A student in my service learning group is moving from New Orleans to another city this summer. I asked why, presuming her mother or father got a new job, and was surprised to hear, “well, wouldn’t you?” Not a job, not a family problem, but a carte blanche judgment that life elsewhere is better, particularly for this girl’s education, was the reason given for moving. I was also surprised to find that after considering the situation, my answer was no. New Orleans is one of the worst places to have a child educated in the modern world, yet conventional wisdom did not appear as particularly wise to follow in this regard. Here, this girl had dedicated, intelligent educators both in school and as part of a network of concerned activists ubiquitous in this city. She had a sharp brain, obviously involved parents, and the ability to attend a high school that if not better than was definitely as good as a high school in the other city. My observations are not as scientific or holistic as the statistics on New Orleans’ public education system, but they do lend credence (for me, at least) to a positive outlook on the transformation of this city. I hope the success of the movement this girl has been a part of continues on to her new home.
By Isaac Smith