Louisiana Senate Bill 432: Saving Face, Not Saving Schools

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The City of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

August 2005 changed the city of New Orleans forever. In the wake of the infamous and deadly Hurricane Katrina, one of America’s most beloved cities was devastated by the natural disaster, and further ravaged by a lack of response from both the federal and local governments, and inadequate levee system, which critics heralded as one of the greatest engineering disasters in nearly 20 years. The result, in addition to nearly 1,500 deaths, was mass displacement and lasting devastation, which has yet to be fully rectified, more than a decade later. Yet, though officials were slow to assist those need at the time of the event, what followed was unwanted oversight and control of the city’s most vulnerable population, under the guise of education reform.

pencil-918449_960_720Following the storm, the city of New Orleans adopted a public charter school system over the traditional public school system, and the change was in no way subtle. Instead, some 77 charter schools exist in the city today, compared to just 6 public schools. Hence, more than 90 percent of the students attend the former. The problem: these schools, though open to the public, with the word contained in their title, are independently run, resulting in a dramatic and wholly undemocratic shift in the schooling process.

Speaking on the changes in a post New Orleans Katrina, National Geographic described the system as “the single-most transformed institution in the city.” Nowhere else in the country has such a transformation taken place, even in cities like the nation’s capital, which has had its own history of troubles, questionable leadership, and considered one of the worst systems in the country, based on factors as such as dropout rate and college preparedness. To be clear, since the shift, New Orleans has increased graduation and proficiency in certain subjects for many of the students. However, even after more 10 years, the system lacks perfect results, and contains a spate of issues persist over which locals and stakeholders with the most to lose, students and their parents, have no say.

senior-middle-school-993886_960_720So, earlier this month, when the Washington Post released news that the governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, might sign a bill that would return school oversight and power to the locals–a democratically elected school board–many saw the move as a victory, a sign of restitution. Yet, upon further inspection, there’s a caveat. The board would still be left out of decisions regarding hiring, curriculum and instruction, and as I previously discussed, unions. Hence, the move is really just placation, a cover to quell the voiced anger of the constituency, which, it should be noted, is majority black, impoverished and historically underserved.

The danger in such is the precedent this system sets for the rest of the country, where the voices of communities are increasingly silenced. It is a threat to our democracy, and more, it is experimenting with something of vast importance, which will have lasting consequences, that will be near impossible to undo. To me and the people who are rightfully rallying against these proposals, this is about power and control than about truly seeking to help or better the community. And that is simply unacceptable.

5 Key Traits To Empower The Youth

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Empowering the youth is the building block on how this nation operates and creates growth. The youth of the nation has been Millennials for a long period, but now Generation Z is the youth of society today. They are growing fast and it’s important these kids receive the same or if not more knowledge than the previous generation. There are a variety of traits the youth should acquire as they continue to mature and gain wisdom. To give more insight on some key traits to implement into the youth, I have created a list of key traits that will be beneficial for the youth.

Build Communication Skills:

Learning and improving  communication skills is highly important when dealing with life situations, especially as the adolescent transforms into an adult. As the youth goes through school, making sure they can communicate properly during presentations and one-on-one conversations will benefit the youth. For example, practicing these methods would contribute to the youth’s success when interviewing for a job or working in a profession such as sales. Developing the skill of communication can only affect the youth positively for the future.

Ambitious on Setting and Achieving Goals:

It’s never too early to start training the youth to start setting goals and striving to succeed in them. If you contribute to an adolescent, setting goals for themselves, this will help them develop other key traits such as creating proper structure and organization skills. Once achieving these smaller goals as an adolescent, it will serve as a great deal of confidence and determination to keep striving for success in completing life goals.

Failure is Normal:

Understanding failure is not only a part of life, but is also a learning experience is vital to reiterate to adolescence. Making sure the youth understands when setting goals, there is an opportunity for failure to occur, can save them time from being discouraged. Of course, no one wants to fail at multiple goals they are striving to achieve in because that would be an issue. However, understanding how to bounce back from failure is a key trait adolescence should have implemented in their state of mind.

Network:

As Generation Z continues to grow, networking is a key component to being successful in any field of study. In today’s society, having the credentials is vital to a person’s success, however, making sure you’re connected with the right people in that specific industry can make life much easier when looking for internship and job opportunities. Accessible ways for the youth to network, would be to join clubs or programs that offer opportunities for open discussion.

 

Maintaining discipline, is as important as making sure you brush your teeth twice a day. Without discipline, you can’t possibly balance life or achieve the necessary goals to succeed. If the youth, understands the importance of having discipline, it could contribute to them prioritizing and cultivating the least important obligations with the more important responsibilities. Not only does being disciplined, create guidance in a professional environment, but also in life decisions.

Empowering Generation Z will be another task at hand for the nation, but if we continue educating the youth with the proper traits to follow, it can lead to another successful generation to better our society. Of course, there are more traits that can contribute to empowering the youth, so if you are interested in learning more tips, you can take a look this link here.