Education Reform in New Orleans
It’s our second day in New Orleans for our story in public education reform in the Big Easy, and we have already been inspired by a handful of remarkable educators who are using innovative concepts to make a real difference for the kids who need the most help. Johannes and I experienced first hand the impact Alissa Rutledge is having on students at Dibert elementary school during her second year of Teach for America, saw how principal Adam Meinig is turning under-served children into young scholars and community leaders at KIPP Believe, and spoke on the phone with Paul Pastorek, the controversial superintendent for education in Louisiana.
What Mr. Pastorek and fellow reformer Paul Vallas (who we will meet in person on Sunday) are undertaking here has been described as historic and ambitious by critics and supporters alike. The best — and certainly most comprehensive — summary of their struggle to turn one of the worst public education system in the country around was published in August 2008 by Paul Tough, editor at the New York Times Magazine. It’s a must-read for anybody interested in New Orleans, public education, and social policy.
Here are some of the educational superheroes we met: