For Immediate Release
September 6th, 2011
Contact: Minh Nguyen; email@example.com, (504) 253-6000
Six Years After Katrina, New Orleans Youth Release Report on
Deficiencies at Six Public High Schools
The RSD will commit to five of the students’ policy recommendations, including student evaluations of teachers.
New Orleans – On September 7th at 3:30 pm, youth leaders from VAYLA, the Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association, will be at the main branch of the New Orleans Public Library (219 Loyola Avenue) to unveil their report on conditions at six public high schools, and to demand education equity from local and state officials. The report, titled Six Public High Schools, Six Years After the Storm: Student Voices from Inside New Orleans’ Educational Experiment contains findings from over 425 student surveys and 50 hours of student interview testimony. This research initiative represents the most extensive youth-led, student-centered evaluation of New Orleans public schools since Hurricane Katrina, and encompasses Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) and Recovery School District (RSD) direct-run schools and charter schools.
The report, supported by 16 local organizations, is being released less than 24 hours after Superintendent White declares his agenda to the public, and will showcase an alternative set of reform priorities based on student experiences. While much of the country has touted post-Katrina New Orleans as an educational “miracle,” students have a very different story to tell about what it means to live and learn in New Orleans public schools. Declarations of the reform movement’s success do not resonate with the experiences of a great majority of students.
Linda Tran, who recently graduated as the salutatorian from Abramson Science and Technology Charter School, said: “I’m worried about going to college and not knowing anything, and then flunking out. I’m already too far behind. Now, I just hope my sisters and brothers don’t have to go to a bad high school. I don’t want them to experience what I had to experience.”
Ten students will be sharing their personal stories as well as findings from the report. A representative from the Recovery School District will present commitments that the District is making based on student recommendations. The RSD’s commitments include: the creation of a student-teacher evaluation system; a student-counselor evaluation system; a peer counseling pilot program; professional development for new teachers focusing on local communities and cultures; a school uniform exchange; and improved services for limited-English proficient families. Louella Givens will also be one of the esteemed speakers.
VAYLA is a youth-led community-based organization in New Orleans that empowers Vietnamese American and underrepresented youth through supportive services and organizing for cultural enrichment and positive social change. Find out more at http://www.vayla-no.org.