As the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, the superintendent brought in to revive New Orleans’ troubled public schools is bidding farewell after turning many of the schools into charters. Before his departure, Paul Vallas speaks with John Merrow about where things stand with the city’s school reform efforts.
JOHN MERROW: For Paul Vallas, the veteran superintendent Louisiana hired in 2007 to do the job, the pressure was on.
PAUL VALLAS, superintendent, Recovery School District of Louisiana: We need to move now. We need to start building buildings now. We need to modernize those classrooms now.
JOHN MERROW: Almost from the time he arrived in New Orleans, Paul Vallas began making promises, talking publicly about all the big changes he intended to make in the schools. Well, it’s been three years. Time for Paul Vallas’ report card.
PAUL PASTOREK, Louisiana State Superintendent of Education: I give Paul very high marks.
JOHN MERROW: State Superintendent Paul Pastorek hired Paul Vallas.
PAUL PASTOREK: If you would tell people five years ago what is happening today, no one would have believed it was possible.