The New Orleans Education Version of “Flag Decal”

Jun 1, 2012 by

It wasn’t intentional, the education reference, but it ended up in OffBeat magazine’s recap of this past year’s JazzFest:

“It turns out showing up for morning meetings and playing folk songs won’t get your kid into Lusher”—Ani DiFranco in the Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage on the limits of folk music.

(Incidentally, Alex Rawls, who took down that quote, is headed off to do his own thing at MySpiltMilk.Com. Keep an eye on that site.)

I’m weary of all the public education hoo-ha, I won’t lie. At the same time, I know that to even admit that is a terrible weakness in the current climate of public education today. It is something that too many people who want to privatize public education are counting on: that most of us are so frazzled from the economy and the everyday that any change at all looks like good change. That didn’t stop the many parents I saw from attending a virtual education meeting held at a branch of the New Orleans Public Library this past Tuesday. Parents who care are still looking for options, even in Louisiana, where the good options are either very expensive or their attainment becomes a full-time occupation with no monetary remuneration.

Even when there is a certain amount of cash back, as with the vouchers, it’s going to be a fight to the death to place your child in a better school – in Orleans Parish alone, there are only 1029 seats available. Will there be different standards for these voucher students? Maybe, but they’ve first got to clear up some thorny problems of how some schools got approved for more voucher seats than they could possibly accommodate. And right now, the very constitutionality of the funding of the vouchers is being called into question…but not enough for them to lose their funding.

Yes, it takes much more these days than merely being a taxpaying American citizen to get a good education for your children – as it has to varying degrees throughout history, I know. But why we make it this hard is still a mystery to me.


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