Ashana Bigard: An Insider’s View of Post-Katrina New Orleans Public Education
On January 14 and 15, 2016, renowned education blogger and ed reform podcaster extraordinaire, Jennifer Berkshire, visited me during her time in town to conduct some interviews in New Orleans.
In the course of her meetings, she ended up with an umbrella that was not hers and which needed to be returned to New Orleans parent activist, Ashana Bigard.
So, I met Ashana for lunch on Monday, January 18, 2016– Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday– to return said umbrella. And as it turns out, I had the great fortune and pleasure to interview Ashana for 90 minutes on her experiences with the New Orleans schools post-Katrina.
Ashana Bigard, reunited with her umbrella
I transcribed the entire interview (barring small talk). The transcript is 27 pages long and can be accessed here: Ashana Bigard 01-18-16.
Our conversation takes a number of interesting turns. Those with a particular interest in the nuances of navigating post-Katrina public education in New Orleans would do well to read the entire exchange. However, for the purposes of this post, I will highlight a few choice excerpts.
First, a word about Ashana:
Ashana Bigard is at least a fifth-generation New Orleans native and a product of the New Orleans public school system. Bigard did drop out of high school; the lure of ready cash from working in tourism prompted her to drop out in her senior year (“I wasn’t that interested in school; I was interested in making money.”)
Bigard realized the need to “drop back in,” so to speak, which involved her attending Job Corps and earning her GED and then attend Delgado Community College and the Ashana Bigard: An Insider’s View of Post-Katrina New Orleans Public Education | deutsch29: