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Going Old School with the Teachers’ Union

New Orleans    I have hugely mixed feeling about my old high school in New Orleans, but finally I found myself in a situation, sitting next to another alum, my daughter, Dine’, where I found that I had never been prouder of the teachers at Benjamin Franklin High School than on that night in that auditorium.   [...]

Jazz Fest Highlights the Contractions of New Orleans

bicycle memorial on st. claude

New Orleans     The annual Jazz and Heritage Festival or Jazz Fest, as it’s universally known in New Orleans, has become a big time event over the years.   I had folks come into town for a board meeting recently and trying to find a place the out-of-towners would like to try, several [...]

Euphemisms and Rationalizations are No Substitute for School Board Elections

Patrick Dobard, right, lays out his plans for the Recovery School District upon taking the superintendent job in January 2012. He will appear at a Lens breakfast event next week. (Rusty Costanza, Times-Picayune archive)

New Orleans  Years ago New Orleans and many parts of Louisiana were referred to by various observers as “banana republics,” meaning [...]

The Arrogance of Newspaper Monopolies

New Orleans  Here comes another report from guinea pig land.  In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has become ground zero for some bizarre and sometimes unfortunate social experiments, like the fact that we are the largest charter school laboratory in the country.  Just because we have proven we are resilient does not mean [...]

Stiffing Tenants as a Landlord Business Model

New Orleans   Active ACORN campaigns in Canada, Scotland, and Italy focusing on tenant rights and landlord abuses, found me reading in detail a rare report in the New Orleans Times-Picayune about tenant rights, or really the lack of them, in Louisiana and most other states in the USA.

The Uniform Landlord and Tenant Act in the [...]

An Insider Hits the Nakedness of the Charter School Empire

New Orleans   Everywhere around the country, charter schools and their operators are poking through the concrete of school yards like weeds.  Billionaires and beleaguered Mayors and school superintendents often herald their potential as a way out of their own gnarled path of over grown capacity and underfunded programs.  Huge fights in Philadelphia and now Chicago are [...]