Ralph Adamo

Ralph Adamo is a poet and journalist in New Orleans. He was awarded an OSI Katrina Media Fellowship in 2006.

Recent Articles

NOLA's Failed Education Experiment

Privatization runs amok in the post-Katrina New Orleans school system.

At his first public meeting before becoming the new superintendent of Louisiana's Recovery School District (RSD) in late spring 2007, Paul Vallas took questions alongside his sponsor, state Department of Education Superintendent Paul Pastorek ("the two Pauls," as they have become known). At one point, Vallas was scolded by a member of the audience for referring, as nearly everyone has, to the current state of public education in New Orleans as "an experiment." The scolder was a white teacher, who reminded the two Pauls that black people might be sensitive to the idea that they were subjects of an "experiment," what with the memory of the Tuskegee syphilis protocols and other past unpleasantness not yet entirely forgotten. Mismanaged and undersupplied, the Recovery School District resembled, at the end of the 2006-2007 school year, nothing as much as a failed experiment. It consisted of 22 schools, enrolling perhaps 9,500 students, nearly all of them African American. The other 20,000...