Friday, October 16, 2009

What N.O. students told Duncan

Finally visits a 'non-charter'

Arne Duncan
, traveling to New Orleans with Obama for a brief stopover, got an earful from McDonough High School students:

During a conversation that lasted for more than an hour, school officials repeatedly tried to usurp the students Duncan had come to hear, going on at length about the district's technology iniatives and funding challenges...

...But the most compelling testimony came from the students. Other students described finding themselves stranded in the Iberville housing project, and wading through miles of water to make it to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center or the Superdome, staying there for more than a week without enough food or sanitary bathrooms, boarding buses to unknown destinations without their family, moving from town to town and missing months of school, and the ultimate return to a city that was unprepared to provide them safe homes or schools.
According to,
Duncan chose John McDonogh, a non-charter school in the state-run Recovery School District, partly because he had heard of the school's sharp turnaround over the last two years. In May, about 90 percent of the senior class graduated, a high for a school that had been defined for years by poor academic performance and a pre-Katrina campus shooting.

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