As we reported a few weeks ago ("Nothing easy in the Big Easy,"), every day brings new challenges to New Orleans's schools. The latest problem is a matter of "capacity": the state-run Recovery School District simply doesn't have enough room (or teachers) to serve all of the city's current students. So Reverend William Maestri, the (soon-to-be-retiring) superintendent of the city's Catholic schools sprang into action. After learning that over 300 children were waitlisted by the Recovery District and are currently school-less, Maestri announced that he will find a seat for them in his schools, regardless of their parents' ability to pay tuition. Meanwhile, his archdiocese is pushing the state to adopt a publicly funded voucher program. Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Steve Monaghan quickly registered his objections to such altruism. "It's somewhat predictable that the archdiocese and Father Maestri would use this as the staging point for something [vouchers] they've long pursued," he said. We doubt the 300 students now able to attend school share Monaghan's revulsion.
"Voucher drive gets fresh push," by Steve Ritea, New Orleans Times-Picayune, January 27, 2007