In his ongoing look at efforts to turn around ailing schools in New Orleans and Washington, D.C. John Merrow reports on the use of alternative school programs in Louisiana and progress on negotiations between a teachers union and public schools in the nation’s capital.
JIM LEHRER: The “NewsHour”‘s special correspondent for education, John Merrow, has been tracking changes in the public schools of New Orleans and Washington, D.C., two cities that are being watched nationally.
We begin in New Orleans tonight. John looks at alternative schools for students with behavior and academic problems.
JOHN MERROW: When school superintendent Paul Vallas arrived in New Orleans three years ago, he faced a tough challenge: how to educate students who are way behind academically or who have gotten in trouble with the law.
This school, Booker T. Washington, was designed for teenagers who are performing at an elementary school level. Although three-fourths of students in Vallas’ district are at least one grade level behind, here, the problem is extreme.