We Deserve Better
One of the most startling moments of the (at least) year-long culture shock I experienced when I first moved to New Orleans from New York in 2002 took place in a public middle school. I was there trying to teach an after-school newspaper class -- I say trying, because I quickly found out many of my students considered reading and writing to be forms of punishment, who hadn't been taught to do either and resented being asked to try, especially *after* school.
The state's dreaded standardized test, the LEAP, was coming up soon, and I noticed that there were construction paper signs all over the shabby bulletin boards warning/encouraging the kids: "Have faith in yourself, and you will pass the LEAP"..."Pray, and God will see you through the LEAP." It was so depressing to me that the message these kids were getting, from the teachers no less, was that they needed a miracle -- not actual education -- to make it to the next grade.
So when people here point to the "positive" impact that Katrina had on shaking up the broken public school system, it's hard not to agree, and I do think it'll bear out in the long run. But for the kids currently in the chaotic school system, it's a continuing disaster.
Still, that the kids who evacuated now have some awareness of the bum deal they've been getting represents a seismic shift, and last night the news reported on a Town Hall meeting where the students themselves were invited to give their input. These kids were more articulate, and more on point, than anyone currently on the City Council, and it was pretty amazing to hear them represent themselves so well when every other facet of this society has failed to.
The girl in this clip put it so simply: "We deserve better."
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Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
rock culture approximately
Rebuilding Gulf Culture after Katrina
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Art from the American Outback
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
No genre is the new genre
John Rockwell on the arts
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Martha Bayles on Film...
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
Jerome Weeks on Books
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Elizabeth Zimmer on time-based art forms
Public Art, Public Space
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog