Rookie Teachers, Stressed Students Confront Realities of New Orleans’ Schools After Storm
Scores of teenagers streamed out of John McDonogh Senior High School in this city’s storied Treme neighborhood on a recent afternoon as a dozen security guards and city police officers stood watch along the sidewalk.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., they had gone to classes in the century-old school building where, since Hurricane Katrina struck, a heavy piece of chain link has substituted for a handle on the front door. At least 20 security guards and three New Orleans police officers were scattered throughout the three-story building, their presence meant to contain hostilities that have flared among students since they returned to their devastated hometown.
McDonogh High’s challenges, and similar hardship at other public schools that have reopened in New Orleans, were not part of the vision advanced by politicians and educators who saw the storm’s destruction as an unprecedented opportunity for schools. To them, Katrina, terrible though it was, had delivered a chance to rebuild an urban education system that was largely failing its students, most of whom...
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