September 28, 2012

Good Morning:

The upcoming election on Nov. 6 is of critical importance to the future of our country. Nowhere is this truer than in New Orleans where, on the same day we vote for president, we will also elect a new school board. The new board will select a superintendent of education and continue the transformation of public education in New Orleans.

Before Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was home to an over-centralized, under-performing public school system and bureaucracy that was one of the country's worst and was hindering our children from realizing their potential.

While much work remains, the progress in transforming public education in the city since the storm is undeniable. Test scores are rising, the dropout rate is decreasing, the number of schools rated academically unacceptable is plummeting and, most importantly, hope and dreams are once again part of the curriculum in New Orleans' schools.

I urge you to play an active role in this renaissance of New Orleans public education. A great way to start is by meeting the Orleans Parish School Board candidates face-to-face at a forum that I will moderate from 6 to 8 p.m., Oct. 2 at First Baptist Church, 5290 Canal Blvd. Here we will learn about each candidate's platform, vision and philosophy. This knowledge is key to the future of our school system, which can be no stronger than those who lead it.

If you think this might not be worth your time, just remember that all the problems New Orleans faces -- crime, poverty, blighted neighborhoods and poor health outcomes -- can be traced back to our education system. If we continue to successfully rebuild that system, all of these problems will slowly dissipate, and New Orleans and its children will face a future filled with hope.

Have a great weekend,


Office of the President Emeritus, 1555 Poydras St, Suite 700, New Orleans, LA 70112 504-274-3638