An historic opportunity

An historic opportunity

One of the possible bright lights in the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina is the opportunity for those comunities to rebuild with a fresh slate, correcting many problems they’ve discovered over the years. In a story on the reopening of Catholic schools in New Orleans and the failure of public schools to do so yet, there’s a note on the problems of the school system.

The public schools are another story. The public system in New Orleans has long been among the most abysmal in the nation, plagued by bad management, low test scores and corruption. The FBI and other agencies set up an investigative office in the school system’s headquarters last year. Hurricane Katrina deepened the disarray. The collapse of the public system, though, has a silver lining: It is offering reformers an unusual opportunity to reshape the city’s schools.

So many parts of society have that opportunity. Unfortunately, human nature being what it is where there was corruption before, there would need to be extra careful attention paid to making sure it doesn’t creep in again. And if nothing changes, including people and systems, you can pretty much guarantee it. Still it’s an interesting problem: If you could rebuild a major American city almost from scratch how would you go about it?

Sure, New Orleans isn’t exactly being rebuilt from scratch, but much of the Mississippi Gulf Coast is.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli