Brendan Miniter has a piece on OpinionJournal today on the opportunity New Orleans has with rebuilding its educational system, one of the worst in the nation. I can personally testify to how bad things are in some of the schools there; I spent a few days at a single elementary school, troubleshooting some classroom Macintosh-printer set-ups. The school’s HVAC system was offline, and had been for weeks. The teachers were mulling along as best they can, keeping the windows cracked so the rooms wouldn’t get stuffy, and running fans. You can imagine, however, trying to teach a bunch of third-graders with three or four box fans going at once.
Lack of funds was the reason for a less-timely repair of the system. I was there as an independent contactor, called out by the principal, because there was no one on the district’s IT staff with any Macintosh knowledge.
One aspect of rebuilding the New Orleans public school system that Miniter brings up is something I have long been in favor of: break the back of the teachers’ union. The myriad “education” unions in this country have only served to hinder the success of our children in public schools, and that is evident in New Orleans, and most of Louisiana. No, the teachers’ union is not the only problem with the school system, but if it is not providing a solution, it’s proving a hindrance.
As Miniter says, there is a unique opportunity in New Orleans now, and that is to build an educational system from the ground up. The Crescent City has a chance to be a beacon for the rest of the nation. We pray they seize it.posted on September 6, 2005 11:32 AM