How my learning about the politics of rebuilding education is influenced by my time in NOLA by Kristen Turner

Day 2 in NOLA


It goes without saying that physically being in this space and seeing the city first-hand allows for experiences you wouldn't otherwise have, or be able to understand. Day 1, I felt as though the whole group was able to get a taste of the kind of frustration the people of the city experience daily while we were on our bus tour of New Orleans. Many of the roads and bridges we attempted to take through and out of New Orleans were closed for various reasons, causing us to have to take alternative routes or just not venture to that area at all. For me this raises huge questions of accessibility to schools -- why should it be so difficult for the  
people of New Orleans to access different parts of THEIR city?




We have heard from quite a few different sources about the issue of busing students all over the city just to get to school. Some children have to endure a daily commute of 1-2 hours, meaning having to wake up extra early, get home extra late, and just the ride itself is enough to leave anyone feeling exhausted -- and certainly not in the mood to sit through 6 hours of school.

Another problem we have been hearing about is that children from the same household are forced to commute in separate directions, to separate schools. What happens if, one day, a student is on his or her lengthy commute to school, when all of a sudden a bridge or road route is closed? Taking an alternative route would add time to the already long journey, but what if there was no other alternative route to be taken? What if a child just cannot attend school that day because of one or two roads or bridges being shut down? This is frustrating for the student of course, but what kind of effect does this have on working parents whose children have to go to separate schools miles and miles apart, and one child can make it to school, but the other one can't? How does this effect a parents ability to be active in their children's learning?

Experiencing how these types of closings affected OUR travel through the city was inconvenient, and seeing how it really did shift whole parts of our tour made me realize that lack of accessibility of New Orleans itself through inadequate modes of transportation was just another factor in the struggle for quality education for the city's youth and parents.

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