process. Approximately 80% of the residents residing in New Orleans were relocated from their homes with the hope of finding alternative shelter in safer locations on higher grounds (Harris 1). As soon as Katrina hit New Orleans, severe flooding occurred as a result of huge storm surges that catalyzed the failure of the levees to give way. A lot of progress has since been realized. Education in New Orleans In this paper, I will describe the status of education before and after Katrina.
Immediately Hurricane Katrina descended on New Orleans on the 29th of August year 2005, the state government of Louisiana envisioned this as the opportunity of rehabilitating the education system. Before Katrina happened, the state government invested minimal resources in the public schools predominately attended by the minority groups (Harris 1). The government allocated less cash per student as opposed to the country’s average expenditures. After the adverse effects of the Hurricane in 2005, the governor alongside the state representatives resolved to undertake significant changes in various public institutions of learning in New Orleans by placing most of them under the jurisdiction of the RSD. The aftermath of Katrina led to the rapid expansion of the RSD and increased the number of charter schools, as well as educators and administrators (Sims et al.
Amidst all this, the residents of New Orleans hoped this would lead to better education standards to the thousands of students struggling in the city of New Orleans. The government did its part by exaggerating the thought that because the hurricane damaged a considerable amount of the available facilities, it would be more or less a new beginning for the city. According to them, this would the perfect time to rebuild and institute changes to the education sector (Harris 1). Subsequently, the State enacted Act 35 which demands lawmakers to increase the authority of the government to assume control of failing institutions in the Orleans Parish School Board and come up with a new definition of failing to include various public schools in New Orleans that formerly did not meet the description of failing (Harris 1).
Also, the legislators were expected to enhance the government-controlled RSD within New Orleans and permit RSD to undertake its activities in tandem with the OPSB as a duals school structure. This legislation sounded very promising to the residents of New Orleans. It made them feel like the authorities was instituting alterations to better the learning outcomes of the struggling children. Still, in as much as the government tried to revive the education system, there were numerous systemic breakdowns to the initial RSD strategy. The provisions that were allocated to them and the condition of the premises within the school were enough to make many tutors give up in the course of their first week of teaching. Immediately the educators began teaching at their new stations it became a reality how difficult it would be to prepare students.
This was because of the dwindling education standards and the ill-prepared of the school facilities. Prior to Katrina, most public institutions of learning had established attendance regions that dictated where children would be enrolled in schools. Immediately after Katrina, the RSD alongside the OPSB abolished these attendance sectors that permitted students and parents to contribute in determining their preferred school zones (Goldberg 1). Once RSD became aware of this, it advocated for the opening of more schools. This only worsened the underlying challenge of poorly-equipped infrastructure together with ineligible or untrained tutors (Harris 1). Although Katrina gave a sense of hope for the thousands of families and individuals living in New Orleans, many of these hopes were destroyed when reality soon began to set in.
In as much as the RSD gained the people’s confidence by hurriedly opening institutions and changing how the education sector operated, numerous short term misdemeanors arose due to the RSD. The incomplete and unsupplied lecture rooms resulted in unpleasant teaching and learning experiences for both students and their tutors (Harris 1). Besides, the proficiency percentage of black students increased from 21% to 59%. This is even higher than the state overall. Moreover, all schools in New Orleans have chartered schools and have a local governance board. This has allowed maximum input from the citizens and parents of the community (Nieland 1). The new decentralized education system of New Orleans has benefited students and their families in ways that could previously not be imagined. "After Katrina, Here’s How New Orleans Improved Education, Low-Income Housing, Health Care.
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