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August 27th, 2009
07:44 AM ET

Rebuilding New Orleans' public schools

In our special series "After the Storm," we're taking a look at how New Orleans is bouncing back – four years after Hurricane Katrina nearly drowned the city.

The devastation has been well-documented, but the city's school system was crumbling even before the storm hit. And as CNN's Sean Callebs tells us, Katrina was a new beginning.

Filed under: After the Storm
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Noneen

    New Orleans Schools
    The new Recovery School System did not hire many former teachers and principals. Most Black male principals were not rehired. Teach for America teachers with 5 maybe 6 or 7 weeks of teacher training were brought in. Other people from out of state were brought inn and hired. Many substitute teachers were hired through a temporary agency at $65.00 per day with no benefits. This amounts to “playing school “ especially since most students did not have books to take home.
    I was put on surplus status, in May, with two graduate degrees. The Superintendent believes the new Teach for America teachers are 2009 grads with only 5 maybe 7weeks of teaching experience will be more effective. I have taught teachers in graduate university programs. I know how to teach. Yet I am without a job.
    Job fairs were held . With hundreds of people standing in line trying to get hired it was a joke. More than 70 laid off teachers did not get rehired. I am one of them. Apparently Mr. Vallas does not believe we deserve to have jobs.
    The city has been flooded with young people from elite colleges. They are mentored through a process which enables them to get grants to build houses, buy houses and go into business. The TV news and the paper have been celebrating them since the city was reopened after the storm. They are building real wealth.

    The TV and newspapers did stories on people who drove to New Orleans to take large moving vans full of iron lace , gingerbread trim , chandeliers and other distinctive New Orleans building artifacts to the Carolinas and other states. They were celebrated as being industrious. This was stealing from those of us who are trying to repair. I had all my copper plumbing and electric wires stolen the day before Thanksgiving, 2006.
    We can’t get our insurance companies to pay for Katrina damages. When they give us half of what is needed it goes to the mortgage company. My mortgage company misplaced $30,000.oo of insurance money from Feb, 2006. They found it 6weeks ago. Last week I was told I had no money on deposit. A few days ago I tracked it down. I received $ 20,000.oo in Feb, 2006. With this I am required to have the house 50% repaired. I have spent more than $40,000.oo to $50,000.oo of my own money. Since inspection shows the house is not 50% repaired; I cannot get any more from the loss draft dept.( If it is not lost again). Meanwhile I have spent $1,500.oo per month for alternate housing and storage of some furniture since Katrina. My insurance would not honor the provision for loss of use of my house. I was told you can't get your rent paid"just because you are not living in the house. " For this I pay $7,000.oo in premiums . Without a job I may have to live under a bridge this winter, as my house historic house is not yet repaired. It would be hazardous to live in it especially to sleep in a contaminated house.

    I was just diagnosed with stage IV c cancer. Now I am having problems finding affordable insurance. To add "insult to injury, This June I was given 12 months to live.

    Only wealthy people will be able to stay in New Orleans.The poor have been relocated to New Orleans East in newly rebuilt tiny crowded apartments with little public transportation and minimum wage jobs. Those of us who are educated and want jobs can't get them. WE WILL BE FORCED OUT AND WE WILL EVENTUALLY LOSE OUR HOMES IN NEW ORLEANS.

    Talk about social justice!

    September 10, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  2. Leon D. Richard

    Everytime I am told a tropical storm is in the Atlantic or God forbid, the Gulf of Mexico, I shutter. The nightmares, the visions, the stories and the pschological affect of Hurricane Katrina will never be kniwn, realized or felt by those that never experienced tis major storm..
    Those who were fortunate to not have to go through this catastrophic event can never comprehend nor imagine what we as citizens of New Orleans have gone through and are continuing to experience.
    The book Katrina: Eyes Have Not Seen, Ears Have Not Heard by Gavin Richard a 2nd year Tulane ,then Southern University, student, sums this catostropic event up in one thought provoking sentence: ...a response from their government whose action were at best inept.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  3. Mike Armstrong TX.

    The core of enginers needs to correctly fix there levies for level four hurricane before the government spends alot of money replacing buildings stop the proublem first and then replace.

    August 27, 2009 at 8:56 am |